Susan Matt

Presidental Distinguished Professor of History

Office: Lindquist Hall 251
Phone: 801-626-7325

Research & Teaching Areas

  • U.S. Social and Cultural History       • History of Emotions
  • Gilded Age and Progressive Era        • Consumerism and Technology


  • BA, with Honors, University of Chicago (1989)
  • MA, PhD, Cornell University (1992, 1996)


  • HIST 1700 American Civilization
  • HIST 3110 American Ideas & Culture
  • HIST 4050 Gilded Age & Progressive Era
  • HIST 4710 Emotions in U.S. History
  • HIST 4990 Senior Seminar                                       
  • HIST 2900 Venture Course in U.S. History
  • HIST 3090 American Social History
  • HIST 3130 U.S. Urban History
  • HIST 4060 20th Century U.S. 1919-1945
  • HIST 4985 Research Methods



Edited Works


Journal Articles


Book Chapters & Essays


  • "The Experience of Luxury, 1800-1920," in A Cultural History of Luxury in the Age of Industry, ed. Mark Rothery (Bloomsbury, at press)

  • "Diverging Feelings: Nostalgia and Homesickness in US History," in The Routledge Handbook on Nostalgia, ed. Dylan Trigg and Tobias Becker (Routledge, at press)

  • co-authored with Luke Fernandez, "The Machinery of Modern Emotions," in The Routledge History of Emotions in the Modern World, Ed. Katie Barclay and Peter Stearns (Routledge, 2022)

  • co-authored with Luke Fernandez, "Technology and Feeling," in Sources for the History of Emotions: A Guide, eds. K. Barclay, S. Crozier-De Rosa, and P. Stearns (Routledge, 2020)
  • "What Were the Emotions? Concepts and Definitions, 1780-1920," in Susan J. Matt,  ed. A Cultural History of the Emotions: Romanticism, Revolution, and Empire (Bloomsbury: 2019) 

  • “Recovering Emotion from Visual Culture,” in Reading Roman Emotions: Visual and Textual Interpretations, ed. Marina Prusac Lindhagen and Hedvig von Ehrenheim. (Acta Instituti Romani Regni Sueciae 2020)

  • "From Sin to Economic Stimulant: Envy's Changing Place in American Capitalism," in Christoph Conrad and Anne Schmidt, Affects, Bodies, and Market Society (Mohr Siebeck, 2015)

  • Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez, "Home Invasion: From the Telegraph to the Internet of Things," in Home: Concepts, Constructions and Contexts, eds. Kathy-Ann Tan and Cecile Sandten, (Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, WVT, 2015)
  • "Recovering the Invisible: Methods for the Historical Study of the Emotions," in Matt and Stearns, eds., Doing Emotions History (University of Illinois Press: 2013) 
  • “Emotions in the Marketplace,” in A Destiny of Choice? New Directions in American Consumer History, eds. David Steigerwald and David Blanke (Rowman and Littlefield: 2013)
  • "Why the Old Fashioned is in Fashion in American Houses," in Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)
  • "Homesickness and Homemaking in America,” in American Behavioral History (New York: New York University Press, 2005).
  • "Feelings, Frocks, and Finery: Rural and Urban Women's Envy, 1890-1930,” in The Emotional History of the United States (New York: New York University Press, 1998).     

