Photo of David Dean

David Dean

Full Professor - public history (hi/storytelling through performance; historical representations in film, theatre, museums; historical controversies in the public sphere; transnational public history) and early modern England (early modern theatre, witchcraft, and political culture).

Degrees:B.A. (Auckland), M.A. (Auckland), Ph.D. (Cambridge)
Office:444 Paterson Hall
Website:Professor Dean's website

David Dean specialises in public history, performance and history, and early modern British history. His most recent book, Migration and Stereotypes in Performance and Culture (Palgrave, 2020) co-edited with Yana Meerzon and Daniel McNeil won the Canadian Association of Theatre Research’s 2022 Patrick O’Neil Honorable Mention Award. Recent book chapters are “Living History: Performing the Past” in Serge Noiret, Mark Tebeau, and Gerben Zaagsma (eds) Handbook of Digital Public History (De Gruyter, 2022),“Publics, Public Historians and Participatory Public History” in Joanna Woyden and Dorota Wiśniewska (eds) Public and Public History (Routledge, 2021), and “Living History” in Vanessa Agnew, Jonathan Lamb and Juliane Tomann (eds),The Routledge Handbook of Reenactment Studies (Routledge, 2020). He edited A Companion to Public History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018) featuring 36 contributions from 18 different countries. David was guest editor for the journal Early Theatre (December 2018) editing an “issues in review” on Dekker, Rowley, and Ford’s intriguing 1624 play, The Witch of Edmonton. His current book projects are Monumental Memories: A Critical Reading of Memorials, Monuments and Statutes in Canada’s Capital Region with Dr. Tonya Davidson for McGill-Queen’s and Performing Public History with Routledge.

David is project lead of Capital History Kiosks, telling local histories through over sixty installations on traffic control boxes throughout the city of Ottawa and an associated website, in partnership with local design firm Chapter One and other community partners including Ottawa’s Workers’ History Museum. David is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and an elected member of the steering committee of the International Federation for Public History. He is co-editor of International Public History. His public history research has been published in journals such as The Public HistorianPublic History Weekly, the Journal of American HistoryParliamentary History, UnboundMemoria e Ricerca, and Re-thinking History. He speaks regularly at international public history conferences, workshops, and seminars.

After completing his BA and MA at the University of Auckland and his PhD at Cambridge, David taught at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London for eleven years before coming to Carleton where he has been Full Professor since 2000. One of the founding members of the Department’s MA in Public History, David co-founded the Carleton Centre for Public History, and currently shares the directorship with Dr John Walsh. His current teaching repertoire includes two undergraduate courses HIST 2811 Public History from Memory to Museums and HIST 4101Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and a graduate seminar HIST 5707 Narrativity and Performance in Public History.

Current Research Interests

  • Performing public history and performing history publicly in national and transnational contexts
  • Transnational public history
  • Historical representation in theatre, re-enactment, film, and museums
  • Early Modern British political, social, and cultural history especially drama and visual culture

Some of his articles (on theatre, museums, the Elizabethan lottery) are available on

Current Funded Research Projects

  • Monumental Memories: Stories in Stone (SSHRC Knowledge Mobilization Grant)
  • Experiencing COVID-19 Through Science and Technology: Adjusting, Adapting, Innovating (CU RRRG Project) with Rebecca Dolgoy, Molly McCullough, and Emily Gann, Ingenium
  • The NAC@50 (SSHRC funded, co-investigator on project led by Prof. Stephen Fai, Architecture)
  • Designing Domestic Dining (SSHRC funded, co-investigator on project led by Prof. Michael Windover)


David received the Provost’s Fellowship in Teaching in 2016 and in 2015 both the FASS Research Award and the FASS Teaching Award. He was part of the Public History Management team that won the University’s 2016 Building Connections Award

Current Graduate Students

  • Holly Benison, “The Backwoods Kitchen” (MA Public History, co-supervisor with Professor James Opp).
  • Nick Leckey, Local Play in Game Design: A Reflection on Gamifying L’Institut Jeanne d’Arc (MA, Public History, co-supervisor with Professor Shawn Graham)
  • Jackie Mahoney, “A Great and Noble Life”: Performing Johanna van Gogh Bonger (MA, Public History)
  • Nicholas Surges, “Fabulating Feelings: Affectivity and Historical Narrative in the Mayerling Incident” (MA Public History, co-supervisor with Professor Jennifer Evans)

Recent Graduate Students (graduated 2020-22)

  • Rick Duthie, “One Day Stronger”: A Public History Theatrical Experiment about Remembered Sudbury Strikes, 1958-2010 (PhD, co-supervisor with Professor John Walsh)
  • Lisa Bullock, “I learned it from a board game’: performing historical narratives in Expedition: Northwest Passage (MA History, co-supervisor with Professor Danielle Kinsey)
  • Meghan Newman, A Catholic Woman and a Catholic Queen: The Religiousity of Mary I (MA History co-supervisor with Professor Micheline White)
  • Meg Oldfield, Women are Persons! The History and Legacy of the Famous Five Monument (MA Public History)
  • Valerie Wood, “Vee in Between”  – A Children’s Book Storying Transracial Adoption (MA Public History, co-supervisor with Professor Laura Madokoro)
  • Kate Jordan, Dominion Chalmers: A Congregation and its Time (MA Public History)
  • Natalie Picard, Education Kits for the Classroom: Reflections on Taking an Object-Based Approach to Teaching Japanese Canadian Internment (includes Museum Education Kit for schools)

As David will be retiring in 2024 he is no longer available to supervise new MA or PhD students.

For more information about his projects, publications, teaching and supervisions please visit his website.