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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)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2822
Office:444 Paterson Hall
Website:Professor Dean's website

David Dean specialises in public history and early modern British history. His most recent publications are Migration and Stereotypes in Performance and Culture (Palgrave, 2020) edited with Yana Meerzon and Daniel McNeil 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 Shakespeare’s England: A Cultural History, 1558-1649 (Wiley Blackwell, co-authored with Dr. Kathryn Prince); Performing Public History (with ManchesterUP); and a graphic novel on the life of Elizabeth Sawyer, the witch of Edmonton (with Laurel Rowe).

David is project lead of Capital History Kiosks, telling local histories through 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 and the National Capital Commission. The project features 19 installations across the City with another dozen to come in 2020. David is also a member of the board of Capital Heritage Connexion. From 2008 until 2012 David was Company Historian to Ottawa’s National Art Centre’s English Theatre and is an adjunct professor with the Department of Theatre, University of Ottawa. He is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

David is an elected member of the steering committee of the International Federation for Public History and co-editor of the new journal, 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. In November 2019 he co-led (with Thomas Cauvin) a seminar and workshop on Public History: Working with the Past in the Present at the Universitas Indonesia in Jakarta.

After completing his Cambridge doctorate, 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 was co-founder of the Carleton Centre for Public History, and currently shares the directorship with Dr John Walsh. His current teaching repertoire includes undergraduate courses such as HIST 2811 Public History from Memory to Museums and HIST 4101Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe. He also leads a graduate seminar HIST 5707 Narrativity and Performance in Public History.

Current Research Interests

  • Performing public history, 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

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

Current Funded Research Projects

  • 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

  • Rick Duthie, “One Day Stronger”: A Play about Sudbury’s Strikes (PhD, co-supervisor with Dr. John Walsh)
  • Lisa Bullock, “I learned it from a board game’: performing historical narratives in Expedition: Northwest Passage (MA History, co-supervisor with Dr. Danielle Kinsey)
  • Jenna Emslie, The Kirkland Gold Mine, 1911: An Interactive Video Game (MA Public History, co-supervisor with Dr. Shawn Graham)
  • Kate Jordan, Dominion Chalmers: A Congregation and its Time (MA Public History)
  • Nick Leckey, Mapping People, Place, and Time in Ottawa-Gatineau (MA, Public History, co-supervisor with Dr. Shawn Graham)
  • Meghan Newman, A Catholic Woman and a Catholic Queen: The Religiousity of Mary I (MA History co-supervisor with Dr. Micheline White)
  • Rachel Scott, The Seeker of Lost Stories: Post-memory and Rediscovering Lithuanian Heritage in the Novels of Ruta Sepetys (MA Public History, co-supervisor with Dr. Jennifer Evans)
  • Valerie Wood, Storying Adoption (MA Public History, co-supervisor with Dr. Laura Madokoro)

Recent Graduate Students (graduated 2019)

  • Emily Barsanti-Innes, Facilitating Holocaust Education in Ontario Secondary Schools (and web platform)
  • Kelsey Bodechon, Creating an Immersive Experience: A Digital Exhibit on T.D. Cumberland in the First World War, The Hidden Story of a Soldier (and Website)
  • Rowen Germain, Katherine Parr at Hampton Court: A Performance Analysis of “A Queen in Danger” (co-supervisor with Dr. Susan Whitney)
  • Alexandra Mclean, Michael Collins: Presenting Historical Narratives that Work
  • 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)

David welcomes inquiries about specific areas of supervision.

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