Online Publications

Selected Presentations

  • “Feelings, Failure, and Self-Reliance in America,” Keynote Address, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany, April 2022.
  • “Is Social Media Making Us Lonely? Jointly presented with Luke Fernandez, University of Cambridge (via zoom), May 2022.
  • “What the History of Emotions Reveals about Self-Reliance in America,” July 2022, International Society for Research on the Emotions (via zoom), July 2022.
  • “The Future of the History of Emotions,” North American Chapter on the History of Emotions, George Mason University, June 2022.
  • “Robinson Crusoe, Self-Reliance, and Community in 19th Century America,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, March 2022
  • “The Inner Conflicts of Capitalism,” Society for the History of Emotions Conference—Emotions in Conflict—Ottawa, Canada, October 2019
  • “Vanity’s Technologies,” jointly presented with Luke Fernandez, Society for the History of Technology, Milan, Italy, October 2019
  • “The Lonely Cloud,” jointly presented with Luke Fernandez, American Historical Association, Chicago, IL, January 2019
  • “An Emotional History of Capitalism,” American Historical Association, Chicago, IL, January 2019
  • "Neurasthenia, Emotional Exhaustion, and the Problem of Too Much Knowledge in America," University of  Tuebingen, Germany, June 2018
  • Distinguished Lecture in History, “Homesickness, History, and American Emotional Life,” DSU, St. George, UT, Feb. 27, 2018
  • Luke Fernandez and Susan Matt, “Angry, Bored, Lonely, Stupid: American Emotions and Technology,” Utah Digital Humanities Conference, Logan, UT, February 24, 2018
  • Luke Fernandez and Susan Matt, “A History of Boredom in America,” American Historical Association, Washington DC, January 7, 2018
  • Colloquium on “Homesickness and the Myth of American Individualism,” at the Max Planck Institüt für Bildungsforschung, Berlin, Germany, June 27, 2017
  • Invited presentation with Luke Fernandez on “Loneliness and Technology in America, from the Telegraph to Twitter,” at the Seminar für Nuere Geschichte, University of Tübingen, Germany
  • Invited lecture, “Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the Emotional Styles of Modern America,” University of Tübingen, October 2016
  • Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez, “Focus and Fatigue: From Cerebral Hyperaemia to ADHD,” Diseases of Modern Life Conference, Oxford University, September 2016
  • Luke Fernandez and Susan Matt, “The History of Boredom, from the Telegraph to Twitter,” Utah Digital Humanities Symposium, February 2016, Orem, Utah
  • “Subjective Experience, Emotions, and Capitalism,” Organization of American Historians, St. Louis, Missouri, April 2015
  • Invited lecture, “Death and Grief in the Age of Abraham Lincoln,” at Southern Illinois University’s Symposium on the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Death,  Springfield, Illinois, 2015
  • “The Myth of the Rational Actor: Emotions, Economics, and History,” American Historical Association, New York, January 2015
  • Invited lecture, "Recovering Emotions from the Visual Culture of the Modern Era,” Swedish Institute of Rome, Rome, Italy, April 2014
  • “Is the Telegraph Making Us Lonely?” (Joint Presentation with Luke Fernandez), Theorizing the Web Conference, Brooklyn, New York, April 2014
  • “Home Invasion: Family Life and the Threat of Technology,” (Joint Presentation with Luke Fernandez) Poster Session, Council on Contemporary Families, Miami, April 2014
  • “Homesickness and the Rise of Individualism in the Americas,” Invited lecture, University of Tübingen, American Studies Lecture Series, Tübingen, Germany, June 2013          
  • “The Telegraph and Sociability,” Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, April 2013
  • TEDx Talk, Waterloo, Canada, March 2013
  • “The Transformation of Homesickness in the U.S. Military, 1865-1945,” Society for the Social History of Medicine, Queen Mary College, University of London, September 2012
  • Keynote Address, “How Americans Learned to Leave Home,” John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies International Conference, Freie Universität Berlin, May 2012
  • “The Impossibility of Return,” Organization of American Historians, Washington, D.C., April 2010
  • “Whither the History of the Emotions?” Roundtable organizer and panelist, American Historical Association, San Diego, California, January 2010
  • “Far From Home: Homesick Soldiers in Korea and Vietnam,” American Historical Association, New York City, January 2009
  • “Why the Old Fashioned is in Fashion in American Houses,” Fall Conference, Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society, Wilmington, Delaware, Oct. 2005
  • “Dealing With Desire: Children and the Problem of Envy in Consumer Society, 1890-1930,” American Historical Association, Chicago, January 2003
  • “‘The Prizes of Life Lie Away From the Farm’” Western Social Science Association, Reno, Nevada, April 2001
  • "Corporations, Competition, and Consumption: Middle-Class Men in the White-Collar World," American Historical Association, Seattle, Washington, January 1998
  • "Jefferson's Nightmare? The Rise of Consumer Culture and the Declining Hopes for an Agrarian Republic, 1890-1930," Organization of American Historians, San Francisco, CA, 1997


