Photo of Joanna E. Dean

Joanna E. Dean

Associate Professor - environmental history, animal history, 19th-20th c. women’s and gender history

Degrees:B.A. (Queen's), M.A. (Carleton), Ph.D. (Carleton)
Phone:(613) 520-2828
Office:416 Paterson Hall

I am an environmental historian studying the more-than-human world of plants and animals.

9781552388648I am currently on sabbatical, completing a book on the woods on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. 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’s coining of the term “urban forest,” and the use of geospatial analysis of historical aerial photographs to measure physical changes in urban forest.

I have been teaching animal history for over 20 years. I am a founding editor of the new journal, Animal History, scheduled for publication in early 2025. I have written a series of chapters and blogs on the depiction of horses, calves, and guinea pigs at the Connaught Laboratories in Toronto. I ran a lecture series, Beastly Histories, and co-edited Animal Metropolis: Histories of Human Animal Relations in Urban Canada (2017).

Most recently, I started teaching about climate change. I assisted in the development of Carleton’s Minor in Environmental and Climate Humanities (EACH) and occasionally teach the core course. In 2023, I hosted a lecture series, Climate History.

My doctoral research was in women’s history, published as Religious Experience and the New Woman: The Life of Lily Dougall (2007) and gender analysis continues to inform my teaching and writing. In my contribution to the collection, The Nature of Canada (2019) I point to the contributions made by the pacifist group, Voice of Women, to the first Greenpeace voyage.  I am currently researching gender in Greenpeace’s early antiwhaling protests.

See below for some of the fascinating work done by the undergraduate and graduate students I have been lucky enough to work with at Carleton.

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

Select Publications

“Guinea Pig Agnotology,” in Traces of the Animal Past: Methodological Challenges in Animal History, edited by Jennifer Bonnel and Sean Kheraj (University of Calgary Press, 2022).

“Public History,” in Handbook of the Historical Animal, edited by Mieke Roscher, André Krebber and Brett Mizelle (Routledge, 2021).

“Dougall, Lily,” The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing, edited by Lesa Scholl (2020).

“A Gendered Sense of Canada,” in The Nature of Canada edited by Colin M. Coates and Graeme Wynn (UBC Press, 2019).

“Animal Matter: The Making of ‘Pure Bovine Vaccine at the Connaught Laboratories and Farm at the Turn of the Century.” In Landscapes of Science. Edited by Tina Adcock. Toronto: Network in Canadian History and Environment, 2019.

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).

“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).

Current Graduate Supervisions

Casarina Hocevar, PhD program.

Recent Graduate Supervisions

Susan Haight, Object Lessons: Domestic Interiors on Display at Eaton’s Toronto Department Stores PhD thesis, 2020.

Cristina Wood, “Songs of the Ottawa,” MA in Public History. Available at  Awarded the University Medal for outstanding research.See this article about her fascinating work.

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)

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)