PhD History, University of California, Berkeley, 2004-2008. Dissertation: The Road to Rule: The expansion of the British road network, 1740-1850. Primary field: British History, 1688-1950. Secondary fields: Urban History, Architecture. Advisor: Professor James Vernon, British History. AB Literature, Magna cum Laude, Harvard College, 1996-2000.
Dallas Hall Room 60
Assistant Professor of History, Brown University, Providence, RI (2012- )
Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows, Cambridge, MA (2009-10, 2011-3)
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital History, Department of History, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2008-9, 2010-1)
(with David Armitage) The History Manifesto (Cambridge University Press, 2014; revised edition, 2015; Chinese translation, Truth & Wisdom Press: in progress; Japanese translation, Tōsui Shobō: in progress; Korean translation, Hanul Ak’ademi: in progress; Russian translation, Ab Imperio, 1–4/2015; Spanish translation, Alianza Editorial: in progress; Turkish translation, Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları: in progress), x + 165 pp. [New Statesman Book of the Year, 2014]
Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State (Harvard University Press, 2012).
Reviews in The Wall Street Journal, Technology and Culture, Journal of British Studies, Victorian Studies, The American Historical Review, etc.
With Cora Johnson Roberson, Paper Machines, digital software for historians (2012), http://www.papermachines.org
What is the Spatial Turn? (Charlottesville: University of Virginia, Scholar’s Lab, 2012) – digital manuscript only at present (the manuscript has been requested for inclusion in the Harvard University Press book series MetaLABprojects http://www.hup.harvard.edu/features/metalabprojects/) : http://spatial.scholarslab.org/spatial-turn
“Time Wars of the Twentieth Century and the Twenty-First Century Toolkit: The History and Politics of Longue-duree Thinking as a Prelude to the Digital Analysis of the Past,” chapter 19, pp. 253-266, in Between Humanities and the Digital, ed. Patrik Svensson and David Theo Goldberg (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015)
“Reinventing the Academic Journal,” in Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, eds., Hacking the Academy (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 25-7.
“Landscape and Place," in Research Methods for History, ed. Simon Gunn and Lucy Faire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 66-80.
(with David Armitage) ‘Le retour de la longue durée: une perspective anglo-américaine,’ Annales, 70, 2 (April–June 2015): 289–318; rptd. (abridged), Aeon Magazine (2 October 2014): http://aeon.co/magazine/society/how-history-forgot-itsrole-in-public-debate/; Chinese translation, Global History Review (Beijing), 6 (2013): 90–117; Dutch translation (abridged), Nexus, 69 (2015): 38–50.
(with David Armitage) ‘Pour une “histoire ambitieuse”: une réponse à nos critiques,’ Annales 70, 2 (April–June 2015): 367–78.
(with David Armitage) ) ‘The History Manifesto: A Reply to Deborah Cohen and Peter Mandler,’ American Historical Review, 120, 2 (April 2015): 543–54.
"The History of Walking and the Digital Turn: Stride and Lounge," Journal of Modern History 84:1 (March 2012), 116-144.
“The Other Side of the Panopticon: Technology, Archives, and the Difficulty of Seeing Victorian Heterotopias,” Journal of the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science 1:3 (2011): 1-25. https://letterpress.uchicago.edu/index.php/jdhcs/article/view/79
(with David Armitage) “Let’s Look at the Evidence,” Times Higher Education Supplement (October 2, 2014).
“Paper Machines: A Text Analysis Visualization Toolkit,” LASA Forum 14:1 (Winter 2013): 3-5.
Areas of interest
History of Great Britain, British Empire, landscape history, legal history, property law, infrastructure, longue-duree history, digital methods, international development, agrarian studies
The Long Land War tells the story of global struggles over land and water since the struggles kicked off by simultaneous land reform movements and land wars in Ireland, Scotland, and India in the 1880s. The story begins with a synthetic overview of land reform movements in the longue durée . It narrates how simultaneous famines and rent strikes rocked the British empire, causing a rethinking of property law within circles at Oxford and Cambridge, recently roused to contemplating the history of the European commons by archaeological finds and new evidence from the legal archives. The story then continues to the making of international land reform movements after the Second World War, where history PhD’s who had written theses on the history of the European peasant commons were recruited by the United Nations to run the Food and Agriculture Organization, which together with a variety of other small think tanks, championed the cause of international land reform even while land movements in Southeast Asia and South America were being directly suppressed by US Foreign Policy. A further chapter examines the utopian hope of the FAO and other organizations, who wanted to ameliorate all battles over real estate with the hope of an information service that would map soil quality around the world, so advising the poor peasant on wasteland and highland about improving his farm. The chapter shows the growth of “information overload,” and questions the new army of anthropologists, geographers, geologists, and historians who hoped to contribute their knowledge to the global struggle for peasant land through the 1960s and 70s. A chapter on British squatters in 1946 and 1974, their interface with police, government, and the London real estate bubble, is complete. The story then proceeds to an intellectual history of squatterdom since 1946 and the influence of anarchist radicals on World Bank policy in Lima and Mexico City, which is also complete. A final chapter follows the utopian hopes of mapping land by and for popular movements in the story of the participatory mapping movement, from its origins at the University of Sussex in the 1970s through the current proliferation of NGOs and digital technologies for decentralized property mapping in current-day India.