Peter H. Hansen


Contents: This page contains information on the following:



Academic Experience


Fellowships and Grants


Honors and Awards



The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment (Harvard University Press, May 2013). ISBN: 9780674047990. HUP, Amazon, B&N

"Founders of the Alpine Club (act. 1857–1863)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, October 2007. Online at ODNB

"Bruce, Charles Granville (1866-1939)," "Conway, (William) Martin, Baron Conway of Allington (1856-1937)," "Coolidge, William Augustus Brevoort (1850-1926)," "FitzGerald, Edward Arthur (1871-1931)," "Hargreaves, Alison Jane (1962-1995)," "Hinchliff, Thomas Woodbine (1825-1882)," "Jackson [née Sanderson], Margaret Anne (1843-1906)," "Le Blond [née Hawkins-Whitshed], Elizabeth Alice Frances (1860-1934)," "Mallory, George Herbert Leigh (1886-1924)," "Mason, Kenneth (1887-1976)," "Mummery, Albert Frederick (1855-1895)," "Noel, John Baptist Lucius (1890-1989)," "Pigeon, Anna (1832-1917)," "Pugh, (Lewis) Griffith Cresswell Evans (1909-1994)," "Richardson, (Sarah) Katharine [Katy] (1854-1927)," "Smith, Albert Richard (1816-1860)," "Stark, Dame Freya Madeline (1893?-1993)," "Straton, (Mary) Isabella Charlet- (1838-1918)," "Tenzing Norgay [known as Sherpa Tenzing] (1914-1986)," "Weston, Walter (1860-1940)," "Whymper, Edward (1840-1911)," "Wills, Sir Alfred (1828-1912)," and "Young, Geoffrey Winthrop (1876-1958)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed., H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

"Why is there no subaltern studies for Tibet?" Tibet Journal 28:4 (Winter 2003): 7-22. 

"Georges Mallory et la masculinité," in Deux siècles d'alpinismes européens, origines et mutations des activités de grimpe, ed. Olivier Hoibian and Jacques Defrance, (Paris: L'Harmattan, 2002), pp. 135-46. PDF

"Mallory et la masculinité," Cimes, L’Everest dans tous ses états, Groupe de Haute Montagne Annales 2002 (2002): 173-76.

"Ornamentalism and Orientalism: Virtual Empires and the Politics of Knowledge," Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 3:1 (Spring 2002). doi:10.1353/cch.2002.0012 and URL at Project Muse

"Interdisciplinary Student Projects in Thailand," Tai Culture: International Review on Tai Cultural Studies 7 (June 2002): 176-7. PDF

"Unofficial Notes on the Gates Cambridge Scholarship," National Association of Fellowship Advisors: the NAFA Newsletter 4 (March 2002).  URL on-line.

"Coronation Everest: Empire and Commonwealth in the ‘Second Elizabethan Age’," in British Culture and the End of Empire, ed. Stuart Ward, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001), pp. 57-72. Google Books (limited preview)

"Tibetan Horizon: Tibet and the Cinema in the Early Twentieth Century," in Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections, and Fantasies, ed. Thierry Dodin and Heinz Räther, (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001), pp. 91-110.  Google Books (limited preview)

"Modern Mountains: the Performative Consciousness of Modernity in Britain, 1870-1940," in Meanings of Modernity: Britain in the Age of Imperialism and World Wars, ed. Martin J. Daunton and Bernhard Rieger, (Oxford: Berg, and New York: NYU Press, 2001), pp. 185-202. Google Books (limited preview)

"Confetti of Empire: the Conquest of Everest in Nepal, India, Britain and New Zealand," Comparative Studies in Society and History, 42 (April 2000): 307-332. doi:10.1017/S0010417500002486 and Stable URL at JSTOR.

