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Academic Historian




Member for: 7 years 24 weeks

Personal Information

First Name: Sean
Last Name: Kheraj
Institution/Organization: York University
Department: History

I am an assistant professor of Canadian and environmental history in the Department of History at York University.

My current research looks at the interrelationship between humans, non-human animals, and urbanization in Canada. Canadians built their major cities in the nineteenth century with animals in mind. They were places intended to facilitate symbiosis between people and their domestic animals and exclude wild animals. During the twentieth century, Canadians worked to extirpate most of their domestic animals from the urban environment (except for those used for pleasure or companionship). My research aims to understand how these historical changes in urban human-animal relations transformed cities and changed human ideas about their relationship with non-human nature.

You can listen to past conference papers I have given on this topic here:

A Multi-Species Metropolis: Managing Animals in Nineteenth-Century Winnipeg (CHA Annual Meeting 2009)

Animal Citizenry: Early Regulation of Urban Animals, Vancouver, British Columbia (CHA Annual Meeting 2008)

Creature Comforts: Remaking the Animal Landscape of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, 1887-1911 (Canadian Parks for Tomorrow Conference, 2008)

My other major area of research interest is the study of historical conservation and parks policy to understand the role that people have played in creating protected natural spaces in Canada. In particular, my work on parks focuses on the interactions between human expectations of idealized wilderness and the volatile and unpredictable condition of complex ecosystems. My dissertation research examined the environmental history of Stanley Park to understand how this relationship between the ideal and the actual has affected public memory of this iconic protected park space.

I have published two peer-reviewed scholarly articles on the environmental history of Stanley Park:

“Improving Nature: Remaking Stanley Park’s Forest, 1888-1931” BC Studies (158) 2008: 63-90. Full Text

“Restoring Nature: Ecology, Memory, and the Storm History of Vancouver’s Stanley Park” Canadian Historical Review 88 (4) 2007: 577-612. (Awarded the 2007 Canadian Historical Review Prize for best article of the year). Full Text

I am also the producer and host of a monthly podcast on the environmental history community in Canada called Nature’s Past. New episodes are available every month through the website and iTunes.

For my complete ciriculum vitae, click here.

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Category: Academic Historian