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 am an environmental historian working on the history of our relations with plants and other animals. Most recently, I ran a lecture series, Beastly Histories, and co-edited Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human Animal Relations in Urban Canada (2017).

9781552388648I am currently writing a book on street trees, using Ottawa’s urban forest to think about the material tree in the modern city. I curated an exhibit, “Six Moments in the History of an Urban Forest,” at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa in 2012, and have published on the unruliness of city trees; social inequities in the distribution of canopy cover; Marshall McLuhan’ and the “urban forest,” and the use of geospatial analysis of historical aerial photographs to measure physical changes in urban forest.

My doctoral research was in women’s history, resulting in Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall (2007) and gender analysis continues to inform my teaching and writing, most recently in research on Canadian antinuclear activism.

I am accepting graduate students interested in animal history, environmental history and related areas.

Six Moments in the History of an Urban Forest, on exhibit at the Bytown Museum in 2012. Photo Credit: Bytown Museum.

2016-2017 Courses

HIST 5803 After Innis: Geography, Environment and the North in the Writing of Canadian History
HIST 3310 Animals in History
HIST 2311 Environmental History of Canada from 1890
HIST 3907 History of Weather, Climate and Climate Change

Select Publications

Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human-Animal Relations in Urban Canada edited with Darcy Ingram and Christabelle Sethna (University of Calgary Press, 2017).

“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, 2017).

“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

Sarah Hogenbirk, “Women Inside the Canadian Military, 1938-1966 ” PhD thesis, 2017. (Co-supervisor.)

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

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

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)