Susan Jones
Phone Numbers
Office Address

1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States

Susan D.


Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

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Research statement

I am a historian of the modern biomedical and life sciences, with specialization in the historical ecology of disease, comparative and veterinary medicine, and environment and health. I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (University of Illinois) and completed my Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania (1997). Prior to coming to Minnesota, I was a faculty member in the Department of History at the University of Colorado (Boulder); I also spent three terms as a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University (UK). My early articles and first book, Valuing Animals, focused on topics including the cultural history of animal and zoonotic diseases; the development of comparative medicine; animal protection groups and the laboratory sciences; and how science mediated the changing relationships between humans and animals (both wild and domesticated). My current research interests focus on the historical ecology of zoonotic diseases, and these projects have been awarded Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships. I am now working on a book-length project on the history of endemic bubonic plague in the borderlands of the Soviet Union (especially Central Asia). Methodologically, I ask how both indigenous and scientific human interpretations of disease have changed over time, how disease-causing agents have changed their ecology over time, and how the two have affected each other in social, political and cultural context. I teach courses in the history of ecology and environmentalism; global environmental history; history of biology and the life sciences; and the historical ecology of disease. I also have taught summer courses at Tsinghua University (Beijing, China) and the University of Vienna (Austria).

Selected publications

Death in a Small Package: A Short History of Anthrax (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.) Order from Johns Hopkins University Press.

Valuing Animals: Veterinarians and Their Patients in Modern America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).


S.D. Jones, A.A. Amramina, B. Atshabar, B. Schmidt, M. Zuk, and N.C. Stenseth. “Living with Plague: Lessons from the Soviet Union's antiplague system.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., invited Perspectives article, in final revisions 2/2019. 

This article is featured in Sarah Zhang, "Soviets Tried So, So Hard to Eliminate the Plague," The Atlantic, May 16, 2019. 

Susan D. Jones, “Anthrax: A Biological Weapons Challenge for Veterinary Medicine,” Argos: Bulletin van Het Veterinair Historisch Genootschap, 59 (2018): 341-47.

Susan D. Jones and Anna A. Amramina, “Entangled Histories of Plague Ecology in Russia and the USSR,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 40, 3 (2018): 1-21.

Susan D. Jones, “Population Cycles, Disease, and Networks of Ecological Knowledge,” Journal of the History of Biology 50, 2 (2017): 357-391.

Susan D. Jones, “Bringing Veterinary History and History of Science Together: Recent Developments in the English-Language Literature,” Argos:  Bulletin van Het Veterinair Historisch Genootschap, no. 53 (2016): 94-99. 

Susan D. Jones, “Commentary on Raquel A.G. Reyes, “Environmentalist Thinking and the Question of Disease Causation in Late Spanish Philippines,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 69, 4 (2014): 554–579.

Susan D. Jones, “Veterinary Medicine,” in Hugh Slotten, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Scientific, Medical and Technological History (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2014.

Susan D. Jones, “A History of Veterinarians and Biological Weapons During the World Wars,” Revista de Colegio des Médicos Veterinarios del Estado Lara (Venezuela) 3 (June 2013). Accessible online atón/volumen-5/world-wars/.

Susan D. Jones, “Ecology of Anthrax and the Burden of Disease Control, 1880-1920,” in Tamay Basagaç Gül et al, Proceedings of the 39th World Congress for the History of Veterinary Medicine (Ankara: University of Ankara Press, 2012), pp. 129-141.

Susan D. Jones and Philip M. Teigen, “Anthrax in Transit:  Practical Experience and Intellectual Exchange,” Isis 99 (September 2008): 455-85.

Susan D. Jones, “Animal Diseases (Zoonotic),” in Joseph Byrne, ed., Encyclopedia of Plagues,Pestilence and Pandemics, Vol 1 (Westport, CT:  Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008), pp. 19-23.

Education and background

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1997

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, 1990

Prospective Graduate Students

I have limited openings for graduate students interested in the global history of disease; transnational history of biology and the biomedical sciences; history of human-animal interactions and veterinary medicine; and history of ecology, environment and disease, 1800-2000. Please send an email indicating your general interests and your background. Applications are processed through the Program in the History of Science, Medicine and Technology (application deadline: 1 December annually):