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

  • 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

  • “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 solicited pieces in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times Disunion blog, HNN
  • Interviewed by C-Span, NPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” “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 Slate, The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Weekly Standard, New York Times Style section, The Paris Review, Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic Monthly, as well as academic journals.