"Albert Smith, l'Alpine Club, et l'invention de l'alpinisme au milieu de l'ère victorienne," STAPS: Revue internationale des sciences du sport et de l'éducation physique vol. 21, n. 51 (Hiver 2000): 7-28. PDF

"Partners: Guides and Sherpas in the Alps and Himalayas, 1850s-1950s," in Voyages and Visions: Towards a Cultural History of Travel, ed. Jas Elsner and Joan-Pau Rubies, (London: Reaktion, 1999), pp. 210-231. Google Books (limited preview)

"Debate: Tenzing's Two Wrist-Watches: the Conquest of Everest and Late Imperial Culture in Britain, 1921-1953, Comment," Past and Present 157 (Nov. 1997): 159-177. doi:10.1093/past/157.1.159 and Stable URL at JSTOR

"Der tibetische Horizont. Tibet im Kino des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts," in Mythos Tibet: Wahrnehmungen, Projektionen, Phantasien, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, with Thierry Dodin and Heinz Räther eds., (Cologne: DuMont Verlag, 1997), pp. 87-103.  PDF

"The Dancing Lamas of Everest: Cinema, Orientalism, and Anglo-Tibetan Relations in the 1920s," American Historical Review 101 (June 1996): 712-744. doi:10.1086/ahr/101.3.712 and Stable URL at JSTOR. Reprinted in Alex McKay, ed., The History of Tibet, 3 vols. (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003). 

"Vertical Boundaries, National Identities: Victorian Mountaineering on the Frontiers of Europe and the Empire, 1868-1914," Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 24 (1996): 48-71. doi: 10.1080/03086539608582968

"International Education and Sustainable Development: An American Experience in Bangkok, Venice, and Guayaquil,"" The Environmentalist 15, 4 (1995): 252-256.  doi:10.1007/BF01902246

"Mountaineering," in Twentieth-Century Britain: an Encyclopedia, ed., F.M. Leventhal, (New York: Garland, 1995), pp. 536-537.

"Albert Smith, the Alpine Club, and the Invention of Mountaineering in Mid-Victorian Britain," Journal of British Studies 34 (July 1995): 300-324. doi:10.1086/386080 and Stable URL at JSTOR. Translated and reprinted, above.


Recent book reviews:

Review of Diana L. DiStefano, Encounters in Avalanche Country: A History of Survival in the Mountain West, 1820-1929 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2013), for New Mexico Historical Review 89:4 (Fall 2014): 532-533.

Review of Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, Enlightenment’s Frontier: The Scottish Highlands and the Origins of Environmentalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), for Environmental History 19:2 (April 2014): 399-401. doi:10.1093/envhis/emu017

Review of Ann C. Colley, Victorians in the Mountains: Sinking the Sublime (Burlington: Ashgate, 2010), for Victorian Studies 54:2 (2012): 334-336. DOI: 10.1353/vic.2012.0010 or Project Muse

Review of Gordon T. Stewart, Journeys to Empire: Enlightenment, Imperialism and the British Encounter with Tibet, 1774-1904 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), for Journal of British Studies, 49 (July 2010): 729-730. DOI: 10.1086/652257

Review of Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver, Fallen Giants: A History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age of Empire to the Age of Extremes (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), for Journal of British Studies 48 (July 2009): 798-800. DOI: 10.1086/604789

Review of Julie G. Marshall, Britain and Tibet, 1765-1947: a select bibliography of British relations with Tibet and the Himalayan states including Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan, revised and updated to 2003 (New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005), in Himalaya 26 (2006 [publication May 2009]): 59-60. Journal website

Review of Jonathan Finch and Kate Giles, eds., Estate Landscapes: Design, Improvement and Power in the Post-Medieval Landscape, Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology Monograph 4. (Woodbridge, Suffolk, and Rochester, NY: Boydell and Brewer, 2007), for H-Albion Discussion List in British and Irish History (February 2009).

Review of W.B. Carnochan, The Sad Story of Burton, Speke, and the Nile; or, was John Hanning Speke a Cad? Looking at the Evidence (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), and Dane Kennedy, The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), for Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 9:2 (Fall 2008). Project Muse

Review of Ian J. Barrow, Making History, Drawing Territory: British Mapping in India, c. 1756-1905 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003), in Journal of British Studies 45 (January 2006): 184-6. DOI: 10.1086/500882

Book Reviews also in Journal of Historical Geography, International Labor and Working-Class History, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, World History Bulletin


Work in Progress

Work in progress is devoted to three areas:  a book on the cultural history of Everest; essays about western encounters with Tibet in the twentieth century, and historical approaches to climate change and the Anthropocene.


