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Daniel Vandersommers

Assistant Professor

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: History


Email: Daniel Vandersommers


Dan Vandersommers is an assistant professor of environmental history. He teaches courses across the field, including focused courses on animal history, climate history, wilderness history, and the history of ecological thought. His research interests reside at the intersection of environmental history, animal studies, science studies, and posthumanism.

Before arriving at the University of Dayton, Dan served as an NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (CHSTM) in Philadelphia (2017-2018) and an SSHRC-funded Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal History at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (2016-2017). He has also taught at Kenyon College (2015), the University of Mississippi (2015-2016), and Ball State University (2018-2020). Dan earned his Ph.D. in 2014 from The Ohio State University.

He has published widely, including a volume (with Tracy McDonald) in animal studies titled Zoo Studies: A New Humanities (McGill-Queens University Press, 2019) and an important 2017 article in the Journal of American Studies titled “Narrating Animal History from the Crags: A Turn-of-the-Century Tale about Mountain Sheep, Resistance, and a Nation.”

He is currently finishing a manuscript titled Entangled Encounters at the National Zoo: Stories of Science, Culture, and Environment (under contract, University Press of Kansas). His next book-length research project is tentatively titled Still Lights, Changing Waters: Lighthouses, Environmental Thought, and the Shifting Border Ecologies of Industrializing Lake Erie, 1820-1939.

Most important, Dan loves board games, disc golf, traveling, hiking and basketball. He has hiked all around North America and has dreams of backpacking in five other continents. And you may occasionally spot him shooting hoops at the RecPlex.


  • Ph.D., Ohio State University, 2014