Location: Bowdoin / Sarah F. McMahon


Sarah F. McMahon

Associate Professor of History

Contact Information


Hubbard Hall - 11

Teaching this semester

ENVS 2449/HIST 2129. History of Harpswell and the Coast of Maine

Examines the long history of Harpswell as part of the coast of Maine, and the research methodologies used to uncover and analyze that history from environmental, community, socioeconomic, political, racial and ethnic, and cultural perspectives. Topics include bonds and tensions in a peninsula and islands community; coastal agriculture and stone walls; inshore and deep-sea fisheries; shipbuilding and shipping; the Civil War; ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity; poverty and living on the margin; and the rise of tourism. Culminates with an individual research project prospectus for a projected essay on an aspect of that history. Taught in residence at the Bowdoin Coastal Studies Center. History 2129/Environmental Studies 2449 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester. Biology 2501(same as Environmental Studies 2231), Biology 2330 (same as Environmental Studies 2233), and Biology 2232 (same as Environmental Studies 2232) are co-requisites of this course.

HIST 3122. Community in America, Maine, and at Bowdoin

A research seminar that explores ideals and social, economic, political, and cultural realities of community in American history, and examines continuity, change, and socio-economic, racial, and ethnic diversity in community experience. Begins with studies of communities in seventeenth-century Massachusetts and early national upstate New York; then focuses on Maine and on Bowdoin College and its midcoast neighborhood, with readings in both the secondary literature and a wealth of primary sources. This course is part of the following field(s) of study: United States.

Sarah McMahon


A.B. Wellesley College
Ph.D. Brandeis University

Office Hours

Course Syllabi, Reading Guides, and Resources

  Teaching Oral Communication:
  History 12, Utopia: Intentional Communities
  in America, 1630-1977

  Consultants for Teaching:
  Faculty Members Develop Program of Teaching Support

History 247 Service Learning Project

  Maine Matters:  Exploring Local, Mid-Coast, and Maine History

  The Home Front:
   Bowdoin and Brunswick Before the War

Sarah McMahon offers survey courses on colonial and early national US social history and thematic courses—both surveys and seminars—on family and community, women, utopia, and Maine environmental history.  Her articles on the history of diet and the culture of food in New England and the Midwest have been published in Historical Methods, William and Mary Quarterly, Agricultural History, and in essay collections on early American technology and Midwestern women.  Her current research focuses on change and continuity (ecological, economic, social, and cultural) in Harpswell, a mid-coast Maine farming, fishing, and maritime community, and situates the community in its local, regional, and national context, 1840-1900.

Hubbard Hall

  Hubbard Library—Bowdoin College, Brunswick. Me.  (c. 1907)

Bowdoin 1907

  Bowdoin College  (1907)