I’m Professor of Literary and Textual Studies and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow working on digital humanities, literary studies, and book history in the School of English, Languages and Literature at the Australian National University. My research investigates Australian literary production, circulation, and reception with digital data, collections, platforms, and methods. I am interested in the critical potential – and limitations – of computational literary studies, a topic that also leads me to consider such things as the nature of archives and future of the humanities.
My current Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship project uses new, extensive digital evidence of reception to progress a central insight of cultural criticism: that meaning is not carried by texts but produced in interactions between texts, contexts and readers. “Reading at the Interface: Literatures, Cultures, Technologies” will create an interactive digital platform to connect scholarly work in Australian literary studies to public discussions of literature, enrich reading experiences and provide a vehicle for literary research that engages diverse publics and enhances understanding of Australian literature.
My “To be continued . . .” project mined the National Library of Australia’s Trove database to discover over 21,000 publications of novels, novellas and short stories in 19th- and early 20th-century Australian newspapers. This fiction came from around the world, including Britain, America and Australia, as well as Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, and beyond. A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History, explores the circulations and contents of 19th-century stories to provide new insights into how literature travelled globally in this period and the consequences of this movement for literary, reading, and cultural history. The book also presents a new framework, based on the scholarly edition, for understanding the relationship of literary history to the documentary record in this age of digital remediation. To be continued was funded by an ARC Discovery Project grant and in 2020 I received another ARC grant, a Special Research Initiative, to continue discovering and exploring fiction in Australian newspapers, this time with a focus on 20th-century publications. That project, called “Read all about it“, also investigates public participation in literary curation and digital library collections.
The “Resourceful Reading” project was also funded by an ARC Discovery Grant. It allowed me to present a new history of the Australian novel, based on quantitative analysis of the AustLit database, published as Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field. This book revised key tenets of the history of this literary form, relating to literary and cultural value, authorship, gender, genre and the transnational circulation of fiction. It also proposed a methodological framework for digital book history, combining book history’s pragmatic approach to literary data with the digital humanities concept of modelling as an ongoing and iterative practice.
These projects, as well as my doctoral research on representations of men’s bodies in women’s fiction, have led to a number of other books as well as multiple journal articles and chapters. I am also an editor for the Elements in Digital Literary Studies Series (Cambridge University Press), and on the editorial boards of journals including Australian Literary Studies, Post45 (Data Collective), International Journal of Digital Humanities, and Journal of Cultural Analytics.
Brief (Professional) Bio
I graduated from James Cook University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (First Class). After a year travelling and working in Europe, I undertook a PhD in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland. I completed my dissertation in 2005, and in 2006 spent another year travelling, this time mainly in Asia. In 2007 I took up an Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of English at the University of Sydney, before moving to Hobart in mid-2009, to begin a lectureship in English at the University of Tasmania. In 2011, I moved again to the Centre for Digital Humanities Research (then the Digital Humanities Hub) at the Australian National University. I was Head of Centre from 2011 to 2013, when I took leave to have my daughter, Elsa. My son, Felix, was born in 2016, the year I moved to a continuing position in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics.
Researcher Page for the Australian National University
Google Scholar publications and citations