Rebecca J. H. Woods

Associate Professor (She/Her)
Sidney Smith, Room 2086, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3



Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

History of Science; Environmental History;  Animal History; History of Natural History


Rebecca Woods is an historian of science, environment, and animals working primarily in the 19th century. Woods's research explores the complex cultural histories of diverse animals, ranging from extinct woolly mammoths to imperial sheep and cattle, as they figure into scientific thought, technological change, and ecologies both real and imagined. Her first book, The Herds Shot Round the World: Native Breeds and the British Empire, 1800-1900 (UNC Press, 2017) examined how breeds of sheep and cattle circulated and were altered under imperial conditions in the nineteenth century. Woods's current research examines the history of frozen mammoths and how these individual animals have shaped and contributed to environmental and palentological thought since the late 18th century. From the rarest of scientific specimens, with contemporary global warming, these and other Pleistocene megafauna now emerge from the Siberian and North American permafrost on a seasonal basis, becoming bellwethers for a warming planet.


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MA, University of Western Ontario
BA, McGill University