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Nathaniel D. Wood

Associate Professor, Department of History
Primary office:
785-864-9458
Wescoe Hall
Room 3641
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd
Lawrence, KS 66045

Associate Professor (Ph.D. 2004, Indiana) 19th and 20th-Cent. Eastern Europe, Poland, modern Europe, urban and cultural history, speed and transportation technologies.

I am intrigued with the ways that East Central Europeans have grappled with the challenges and opportunities stemming from industrialization and urbanization, especially during the overlapping periods commonly known as “The Age of Great Cities” (c. 1840–1939) and “The Age of Speed” (c. 1885–1939). My first book, Becoming Metropolitan: Urban Selfhood and the Making of Modern Cracow (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010) explores press representations of the city in the early twentieth century, including attitudes toward urban expansion, electric streetcars, automobiles, airplanes, and big-city crime and filth. My current book project, “Backwardness and Rushing Forward: Technology and Culture During Poland’s Age of Speed, 1885-1939,” investigates the attitudes of early adapters, enthusiasts, journalists, the public, avant garde artists, and the nationalizing state toward bicycles, automobiles, and airplanes from their introduction until WWII.

Supported by grants from Fulbright-Hays, Fulbright, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), and the International Research Exchange (IREX), among others,  I have published articles aboutthe interaction between the public and the press regarding a sex-murder in Cracow in 1905 (Journal of the History of Sexuality, May 2011), “European” emulation in the capital cities of Southeastern and East Central Europe (Makaš and Conley, eds., Capital Cities in the Aftermath of Empires: Planning in Central and Southeastern Europe, 2010), urban self-identification in East Central Europe (East Central Europe 33 2006), Cracow's popular press (Austrian History Yearbook 33 2002), and theories of nationalism and gender (Historyka [Poland] 30, 2000). A forthcoming piece about mythic comparisons of Cracow with other cities will appear in Urban History.

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in modern European and Eastern European history and frequently serve on the executive committee of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) at KU. Please contact me, whether by email, telephone, or in person with questions about graduate study in Eastern European or urban history.


KU’s Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies program is one of only 12 federally-funded national resource centers in the US
Only doctoral program in Slavic Languages and Literatures between the Mississippi and the West Coast
100% of graduate students in the Slavic program had funding in academic year 2012-13
KU's Libraries house over 500,000 volumes of Slavic books and electronic editions
Two of the department’s last four doctoral candidates have won a Fulbright grants to conduct dissertation research abroad