Sarah Lee

PhD Student

North America

I study the history of policing in California's Central Valley and its relationship to the racially segregated landscapes of Fresno, Merced, and Modesto. My undergraduate honors thesis from UC Merced, Policing to Produce Merced: Differentiated Policing and Place in Merced, California, 1870-1890, traced community debates around race and crime that ultimately led Merced to adopt their first professionalized police force. My dissertation intends to explore similar stories in Fresno and Modesto and examine the evolution of policing the Central Valley, from their emergence as railroad towns along the San Joaquin Valley Railroad to the construction of California State Route 99 (Highway 99). 

Research Interests

  • History of Policing
  • Space and place
  • History of the American West
  • History of the Central Valley


BA in History, University of California, Merced, 2020