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About Us
Jane Nicholas
Jane Nicholas
Associate Professor
Department of History
Cross appointment to Department of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies
Acting Chair, Department of History

Director, Tri-University History Program

 

PhD, University of Waterloo
MA, Queen's University
BA, Lakehead University

519-884-8111 

28273
SH 2014
Image of Dr. Jane Nicholas
BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Jane Nicholas is an associate professor of History and Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies.  She is a Canadian gender and women’s historian, specializing in the history of the body.  The primary aim of her work is to reveal the historical development so-called ‘natural’ categories of the body like beauty or freakery.  Her interdisciplinary research interests hover around the historically constructed categories of identity, beauty, and depictions of the ‘normal’ body by way of cultural institutions like the freak show.  Her work uses intersectional methodologies, with an eye toward questions of historical practice and ethics.  A current research project, funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada Insight Grant, is called Sorrow: Child Death and Grief in Ontario, 1867-1940.  It explores issues of the interembodiment of gendered violence and the relationship between the body and emotions in the lives of women and children.

 

She is the author of The Modern Girl:  Feminine Modernities, The Body, and Commodities in the 1920s (University of Toronto Press, 2015) and Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body, 1900-1970s (University of Toronto Press, 2018). In addition, she has edited two books: Contesting Bodies and Nation in Canadian History (University of Toronto Press, 2013) with Patrizia Gentile, and Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education:  Critical Theory and Practice (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015) with Tracy Penny Light and Renee Bondy.   Recent articles have been published in the Journal of Social History, The Journal of Curatorial Studies,  the Journal for the History of Childhood and Youth, and Histoire sociale/Social History among others.  She has contributed chapters to Making Men, Making History:  Canadian Masculinities across Time and Place (UBC Press), Bringing Children and Childhood into Canadian History:  The Difference Kids Make (Oxford University Press), and Consuming Modernity:  Changing Gendered Behaviours and Consumerism, 1919-1940 (UBC Press) among other collections.  Recent media contributions include “Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body” for the Society for the History of Children and Youth’s  podcast and  “The Flapper and the Modern Girl,” for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s  Ideas.

PUBLICATIONS

The content that follows may only represent a portion of the Faculty member’s work.

 

Books
Nicholas, Jane. Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body, 1900-1970s (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2018). 320 pp   Listen to the podcast about this publication.

 

Nicholas, Jane.  The Modern Girl:  Feminine Modernities, The Body, and Commodities in the 1920s (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2015) 288 pp.

 

Penny Light, Tracy, Jane Nicholas, and Renee Bondy eds., Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education:  Critical Theory and Practice (Waterloo, ON:  Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015) 342 pp.

 

Gentile, Patrizia and Jane Nicholas, eds., Contesting Bodies and Nation in Canadian History (Toronto, ON:  University of Toronto Press, 2013) 428 pp.  

 

Chapters
Nicholas, Jane. “Scales of Manliness:  Masculinity and Disability in the Displays of Little People as Freaks in Ontario, 1900s-1950s” Masculinities in Canadian History edited by Robert Rutherdale and Peter Gossage (Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, 2018).

 

Nicholas, Jane. “Child Freak Performers in Early-to Mid-Twentieth-Century Canada,” Bringing Children and Childhood into Canadian History:  The Difference Kids Make:  edited by Mona Gleason and Tamara Myers (Don Mills, ON:  Oxford University Press, 2017), 308-324.

 

Nicholas, Jane and Jamilee Baroud. “Rethinking ‘Students These Days’:  Feminist Pedagogy and the Construction of Students” in Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education:  Critical Theory and Practice Tracy Penny Light, Jane Nicholas, and Renee Bondy eds., (Waterloo, ON:  Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015), 245-262.

 

Bondy, Renee, Jane Nicholas, and Tracy Penny Light, “Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education” in Feminist Pedagogy in Higher Education:  Critical Theory and Practice Tracy Penny Light, Jane Nicholas, and Renee Bondy eds., (Waterloo, ON:  Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015), 1-9.