Recent Presentations and Conferences

"Summits of Modern Man and Thresholds of Climate Change: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment," Social Science Baha, Kathmandu, April 2014. Lecture Series LXXIV, Audio: Baha Lecture Series Podcast

"The Everest Brawl and Political Subjectivities on Mount Everest," Himalayan Studies Conference, Yale University, March 2014.

"Summits of Modern Man and Thresholds of Climate Change," College of the Holy Cross, February, 2014.

"The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment," Worcester Polytechnic Institute, November 2013.

"Summits of Modern Man and Thresholds of Climate Change," Center for European Studies, Harvard University, September 2013.

"Mountains and Minds: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment," Montana State University, September, 2013.

"Mountaineering and the Sovereignty of Modern Man," ISSA World Congress of Sociology of Sport, Vancouver, June 2013.

"Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering after the Enlightenment," Institute of Historical Research, London, May 2013. IHR History SPOT Podcast

"Courage and Science: the Politics of Remembering Saussure’s Ascent of Mont Blanc during the Early Third Republic," Society for French Historical Studies, April 2013.

"What is Enlightenment? The Ascents of Mont Blanc," Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, October 2010.

"Discovery of the Glacières: Making Up Mont Blanc," Nature's Publics: The Making of Publics for Knowledge of the Natural World in Europe, 1500-1800, McGill University, Montreal, March 2010.



Courses Taught: see also courses and projects at WPI.
Industry and Empire in British History, 1688 to present.
Introduction to European Social and Economic History: The Industrial Revolution.
Topics in Modern European History.
Topics in Imperial and Postcolonial History.
Senior Seminar in International Studies.
Pro-Seminar in Global Perspectives.
Europe Since World War I.
Europe Since the French Revolution.
Europe Since 1945.
British History, 1780-1950.
The British Empire, 1757-c.1930.
Britain and France, 1750-1980.
World History Since 1500.

Advisor to research projects and inquiry seminars in history on campus as well as London and Morocco, Interactive Projects on the interaction of science/technology and society at London, Bangkok, Washington, DC, and Worcester, and Major Projects (equivalent to a senior thesis) in international studies and history.  My students have received the President's IQP Award, the Provost's MQP Award, and the Class of 1879 Prize in the Humanities.


Consulting and Editorial Service

Commentator, "Battle for the Himalayas: The Fight to Film Everest," Timeshift Series 14:4, BBC Four, January 29, 2015, See preview clips, or the program on BBC iPlayer.

Historical consultant to Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, for a discussion series at public libraries on "Desperate Journeys: True Stories of Endurance and Survival," 2000-2001.

Historical Commentator for "The Misfit and the Matterhorn," a BBC Television program in the series on "Mountain Men: Tall Tales and High Adventure," 2000-01.  Broadcast BBC2, May 31, 2001. 

Historical Consultant and Commentator, "Hillary and Tenzing: Everest and After," a BBC Television program in the "Reputations" series, produced by the BBC Documentary Department, 1996-97. The program was broadcast June 18, 1997 on BBC2, and on the History Channel after April, 1998. 

Associate Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed., H.C.G. Matthew, (Oxford University Press, 2004).

Manuscript Referee for Journal of British Studies, Cultural Geographies, The Historian, Social and Cultural Geography, Western Historical Quarterly, Journal of Canadian Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, Longmans Publishing, and Oxford University Press.

Editor, NACBS Forum on The Making of the Working British Historian, 2000.


Professional Service

North East Conference of British Studies, President, 2005-07. Vice-President and Program Chair, 2003-05.  Secretary-Treasurer, 1996-2001.

North American Conference on British Studies, Webmaster, 1999-2003, Council (ex officio), 2006-07.

WPI Director of International Studies, WPI, 1995--. Responsible for an interdisciplinary major and minor in International Studies.  

WPI Advisor for Undergraduate Awards, WPI, 2000-2013. See Fellowships and Scholarships

WPI Department of Humanities and Arts, including interim head, associate head, and department council, promotion, tenure, and faculty search committees.

Other service at WPI includes the Committee on Appointments and Promotions, Committee on Governance, Committee on Academic Policy, Undergraduate Outcomes Assessment Committee, Women's Programs Steering Committee, Presidential Commissions or Task Forces on the humanities and arts, first-year programs and general education requirements. 


Professional Memberships

WPI Homepage

Peter Hansen's Homepage