I’m an Associate Professor at the Australian National University, working on digital humanities, literary studies and 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 leads me to consider such things as the nature of archives, the rhetorical power of numbers, 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.” The project aims to use massively expanded 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 translate new, extensive evidence of reception into 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 demonstrates impact and relevance to the wider community.
From 2013 to 2017 my research focused on nineteenth-century newspaper fiction and the consequences of mass-digitisation for the present and future of literary history. By analysing the millions of newspaper pages digitised by the National Library of Australia‘s Trove database, I discovered thousands of fiction titles published in Australia in the 19th century. 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 motivates a reconsideration of the relationship of literary history to the archive in our age of digital remediation. Find more information about this project here.
The main outcome of my 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 on publishing collections of nineteenth-century Australian fiction newly discovered in analysing Trove’s mass-digitised newspapers. The first book will present five previously lost stories by important Australian author Catherine Martin, and will be available in late 2017/early 2018.
I am also author of two other books, 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 another two, Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories (with Paul Arthur, 2014) and Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch and Australian Literary Culture (with Robert Dixon, 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. In 2013 I was awarded an ARC Discovery Project to explore serial fiction in 19th century Australian newspapers using digital and traditional bibliographic, book historical and literary critical methods. In 2017 I moved to the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics, and taught courses including Contemporary Australian Writing and Literature in the Digital Age.
Researcher Page for the Australian National University
Google Scholar publications and citations