  • A History of Feelings by Rob Boddice, History: Review of New Books (at press)
  • Empathy: A History by Susan Lanzoni, American Historical Review (at press)
  • The History of the Emotions, by Jan Plamper, The Historian, Fall 2017
  • Get Out of My Room: A History of Teen Bedrooms in America by Jason Reid, Journal of Social History, August 2017
  • Emotional and Sectional Conflict in the Antebellum United States, by Michael Woods, Journal of American History (September 2015)
  • Consuming Pleasures: Intellectuals and Popular Culture in the Post-War World,  by Daniel Horowitz, American Historical Review (December 2014)
  • The Americanization of Narcissism, by Elizabeth Lunbeck, Journal of Social History (Fall 2015)
  • The English in Love, by Claire Langhamer, Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Autumn 2014)
  • Friendship: A History, ed. Barbara Caine, Journal of Social History (Spring 2012)
  • The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950, by Avner Offer, Journal of Social History (Fall 2009)
  • Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 by Kristin L. Hoganson, Journal of Social History (Winter 2009)
  • Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890-1945 by Charles McGovern, Enterprise and Society (2007)
  • Freedom from Want: American Liberalism and the Idea of the Consumer by Kathleen G. Donohue, American Historical Review (June 2007) 
  • Born Losers: A History of Failure in America by Scott A. Sandage, American Historical Review (October 2006)
  • Raising Consumers: Children and the American Mass Market in the Early Twentieth Century by Lisa Jacobson, Journal of Social History (Summer 2006)
  • Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America by Walter A. Friedman, American Historical Review (February 2005)
  • The Cute and the Cool: Wondrous Innocence and Modern American Children's Culture by Gary Cross and Some Wore Bobby Sox: The Emergence of Teenage Girls' Culture, 1920-1945 by Kelly Schrum, Journal of American History (June 2005)
  • Talk of Love: Why Culture Matters by Ann Swidler, Journal of Social History (Fall 2004) 
  • Refined Tastes: Sugar, Confectionery, and Consumers in Nineteenth-Century America by Wendy A. Woloson, Journal of Social History (Summer 2004)
  • Sowing the American Dream: How Consumer Culture Took Root in the Rural Midwest by David Blanke, in Journal of Social History (Fall 2002)
  • 1898: The Birth of the American Century by David Traxel, in New York History (Winter 2001)

Manuscript Referee

  • Journal of American History
  • Journal of Social History
  • Emotion Review
  • Business History Review
  • History of Psychology
  • Journal of Women's History
  • Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • Journal of American Culture
  • Civil War History 
  • Journal of Medical Humanities
  • William and Mary Quarterly

Awards & Affiliations

  • Outstanding Research Award, Weber State University, 2019 (co-recipient with Luke Fernandez, for Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid)
  • Visiting Faculty, History Department, University of Tubingen, Summer 2013, 2017
  • John S. Hinckley Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service, 2014
  • Fritz Thyssen Foundation/Organization of American Historians, German Residency Fellowship, 2013
  • Chair, Department of History 2008-2017
  • Presidential Distinguished Professor of History, awarded 2009
  • Visiting Fellow, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, 2007
  • Endowed professor, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2005-2008
  • Research Travel Award, John Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History, Duke University Library, 2000
  • Jeanne Humphrey Block Dissertation Award, The Henry Murray Center, Radcliffe College,1993
  • Cornell University Women's Studies/President's Council of Cornell Women Summer Research Grant, 1993
  • Mellon Fellowship, 1994-95, 1992
  • University of Chicago College Honor Scholarship, 1985-1989
  • University of Chicago Student Body President, 1988-1989 

Media Activity

  • Published pieces in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, Slate, Lapham's Quarterly, the New York Times Disunion blog, HNN
  • Interviewed by VOX, C-Span, NPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” "Innovation Hub," CBC, “Radio West,” “Wall Street Journal Radio,” “Access Utah,” “Thinking Aloud,” “Wisconsin Public Radio, “Radio Times,” HNN, USA Today, BBC News Magazine, New York Magazine
  • Books reviewed by The New York Review of Books, Publisher's Weekly, Nature, Entrepreneur Magazine, Slate, The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Weekly Standard, New York Times Style section, The Paris Review, Chicago Tribune, as well as academic journals.