Dr Nathan Cardon

Dr Nathan Cardon

Department of History
Lecturer in United States History
Co-Director of American and Canadian Studies Centre

Contact details

I am a historian of the United States. My work is focussed on the intersections of race and empire in foreign and domestic space.


  • H.BA, MA, PhD (University of Toronto)


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.


  • US History, 1890-2001 (Year 2)
  • The African American Experience, 1945-Present (Year 2)
  • Mass Society and Modernity (Postgraduate)

Postgraduate supervision

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


My scholarly work focuses on the intersections of race and empire within the United States from Reconstruction to the Great War. My first book, A Dream of the Future: Race, Empire, and Modernity at the Atlanta and Nashville World’s Fairs will be published with Oxford University Press in 2016. 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.

I am beginning work on two new projects. The first uses cycling and the bicycle to explore the intersections of race, empire, sport, and leisure in the formulation of American modernity (1890-1918). It chooses to examine foreign and domestic spaces not as dialectic but as dialogic. As such, late-nineteenth century discussions regarding African American cycling abilities related directly to colonial projects in Cuba, the Philippines, and the U.S. South. It continues my ongoing scholarly project to re-interpret our understanding of the sometimes dramatic, sometimes benign ways American modernity was conceived and lived through the nexuses of race and empire.

The second and much broader project examines the cultural history of doping in sport beginning in the 1890s and ending with Lance Armstrong. It explores how performance-enhancing drugs have shaped the broader meanings of sports in society. From the body as machine in the industrial world of the turn-of-the-century to the market free-for-all of late-capitalism at the beginning of the 21st century.

Other activities

  • Admissions Tutor, American and Canadian Studies



  • A Dream of the Future: Race, Empire, and Modernity at the Atlanta and Nashville World’s Fairs (Under Contract, Oxford University Press).


  • “The South’s New Negroes and African American Visions of Progress at the Atlanta and Nashville International Expositions, 1895-1897,” Journal of Southern History 80:2 (May 2014): 287-326