I’m currently Associate Professor of English and Core Founding Faculty Member in the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. My scholarship seeks to illuminate how technologies of production, reception, and remediation shape the meanings of texts within communities. In particular, my work focuses on the technical, social, and literary operations of the nineteenth-century newspaper: its modes of circulation, its genres of everyday reading and writing, and its networked modes of authorship. For more on the specifics of my work, see my CV.
I began this line of research editing a digital edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Celestial Railroad” that aimed to allow scholars, teachers, and students to follow the rich publication history of “The Celestial Railroad” in American periodicals during the 1840s and 50s. That relatively narrow focus expanded into a collaborative effort with colleagues in English, History, and Computer Science to uncover reprinted texts in large-scale archives of nineteenth-century periodicals. The NEH- and ACLS-funded Viral Texts project uses robust data mining tools to discover borrowed texts across large-scale archives of antebellum texts. These “viral texts” help us to trace lines of influence among antebellum writers and editors, and to construct models of viral textuality in the period.
Between 2017-2019, I will work with an international team comprising scholars from the US, Mexico, UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Finland on Oceanic Exchanges: Tracing Global Information Networks In Historical Newspaper Repositories, 1840-1914 (OcEx), a project funded through the Transatlantic Platform’s 2017 Digging Into Data Challenge. OcEx brings together leading efforts in computational periodicals research to examine patterns of information flow across national and linguistic boundaries. Through computational analysis, OcEx also crosses the boundaries that separate digitized newspaper corpora to illustrate the global connectedness of 19th century newspapers. OcEx uncovers how the international was refracted through the local as news, advice, vignettes, popular science, poetry, fiction, and more. By linking research across large-scale digital newspaper collections, OcEx offers a model for data custodians that host large-scale humanities data.
Between 2012-2016 I was a Mellon Fellow of Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, Virginia and I am now a Senior Fellow in the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. I held an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship during the 2015-2016 academic year, and I occasionally write about technology in higher education for the group blog ProfHacker at the Chronicle of Higher Education. I also serve on the executive committee for the MLA’s Forum on Bibliography and Scholarly Editing.