I am an assistant professor of history at Northeastern University and core faculty in the NuLab for Texts, Maps and Networks.
My intellectual interest, broadly speaking, is the relation between history and data. As a digital humanist, much of my work explores the way historians (and anyone else who wants to tell a story) can use massive digital archives to communicate in new and old ways through data analysis, visualization, and algorithmic transformations. As an intellectual and cultural historian of the United States, I’m interested both in using these resources to address historical questions and in situating contemporary conversations about data and statistics in their longer historical context. 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 changes in language.
At Northeastern, I teach classes in the history department and honors college on US history, digital history, and the history of “big data” at the graduate and undergraduate level.
I’ve made a number of data visualizations providing interactive explorations of politics (State of Union addresses), history (historical shipping traffic), and higher education (gender and teaching evaluations); you can browse a gallery on this page. I write about text mining and digital humanities on my blog Sapping Attention; more recently, I’ve been posting in-progress textual analysis questions using Bookworm to a blog on this site. I also occasionally write and consult on computationally finding anachronisms in historical fiction on a separate blog, Prochronisms, and for the Atlantic.
I live in Manhattan.