I’m an Associate Professor and 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 explores the critical potential – and limitations – of quantitative and 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.
My current Future Fellowship project aims to 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 previous research projects have also used digital collections to explore the production, circulation and reception of Australian literature. For my “To be continued . . .” project, I mined the National Library of Australia’s Trove database to discover over 21,000 novels, novellas and short stories published 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. My book, A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History, explores the the circulation and contents of these 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. It 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.
Prior to that, as part of the “Resourceful Reading” project, I offered 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 the editor of book series on Australian literature (for Anthem Press) and digital literary studies (for Cambridge University Press), and on the editorial boards of journals including Australian Literary Studies and Journal of Cultural Analytics.
Brief (Professional) Bio
I graduated from James Cook University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours. 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. In 2013 I was awarded an ARC Discovery Project to explore fiction in digitised historical Australian newspapers. In 2016 I moved to a continuing position in the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics and in 2018 I began my ARC-funded Future Fellowship, “Reading at the Interface”.
Researcher Page for the Australian National University
Google Scholar publications and citations