Annual Undergraduate History Conference - April 21 and 22

[Update 4-20-2023: The keynote address originally scheduled for April 21 has been canceled. Due to significant storms in the plains states, Dr. Daniel Vandersommers is not able to make it to Humboldt. His lecture will be rescheduled in the Fall. Student presentations will still take place on Saturday.]

The History Department at Cal Poly Humboldt is excited to host Dr. Daniel Vandersommers, one of the pioneers in the new field of Zoo Studies, as a keynote speaker for the annual Student History Conference. His keynote, titled “Following Runaway Animals: Stories from the Zoo for Wilding History,” will take place Friday, April 21, from 5-7 p.m. in Founders Hall 118.

What is Zoo Studies? “Zoo studies considers the modern zoo from a range of approaches and disciplines, united in a desire to blur the boundaries between human and nonhuman animals.”

Dr. Vandersommers is an assistant professor of environmental history at the University of Dayton.  He teaches classes on animal history, climate history, wilderness history, and the history of ecological thought.  His research combines environmental history, animal studies, science studies, and posthumanism.

Vandersommers began his college career as a Biology major before switching to History with a minor in Political Science. He received his Ph.D. in Early American History from the Ohio State University. He was a NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Philadelphia, and an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Animal History at MacMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

He is co-editor-in-chief of Animal History, the first journal in the field of Zoo Studies, which will launch in the next few months with the University of California Press. His publications include Zoo Studies: A New Humanities (2019) **Winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Title” award for 2020.  Vandersommers is currently at work on two projects: a study of how racial violence shaped zoological thought and vice versa; and a history of veterinary medicine and its influences on human medicine.  Finally, he is planning a book on the global history of goldfish. 

On Saturday, April 22, students will present their research projects in Founders Hall 232 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. For a copy of the conference program, contact the History Department at

This event is open to Cal Poly Humboldt students, faculty, staff and the community. Persons who wish to request disability related accommodations should contact the History Department at 707-826-3641 or as soon as possible.