Kathleen A. Brosnan

Paul and Doris Eaton Travis Chair of Modern American History


Kathleen Brosnan earned a J.D. from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include the American West, environmental history, urban history, legal history, and public history. She is the author of Uniting Mountain and Plain: Cities, Law and Environmental Change along the Front Range and numerous articles. Brosnan is the editor of the prize-winning Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, and co-editor of City Dreams, Country Schemes: Community and Identity in the American West (with Amy Scott) and Energy Capitals: Global Influence, Local Impact (with Marty Melosi and Joe Pratt). As a public historian, she has worked on projects with the National Park Service, the Newberry Library, the American Library Association, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and crafted an online exhibit, To Bear Fruit for Our Race: the History of African American Physicians in Houston.  Brosnan co-directed a nominated documentary, The University of Houston: War and Growth, 1939-1950, and consulted on an environmental history documentary series, Notes from the Field. Brosnan is writing an environmental history of the Napa wine industry and developing three co-edited volumes. The first for University of Chicago Press with James Akerman, Mapping Nature Across the Americas, emerges from a NEH Summer Institute she co-directed at the Newberry Library. The second for University of Pittsburgh Press with Will Barnett and Ann Keating addresses the environmental history of Chicago. The final edited volume for the University of Oklahoma Press with Brian Frehner emerges from a NSF-sponsored workshop on the environmental history of the Great Plains. Brosnan recently completed her presidency of the American Society for Environmental History and is a member of the American Historical Association nominating committee.  She is also active in the Western History Association.