History Department Faculty
Tri-University Graduate Program
Position / Title: 

Associate Professor

(519) 824-4120 ex. 56327
2008 MacKinnon Extension


Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2003
M.A. Simon Fraser University, 1999
B.A. Simon Fraser University, 1997


University of Guelph,
        Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, Affiliated Faculty, 2007-
        History Department, 2004-
Simon Fraser University,
        Visiting Assistant Professor, 2002-2004


animal history
environmental history
consumer history
live performance and communication
entertainment and information industries
America in the world
North American West

   Susan is currently working on a book-length study tentatively entitled: Born to Buck: Rodeo Rough Stock and the Myths of the West. This project takes her questions about how modernity has shaped animal life, human life, and the environment to the North American West and beyond. It investigates rodeo performance as a phenomenon as familiar to Madison Square Garden as to rural Wyoming or Alberta. The book will ask how it was that to be "Western" in the 19th and 20th centuries was, in part, about demonstrating particular kinds of relationships to nonhuman animals and the land. This study thus brings together the fields of animal, environmental, consumer, and entertainment history.

   Visit the rodeo archival tumblr:

   Susan's most recent articles and other things are posted at

   Visit the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare:


Areas of research for graduate supervision
        all of the above


Graduate research, lead advisor
Katie Anderson
“Hitched Horse, Milked Cow, Killed Pig”: Pragmatic Stewardship and the Paradox of Human/Animal Relationships in Southern Ontario, 1900-1920 (Thesis - History, 2014)

Shannon Nicholson
The Perception of Roping Calf Well-Being Before, During, and After “The Show” (Major Research Paper - M.Sc. Animal Welfare, 2013)

Ben Robinson
The Evolution of Ballpark Society: Baseball Spectatorship in New York City, 1876-1890 (Thesis - History, 2009)

Jessica Collins 
Truman’s Inconsistent Palestine Policy and Recognition of the State of Israel: April 12th 1945 - May 14th 1948 (Major Research Paper - History, 2008)


Courses taught
HIST 2300 - United States since 1776
HIST 2250 - Environment and History
HIST 2120 - Animals and Society (beginning W16)
HIST 3080 - United States in the World
HIST 3260 - Cinema and the Moving Image (beginning F15)
HIST 4180 - American Identities
HIST 6370 - Topics in Cultural History



book cover The Historical Animalbooks

editor, The Historical Animal (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, forthcoming Fall 2015).

Entertaining Elephants: Animal Agency and the Business of the American Circus (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).
  * shortlisted for the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize of the Canadian
     Historical Association

How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream, 1790-1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009).

    articles and book chapters
“A Star is Born to Buck: Animal Celebrity and the Marketing of Professional Rodeo” in Sport, Animals and Society, edited by Michelle Gilbert and James Gillett (New York: Routledge, 2013), 173-91.

“Game Stallions and Other 'Horseface Minstrelsies' of the American Turf,” Theatre Journal, Special Issue on Interspecies Performance 65, no. 3 (October 2013): 355-72.

"Jumbo: A Capitalist Creation Story," Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture 23 (Winter 2012), 82-93, special issue: Marketing Animals.

“On Wild Animals, Hubris and Redemption: A Review of Water for Elephants, The Elephant in the Living Room, and One Lucky Elephant,” Society & Animals: Journal of Human-Animal Studies 20, no. 4 (Fall 2012): 401-407.

book cover The American Circus

"Elephants and the American Circus," in The American Circus, edited by Susan Weber, Kenneth Ames and Matthew Wittman (New York: Yale University Press/Bard Graduate Center, 2012), 232-49.
  * collection named Choice outstanding academic title,
     Theatre and Dance category

“The Ottoman Empire and the American Flag: Patriotic Travel before the Age of Package Tours, 1830-1870,” Journal of Tourism History1, no. 1 (March 2009): 7-26.

“The Veiled Prophet’s Oriental Tale: St. Louis’ Famous Carnivals in Context, 1878-1895,” Missouri Historical Review 103, no. 2 (January 2009): 90-107.

“Becoming Bodacious: Aufstieg und Fall eines Rodeobullen [Becoming Bodacious: The Rise and Fall of a Rodeo Bull]” in Ich, das Tier, edited by Jessica Ullrich, Friedrich Weltzien und Heike Fuhlbrügge (Berlin: Reimer Verlag, 2008), 235-48.

“A Facilitated Access Model and Ottoman Tourism,” Annals of Tourism Research 34, no. 4 (October 2007): 1056-77.

"Respectability and Representation: The Moorish Science Temple, Morocco and Black Public Culture in 1920s Chicago," American Quarterly 54, no. 4 (December 2002): 623-59.

"Mystery of The Moorish Science Temple: Southern Blacks and American Alternative Spirituality in 1920s Chicago," Religion and American Culture 12, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 123-66.

book cover How the Arabian Nights    

    curations and comments
"Ape Cam: Zoo Pets and Surveillance Culture," In Media Res, August 21, 2013, available online at: In Media Res.

"What is Modernity to Animals and Us?" Performing Humanity, November 12, 2012.

"Go to the Zoo!": Works Progress Administration Posters, Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture 23 (Winter 2012), 132-35, special issue: Marketing Animals.

"Dumbo: Then and Now," In Media Res. October 8, 2010, available online at: In Media Res

"Islamophobia and Our Love of Shopping," University of North Carolina Press Authors' Blog, September 2, 2010.