College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Nathan Wood

Associate Professor
Primary office:
Wescoe Hall
Room 3642


19th and 20th century Eastern Europe; Poland; modern Europe; urban and cultural history; speed and transportation technologies.

Research Profile:

Professor Wood (Ph.D. Indiana University, 2004) is 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). His 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. His 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, Wood has published articles on topics ranging from urban self-identification in East Central Europe to the interaction between the public and the press regarding a sex-murder in Cracow in 1905.

Recent Publications:

  • “Sexual Violence, Sex Scandals, and the Word on the Street: The Kolasówna Lustmord in Cracow’s Popular Press, 1905-06” Journal of the History of Sexuality, 20:2, May 2011, 243-69.
  • Becoming Metropolitan: Urban Selfhood and the Making of Modern Cracow (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010).

Teaching Profile:

In 2010, Professor Wood was honored with a W.T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in modern European and eastern European history and frequently serves on the executive committee of the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) at KU. Please contact him, whether by email, telephone, or in person with questions about the undergraduate major or graduate study in Eastern European history.

Recent Courses:

  • HIST 115: Europe, 1789 to Present
  • HIST 177: From the Locomotive to the Smart Phone: Culture, Space & Time in the Machine Age
  • HIST 333: EuroMetro: Visions of the European Metropolis
  • HIST 377: Everyday Communism in Eastern Europe
  • HIST 557: Nationalism and Communism in East Central Europe, 1772 to Present
  • HIST 845: Eastern Europe: 19th and 20th Centuries

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