Nicolas Kenny

Assistant Professor
Office: AQ 6015
Telephone: 778-782-5815

Areas of Study: CANADA.


I arrived in SFU in the Fall of 2008, after completing a PhD in a joint programme organised by the Université de Montréal and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. I am a member of the Montreal History Group and of the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur l'histoire de Bruxelles.

Research Interests

I have always been fascinated by large urban centres, and my primary research interest is in the cultural history of cities, specifically in the way people live in them and interact with their unique atmosphere. The bulk of my research focuses on Montreal and Brussels, two cities whose distinct characters have been shaped by a diversity of economic, political, social and cultural currents. I am particularly interested in the way urban dwellers interiorise their experiences with these environments, and relate to them on a subjective level, ranging from their bodily encounters with the sights, sounds and smells of the metropolis, to the emotional language with which they narrate their experiences. I am also developing a project on the way the development of radio broadcasting contributed to shaping urban culture in early and mid-20th century Quebec and Belgium.


  • “Corporeal Understandings of the Industrialising Environment.” in Stéphane Castonguay and Michèle Dagenais (eds), Metropolitan Natures: Urban Environmental Histories of Montreal. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, (2011.) p 51-67
  • “Une vraie cité infernale: Le discours hygiénique, sensoriel et moral dans l’organisation spatiale montréalaise et bruxelloise, 1880-1914.” in Fernando Lópes Mora (ed) Modernidad, ciudadanía, desviaciones y desigualdades : por un análisis comparativo de las dificultades del paso a la modernidad ciudadana (Córdoba : Universidad de Córdoba, Servicio de Publicaciones, 2010), 473-482
  • "From Body and Home to Nation and World: The Varying Scales of Transnational Urbanism in Montreal and Brussels at the turn of the 20th century." Urban History 36.2 (August 2009.) p 223-242
  • "Entre misère et splendeur : les banlieues industrielles et l'image de la ville moderne, Montréal et Bruxelles au tournant du 20e siècle." Ètudes canadiennes 60, (hiver 2007.) p 181-196
  • "La représentation de l'industrie dans les guides bruxellois et montréalais au tournant du 20e siècle." Cahiers de la Fonderie : Destination Bruxelles. Le tourisme, un secteur d'avenir, no 34 (2006.) p 16-21
  • "Je cherche fortune": Identity, Counterculture and Profit in Fin-de-siècle Montmartre." Urban History Review \ Revue d'histoire urbaine 32, no 2, (March 2004.) p 21-32
  • "Writing Citizenship with Lightning: Mass Culture and the Politics of Exclusion in Progressive America." Cahiers d'histoire 22, no 2, (automne 2003.) p 25-49

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests at both the undergraduate and graduate levels revolve around urban, cultural, environmental, comparative and transnational issues, with a focus on Canada and Quebec. I also teach in the French Cohort Programme in Public Administration and Community Services.

Graduate Supervision

Current Graduate Students:


  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Standard Research Grant. “Emotional Metropolis: Industry, Empire and Entertainment in Montreal, 1880s-1930s,” (2011-2012)
  • Université de Montréal Prize for Best Thesis, 2008
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada Graduate Scholarship, 2004-2007
  • Fonds québécois de recherche en science et culture, docotoral scholarship, 2003
  • Communauté française de Belgique - Commissariat général aux relations internationales, doctoral scholarship, 2007-2008
  • Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, doctoral scholarship, 2007

News about Nicolas Kenny