Nathan Cardon


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am happy to discuss research projects broadly based in 19th and early 20th century United States history.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I was born and raised in southern Ontario and did my graduate work at the University of Toronto before taking up a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough (2014-15). I joined the School of History and Cultures at the University of Birmingham in the Autumn of 2015.

Research interests

My first book, A Dream of the Future: Race, Empire, and Modernity at the Atlanta and Nashville World’s Fairs was published with Oxford University Press in 2018. In it I examine how southerners at the end of the nineteenth century worked through the major questions facing a nation undergoing profound change. At the expositions, they attempted to understand how the region could be industrial and imperial on its own terms. In addition to the book an article examining African American participation in the expositions was published in the Journal of Southern History.

My next book project, The World Awheel: Americans in the First Global Bicycle Age, 1885-1920 (under contract with Columbia University Press), incorporates the methods of the new history of imperialism, materiality, mobility, environmental anthropology, and literary criticism to argue that the bicycle had an immense impact on the meanings of mobility for Americans both within the nation and as they went abroad. The bicycle, a technology that defied the spatial boundaries of the local, regional, and national, is an ideal lens through which to trace global circuits that blur the line between centre and periphery. The World Awheel, moves beyond traditional histories of the bicycle that focus on technology and sport to consider the emergence of a new cycling subjectivity. This new subjectivity had a profound influence on the ways in which Americans thought of themselves within the world and in terms of race, gender, class, movement, and science. Ultimately, The World Awheel places the United States within a global network that connects places as divergent as New York, the Philippines, the U.S. South, Paris, the Congo, and Australia. Research related to this project has recently been published in Technology & Culture, Journal of American Studies, and The Washington Post.


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