Elspeth Brown,

Historian: markets, visual culture, gender, sexuality

Hi! I'm Elspeth Brown

I am an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto. I teach undergraduate courses in the Department of Historical Studies at the Mississauga campus, and graduate courses in the History Department at the St. George campus. I arrived at U of T in 2000, after a two-year pre-doctoral fellowship at the Getty Research Institute, and completing my doctorate in American Studies at Yale University.

In terms of research, I’m a cultural historian who researches the relationship between the market, the body, and visuality in historical perspective, with an emphasis on gender, sexuality, racial formation, and the history of American capitalism. Recently, my theoretical reading has been in queer theory, trans* studies, and affect/emotion/public feelings. I have just completed a book manuscript on the (queer) history of the modeling industry in the 20th century. It will be out in 2017.

As a teacher, I’ve worked closely with both graduate students and undergraduates. I usually teach a different graduate seminar each year, ranging from fields courses to more specialized topics. In the Fall of 2015, I taught a grad seminar entitled "Queer Archives and LGBTQ History." In the Spring of 2015, I taught a grad seminar in post-45 history of sex, gender, and sexuality in the US. I regularly supervise comprehensive fields in U.S. history, 1877-present; in Business History; in Cultural History; and in the History of Gender and Sexuality. At the undergraduate level, I regularly teach the second half of the US history survey. Upper level courses have included a seminar on "Queer Feelings"; for WGS, the 4th year seminar on "Queer Theory"; and a third year history lecture course on the US in the 1920s. In 2015-16, I began directing the History internship program at the University of Toronto-Mississauga.

In terms of research, I am the principle investigator for the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, a team-based project and virutal working space where memebrs come togethet to share work, ideas, and new knowledge about the creation of LGBTQ oral histories in the digital age. Our team members are specialist in LGBTQ history, trans studies, and oral history. Our team includes faculty, grad students, archivists, and librarians from archives and universities across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This project is funded by the Social Science Humanities and Research Council of Canada and runs until 2019.

From 2007 to 2013, I directed the Centre for the Study of the United States and the American Studies Program housed in the Munk School of Global AffairsThe centre represents the largest collection of U.S.-focused scholars in Canada, as well as the greatest concentration of U.S. expertise in Canada’s history. With over 66 faculty affiliates, we have an unprecedented strength is U.S.-focused analysis and in American Studies, both institutionally and nationally. In addition to its vibrant interdisciplinary undergraduate program in American Studies, the Centre boasts many exciting activities such as our graduate student research colloquium; scholarly research talks by academics from all over the world (including our F. Ross Johnson/Connaught Distinguished Speaker Series); the F. Ross Johnson/Connaught Distinguished Visitor in American Studies, who spends three weeks on campus and teaches an intensive ‘sprint’ course each year; internships and fellowships; and at least one annual conference.