 

Nicholas, Jane and Patrizia Gentile. “Introduction:  Contesting Bodies, Nation, and Canadian History” in Contesting Bodies and Nation in Canadian History, Patrizia Gentile and Jane Nicholas, eds.,(Toronto, ON:  University of Toronto Press, 2013), 3-27.  

 

Nicholas, Jane.  “Beauty Advice for the Canadian Modern Girl in the 1920s” in Consuming Modernity:  Changing Gendered Behaviours and Consumerism, 1919-1940, eds. Cheryl Krasnick Warsh and Dan Malleck, (Vancouver, BC:  University of British Columbia Press, 2013), 181-199.

 

Nicholas, Jane.  “Representing the Modern Man:  Beauty Culture and Masculinity in Early Twentieth Century Canada” in Canadian Men and Masculinities:  Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, eds.  Wayne Martino and Christopher Grieg, (Canadian Scholars’ Press/Women’s Press, 2012), 42-60.

 

Articles

Smith, Michelle J. and Jane Nicholas. “Soft Rejuvenation:  Cosmetics, Idealized Femininity, and Young Women’s Bodies, 1880-1930.” Journal of Social History, 53, no. 4 (Summer 2020): 906-921.

 

Nicholas, Jane. “Quintessential Childhood: Showing Care in the Exhibition of the Dionnes.” Journal of Curatorial Studies, 8, no. 1 (2019):  26-50.

 

Nicholas, Jane. “On Display:  Bodies and Consumption in the ‘New’ Canadian Cultural History.” History Compass, 17, no. 2 (February 2019):  DOI:  10.1111/hic3.12519.

 

Nicholas, Jane. “The Children’s Séance:  Child Death, the Body, and Grief in Interwar Ontario” Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 11, no. 2 (Summer 2018)

 


Nicholas, Jane and Lori Chambers, “In Search of Monkey Girl:  Disability, Child Welfare, and the Freak Show in Ontario in the 1970s” Journal of Canadian Studies, 50, no. 2 (Summer 2016), (backdated issue published in 2017).

 

Nicholas, Jane. “A Debt to the Dead?  Ethics, Photography, History and the Study of Freakery” Histoire sociale/Social History 47, no. 93 (May 2014), 141-157.

GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS, AWARDS

Grants
SSHRC Insight Grant, Sorrow: Child Death and Grief in Ontario, 1867-1940 (2018)
Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences, Aid to Scholarly Publications Program, (for Canadian Carnival Freaks and the Extraordinary Body) (2017)
St. Jerome’s University, Faculty Research Grant, (2018 and 2015)
St. Jerome’s University, Aid to Scholarly Publishing, (2018 and 2015)
Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences, Aid to Scholarly Publications Program, (for The Modern Girl) (2012)
SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2010)
SSHRC Aid to Scholarly Workshops (with Dr. P Gentile, Carleton University – funds managed through Carleton University) (2010)

COURSES TAUGHT

HIST 103 Canadian History through Biography

HIST 313: History of the Family in the United States
HIST 318/SMF 318: History of Sexuality: The Modern Period

HIST 422 The Freak Show

 


SMF 101: Introduction to Relationships and Families
SMF 215: Sexuality and Popular Culture
SMF 494: Seminar in Sexuality

AREAS OF GRADUATE SUPERVISION

Canadian women’s and gender history

The history of the body

Canadian cultural history

 


For more information, please see the Tri-University Graduate Program in History.

PROFESSIONAL, ADMINISTRATIVE, AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

The content that follows may only represent a portion of the Faculty member’s work.

 

Professional
Ontario Representative, Canadian Committee on Women's History - Comité canadien de l'histoire des femmes (2018-)
Society for the History of Childhood and Youth Fass-Sandin Prize Committee (2017)
Chair, Article Prize Committee for the Canadian Historical Association’s Canadian Committee on Migration, Ethnicity and Transnationalism (2016-2018)

 

Administrative

Director, Tri-University Graduate Program in History (2019-2022)

Acting Chair, Department of History (2018; 2021-2022)
Member, Committee on Research and Scholarship (2016-2017)
Member, Academic Planning Committee (2015-2017)