I’m a Professor of History at The University of Western Ontario in Canada and a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada (2018-25). My research involves computational history, big history, and science and technology studies (STS) with a focus on methods. Two of my new projects focus specifically on (1) electronics, sound, and esoterica in modular synthesis; and (2) a disability studies / disability history approach to astrobiology and security studies. I am engaged in a number of ongoing research collaborations in digital history with Tim Hitchcock, Edward Jones-Imhotep, Mike Bartlett, Rob MacDougall, and others. In my work, I often use historical experimentation and reverse engineering to create material objects, typically drawing on mechanical design, 3D printing, and electronics or minimal computing. As part of this research, I have built a series of 3D printers and other CNC tools, and have reverse engineered the vacuum-tube-based computers of the 1930s, 40s and 50s using the transistors and analog integrated circuits that became available a generation later.

I am the author of Spark from the Deep (JHU 2013) and The Archive of Place (UBC 2007). The second revised edition of my open access, open content and open source textbook Digital Research Methods with Mathematica (2020) can be downloaded from this site.

In the fall semester this academic year (2021-22), I am teaching the undergraduate International Relations capstone course on decolonizing disability, and a fourth-year course called “Spy vs Spy” that is designed to teach collaborative close reading and the techniques of structured intelligence analysis. In the spring I am teaching a third-year course on global 21st-century history and a cross-listed undergraduate/graduate course on digital research methods using Mathematica.

I continue to collaborate with colleagues and students applying methods like experimentation, text mining and machine learning to historical research. I am currently working with Uesio da Gama Santos and Blake Butler. Past students I have worked with include Jennifer Bonnell, Adam Crymble, Devon Elliott, Jennifer HambletonTristan Johnson, Jeffrey Lupker, Kimberley Martin, Shezan Muhammedi and Rebecca WoodsIan Milligan and Daniel Rueck are former postdocs. I am happy to discuss research opportunities with potential students and collaborators any time.

You can contact me at

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