Dr Nathan Cardon

Dr Nathan Cardon

Department of History
Senior Lecturer in United States History
Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of North America

Contact details

Arts Building, 324

My primary research interests are in the social, cultural, and transnational histories of the U.S. South, mobility, U.S. empire, and race.


  • 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.



  • The US South: From Plantations to NASCAR (Year 3)
  • Special Subject: The Making of the Modern United States: The Gilded Age and Progressive Era (Year 3)

Postgraduate supervision

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

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


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 research project, The World Awheel: Americans in the Bicycle Age, 1885-1939, 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.