Queen's University

Daniel Robert Woolf's biography


Daniel Robert Woolf has been appointed Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario as of September 1, 2009.

He is currently the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Professor, Department of History and Classics, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

He was born in London, England and grew up in Winnipeg. He studied at Queen's University in Kingston (BAH ‘80) and at Oxford University (DPhil ‘83). He returned to Queen’s as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow in history (’84-86) and taught at Queen's and then Bishop's University before joining Dalhousie University's history department in 1987. He became a full professor in 1994 and served as Associate Dean and then Acting Dean of Graduate Studies. In 1999 he joined McMaster University as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and a member of its History Department. He joined the University of Alberta as Dean of Arts in 2002, and was reappointed in 2007.

Dr. Woolf will return to Kingston to begin an academic appointment in the department of history on July 1, 2009, prior to beginning his five year term as Principal and Vice-Chancellor on September 1.

Dr Woolf is a specialist in early modern British cultural history and in the history of historical thought and writing both in Britain and globally. He is the author of articles in a variety of scholarly journals, and has also authored three monographs, The Idea of History in Early Stuart England (Toronto, 1990); Reading History in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2000); and The Social Circulation of the Past (Oxford, 2003) which was awarded the 2004 John Ben Snow Foundation Prize for the best book by a North American scholar in any field of British Studies focusing on the period between the Middle Ages and the 18th century. The prize is awarded by the North American Conference on British Studies.

Dr Woolf has also published four co-edited collections of essays, Public Duty and Private Conscience in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford, 1993); The Rhetorics of Life-writing in Early Modern Europe (Michigan UP, 1995); The Spoken Word: Oral Culture in Britain 1500-1850 (Manchester UP, 2002); and Local Identities in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (Palgrave, 2007). He also edited the two-volume Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing (New York, 1998), and was both an associate editor of and contributor to the mammoth Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004).

In early 2005, Dr Woolf was inducted as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2006.

Dr Woolf is currently at work on two projects, The Oxford History of Historical Writing, of which he is general editor, and a textbook on historiography for Cambridge University Press.

As a senior university administrator, Dr Woolf has a proven track record in governance, financial management and employee engagement. He’s been involved in external relations, and advancement programming, including fundraising, and alumni relations, as well as community outreach. He’s helped promote the people and academic profile of the institutions he’s worked for, and has led the development of many innovative campus projects and initiatives.

Dr Woolf is married to Julie Gordon-Woolf, Director of Planning for the Alberta Mental Health Board and a professional harpist.

He is the father of three teenagers, including one who is in first year at Queen’s.  His personal interests include music (especially jazz) and classic movies.

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