I’m an Associate Professor at the Australian National University, working on digital humanities, literary studies, book history, and reading and reception in the School of English, Languages and Linguistics. My research explores the critical potential – and limitations – of digital methods for literary studies, a topic that also leads me to consider such things as the nature of archives and the future of the humanities.
From 2018 to 2022 I will be funded by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship for a project entitled “Reading at the Interface: Literatures, Cultures, Technologies.” This project aims to use 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. It 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. Read more about the project here.
From 2013 to 2016 I was funded by an ARC Discovery Project to explore fiction in historical Australian newspapers. By analysing the millions of newspaper pages digitised by the National Library of Australia‘s Trove database, I discovered over 21,000 stories published in Australia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These stories came from across the globe, including Britain, America and Australia, as well as France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, and elsewhere. Exploring their circulation and contents provides new insights into how literature travelled globally in this period, and the consequences of this movement for literary, reading, and cultural history. This project also motivated a reconsideration of the relationship of literary history to the archive in this age of digital remediation. Find more information about the project here.
The main outcome of this newspaper research is a monograph forthcoming with University of Michigan Press, entitled A World of Fiction: Mass-digitisation, Nineteenth-century Australian Newspapers, and the Future of Literary History. I am also working with Orbiter Press to publish Australian fiction newly discovered in digitised newspapers. The first book will present five previously lost stories by important Australian author Catherine Martin. You can read more about these books here. I am also author of Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field (2012) and Damaged Men/Desiring Women: Male Bodies in Contemporary Australian Women’s Writing (2008), and co-editor of Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories (2014) and Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch and Australian Literary Culture (2009). I am series editor for Anthem Press’s Australian Literature and Culture series, and on the editorial board for Australian Literary Studies, Journal of Cultural Analytics, and Anthem Press’s Book History of Print Culture series.
My publications also include multiple journal articles and book chapters on a range of topics, including Australian literature, book history, gender studies, directions in higher education, and digital archives.
Brief (Professional) Bio
I graduated from James Cook University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honours). After a year travelling and working in Europe, I began a PhD in the School of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland. My thesis, arising from my interests in gender studies, visual theory, and contemporary literature, was entitled “In/visibility: Women Looking at Men’s Bodies In and Through Contemporary Australian Women’s Fiction”. After another year travelling, this time in Asia and Europe, I took up an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of English at the University of Sydney. Part of a large ARC Discovery Grant, with Professors Leigh Dale, Robert Dixon and Gillian Whitlock, my project based a new history of the Australian novel on quantitative analysis of the AustLit database. In mid-2009 I took up a lectureship in English at the University of Tasmania before moving, in 2011, to the Centre for Digital Humanities Research (then the Digital Humanities Hub) at the Australian National University. I was Head of the centre from 2011 to 2013 and moved to the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics in 2017. In 2013 I was awarded an ARC Discovery Project to explore fiction in mass-digitised historical Australian newspapers, and in 2017 I received an ARC Future Fellowship to use online reception data to explore contemporary constructions of, and communities of readers for, Australian literature.
Researcher Page for the Australian National University
Google Scholar publications and citations