Colin Fisher, PhD

Colin Fisher
Phone: (619) 260-4039
Fax: (619) 260-2272
Office: Kroc Inst for Peace & Justice 263A

Professor and Chair, History

  • Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; History
  • M.A., University of California, Irvine; History
  • B.A., Lawrence University, History

Colin Fisher has been a member of the USD history department since 2002. He teaches classes in U.S. environmental history, U.S. history of food, environmental visual culture, and history and memory, among others. He has also taught the senior thesis sequence required of all history majors. His research centers on minority cultures of nature in the United States as well as urban environmental history. 

Areas of Expertise

U.S. Environmental History; U.S. Urban Environmental History; African American Environmental History

Scholarly Work

Scholarly and Creative Work:

My work explores minority encounters with nature. In my book, Urban Green: Nature, Recreation, and the Working Class in Industrial Chicago (University of North Carolina Press, 2015), I argue that it was not just affluent Anglo Americans who sought out nature during their leisure. During the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries, recent immigrants, their American-born children, African Americans, and industrial workers also sometimes sought to temporarily escape “artificial” urban environments and come into contact with nature. Chicagoans sought out nature not only in rural and wild landscapes outside of Chicago, but also in urban green spaces: city parks, the Lake Michigan shore, commercialized parks and beer gardens, and even vacant lots. I also show how marginalized Chicagoans used landscapes in “nature’s nation” to forge subaltern German, Irish, Polish, African-American, and working-class identities.

Other work includes:

"Nature in 'The Jungle': Ethnic Workers, Environmental Inequalities, and Subaltern Cultures of Nature in Chicago's Packingtown," in Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, Vol. 3 (Winter 2016).

"Nature in the City: Urban Environmental History and Central Park" in OAH Magzine of History (October 2011).

"Race and U.S. Environmental History," in A Companion to American Environmental History, ed. Douglas Sackman (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2010).

"African Americans, Outdoor Recreation, and the 1919 Chicago Race Riot," in "To Love the Wind and the Rain": Essays in African American Environmental History, ed. Dianne Glave and Mark Stoll (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005).

Areas of Interest

Fisher is a committed teacher who enjoys cultivating a critical understanding of the past among his students. He teaches classes in U.S history, U.S. environmental history, history of food, and nature and visual culture. He has also taught the history thesis sequence required of all graduating seniors.