I am an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University and core faculty in the NuLab for Texts, Maps and Networks.
My work bridges cultural and intellectual history and digital humanities by exploring the tension between lived experience and quantification, both in the past and as it challenges humanistic researchers today. I focus on the ground between the traditional history of concepts, and new methodologies resulting from the massive digitization of texts in the past decade. My dissertation, Paying Attention, studied the emergence of modern concepts of attention in the early twentieth century United States, focusing on actors in psychology, advertising, and pedagogy and on large-scale trends in texts; my research in digital humanities finds ways to bring humanistic reading and interpretation to the products of data analysis, visualization, and algorithmic transformations.
At Northeastern, I teach classes in the history department and honors college on digital history and the history of “big data” at the graduate and undergraduate level.
I write about text mining and digital humanities on my blog Sapping Attention. I have another, less serious, blog–Prochronisms–that looks at historical changes in language by algorithmically checking historical TV shows and movies.
I live in Somerville, Massachusetts.