Photo of Joanna E. Dean

Joanna E. Dean

Associate Professor

Degrees:B.A. (Queen's), M.A. (Carleton), Ph.D. (Carleton)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2818
Office:416 Paterson Hall

I teach Canadian history, although my courses like my research subjects tend to cross borders, trespassing into both the United States and Britain. A few years ago, I began to teach and then to write about the history of our relations with other animals. I organized a lecture series, Beastly Histories, in 2014 and a collection that I co-edited with Christabelle Sethna and Darcy Ingram  Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human Animal Relations in Urban Canada  has just been published. It is open access at University of Calgary Press.

9781552388648My earlier publications are on street trees. My emphasis is on the material tree in the modern city and I have written on the unruliness of city trees; social inequities in the distribution of canopy cover; municipal regulation of trees; and Marshall McLuhan’s influence on the phrase “urban forest.” I use geospatial analysis of historical aerial photographs of selected neighbourhoods in Ottawa to measure physical changes in urban forest. My doctoral research was on the gendering of religious experience, which I explored in Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall. I have recently been examining the gendering of Canadian antinuclear activism.

I am accepting graduate students interested in animal history, environmental history and related areas. See below for a list of recent supervisions.

Research Interests

  • social, cultural and material history of the urban forest
  • human-animal relations
  • gender and environmentalism

Honours and Awards

2011 Network in Canadian Environment and History (NiCHE) Project Grant
2011 Jack Kimmel Grant, Canada Tree Fund
2006-2007 “Ottawa’s Urban Forest,” Strategic Research Grant, SSHRC

Select Publications

“Species at Risk: C. tetani, the horse and the human,” in Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human-Animal Relations in Urban Canada edited by Joanna Dean, Darcy Ingram, and Christabelle Sethna (University of Calgary Press, forthcoming Fall 2016).

“Horse Power in the Modern City,” with Lucas Wilson in Powering Up: A Social of the Fuels and Energy that Created Modern Canada, edited by Ruth Sandwell (McGill Queens UP, 2016).

“The Unruly Tree: Stories from the Archives,” in Urban Forests, Trees and Greenspace: A Political Ecology Perspective, edited by L. Anders Sandberg, Adrina Bardekjian, and Sadia Butt (Routledge, 2014).tree and cracked pavement

With Jon Pasher, “Mapping Ottawa’s Urban Forest through Time,” Historical GIS Research in Canada, edited by Jennifer Bonnell and  Marcel Fortin, (University of Calgary Press, 2013).

“The Social Production of a Canadian Urban Forest,” in Environmental and Social Justice in the City: Historical Perspectives, edited by Richard Rodger and Genevieve Massard-Guilbaud (White Horse Press, 2011).

“Seeing Trees, Thinking Forests: Urban Forestry at the University of Toronto in the 1960s,” in Method and Meaning in Canadian Environmental History, edited by Alan MacEachern and William Turkel (Thomson Nelson, 2008).

“Big Game and the State:  The History of the Hunt in Canada,” Review Essay, Left History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Historical Inquiry and Debate, 13,1 (Spring/Summer 2008): 143-155.

“Ottawa’s Central Park: Esthetic Forestry vs. Ornamental Gardens,” In News of Forest History, 36-37, Proceedings of the International IUFRO Conference “Woodlands – Cultural Heritage” 3-5 May 2004, Vienna, Austria, 21-30.

Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall (Indiana University Press, 2007).

Women’s Archives Guide/Guides des Archives sur les Femmes, with David Fraser. (Ottawa: National Archives of Canada, 1991).

Recent Graduate Supervisions

Renee McFarlane, “Conflict and Preservation: A Human History of Animals in Gatineau Park, 1938-1958,” MA thesis, 2016.

Constance Gunn, “The Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa: Constructing Public Memory, and Preserving History in a Changing City, 1898-1932,” MA thesis, 2016. (Co-supervisor).

Kathryn Boschmann, “Being Irish on the Prairies: Repertoire, performance and environment in oral history narratives of Winnipeg Irish Canadians,” MA thesis, 2015. (Co-supervisor). For the associated website, go to

William Knight, “Modelling Canada’s Aquatic Nature at the Dominion Fisheries Museum, 1884-1914,” PhD thesis, 2014.

Quinn Lanzon, “From the Ground Up: A History of Gatineau Park Ski Trails and Hills, 1920-1967,” MA thesis, 2014.

Lashia Jones, “A Woman’s Place: Labour History and Spatial Mapping at Industrial Heritage Sites,”  M.A. research essay in Canadian Studies Heritage Conservation, 2012. (Co-supervisor).

Kaitlin Wainwright, “Ravaged and Regenerative Landscapes: Placing the Canadian War Museum in its Environmental Context.” M.A. research essay in Public History, 2011.

Amanda Sauerman, “Breeding and Exhibition of the Canine Body in Canada” M.A. thesis,  2011.

David Vance, “Charles Templeton and the Performances of Unbelief,” M.A. thesis, 2008. (Co-supervisor).

Chris Miller, “Church, China and the Canadian State: The United Church’s campaign for the recognition of the People’s Republic of China,” M.A. research essay, 2008. (co-supervisor)

Katherine Taylor, “The ‘Year of the War Bride,’ The Commemoration, Representation and Remembering of Canadian War Brides,” M.A. research essay in Public History, 2007. (co-supervisor)

Current Graduate Supervisions

Sarah Hogenbirk, “Canadian Women’s Military Service, 1939-1965: Gender, Sexuality and Citizenship. ” (Co-supervisor.)

Susan Haight, “Model Homes: Domesticities on Display in Interwar Toronto.”

Undergraduate Supervisions

Victoria Hawkins, “Made in Canada  Wonderbra:  The Bras and the Advertising of Montreal’s Canadelle Inc., 1955-1975,” Honours Research Essay, April, 2015. (History)

Taylor Jackson Macmillan, “Jack Miner” Honours Research Essay, April 2015. (History)

Alex Copp, “Ottawa’s Urban Forest as a Socio-ecological System,” Honours Research Project, 2013. (Geography and Environmental Studies)

K. Stephanie A. Smith, “From Ottawa Fields to Canadian Flora: How the Central Experimental Farm’s Botanic Garden and Arboretum contributed to the Development of the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club’s National Focus,” Honours Research Essay, 2015. (Geography and Environmental Studies)