My research explores the intersection of Victorian literature, performance media, and material culture. I am especially interested in the global history of magic lantern shows, a popular Victorian entertainment that featured a series of projected images accompanied by spoken narration, and the representation of these shows in letters, diaries, and published travel narratives. I use digital approaches like text encoding, topic modeling, and mapping to identify latent literary tropes in moments of cultural contact. By critically reflecting on the techniques that I use to remediate texts, objects, and their historical context, I address the limited perspective that these texts offer by foregrounding local contributors who shaped the production of these texts.

Digitally remediating historical documents and cultural objects through publically-accessible collections and virtual museums promotes continued scholarly conversations about global history. To foreground underrepresented voices in the colonial archive, these recovery projects rely heavily on thoughtful coding practices, carefully crafted scholarly framing, clearly articulated project documentation, and collaborative editing practices. Grappling with the inheritance that digital archives received from their physical antecedents creates possibilities for more ethical and just representations in public-facing collections.

Digital Projects and Publications

Shining Lights: Magic Lanterns and the Missionary Movement, 1839-1868
A digital monograph (in development) that studies the global dissemination of projection equipment in the hands of British missionaries through curated exhibits of digitized lanterns, slides, letters, journals, and periodical literature

  • Manage multimedia content through Scalar, Youtube and Sketchfab
  • Build custom page layouts with HTML and CSS
  • Preserve cultural heritage objects with Photoscan and Photoshop
  • Map key locations with Esri Story Maps

"Magic lantern shows through a macroscopic lens: Topic modeling and mapping as methods for media archaeology""
An forthcoming article for Early Popular Visual Culture that identifies literary tropes across 2,000 published eyewitness accounts of magic lantern shows through a multi-method digital analysis; based on my capstone project for the Digital Arts and Humanities Certificate

  • Mined data from Lucerna with SQL
  • Cleaned up data with Excel
  • Topic modeled documents with MALLET
  • Mapped paratextual metadata with Carto

Livingstone’s Manuscripts in South Africa: A Critical Edition. Adrian S. Wisnicki and Jared McDonald, directors. University of Maryland Libraries. 2018.
A critical edition of archival material from South African institutions

  • Transcribed and encoded approximately 20 letters according to the project’s TEI guidelines
  • Managed versions of xml files via GitHub
  • Revised coding practices based on project documentation in Google Spreadsheets
  • Reviewed supporting scholarly essays

Snap-dragons; a tale of Christmas eve, and Old Father Christmas : an old fashioned tale of the young days of a grumpy old godfather. by Juliana Horatia Ewing. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1888. Critical edition hosted by the Victorian Women Writers Project. Angela Courtney and Michelle Dalmau, editors. Indiana University Libraries. 2011.
A TEI edition of Julia Horatia Ewing’s children’s novella with supporting scholarly essays

“Strategies for Sustainable Growth: Lessons Learned through the Victorian Women Writers Project.” Digital Studies/Le champ numérique, 7(1), 4. DOI:
A white-paper on project growth through pedagogy

Project Management Experience

Project Scholar (August 2015—Present) Livingstone Online, University of Nebraska

  • Transcribe and encode archival documents according to TEI P5 Guidelines
  • Review coding, project documentation, and supporting critical materials
  • Promote the project’s continued growth through grant applications

Managing Editor (August 2010-May 2014) Victorian Women Writers Project, Indiana University

  • Developed partnerships through outreach, conference presentations, and publications
  • Facilitated undergraduate contributions to the project
  • Managed an undergraduate student worker

Photographer (May 2011-May 2013) David Francis Collection, Bloomington, Indiana

  • Developed best practices for photographing magic lantern slides
  • Documented photography workflow and file naming practices
  • Trained new personel how to use camera rig and project documentation
  • Prepared the collection for its relocation to the Kent Museum of the Moving Image in Deal, UK

Select Research Grants and Scholarships

Mellon Innovating International Research, Teaching and Collaboration—Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University, November 2015

HASTAC Scholar—Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities, mentor, 2015-2016

Tuition Scholarship for a course on crowdsourcing at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute—University of Victoria, June 2015

Tuition Scholarship for a course on database design at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute—University of Victoria, June 2012

Invited Presentations

“‘This is a big proverb,’ or the adventures of a slipper in Sierra Leone” Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada Convention, Victoria, British Columbia, April 2018.

“Locating Lanternists: Tools for Geographic Analysis.” A Million Pictures Project workshop, Exeter, UK, January 2018.

“Rev Smithurst’s Wish List.” Magic Lantern Society of the UK International Conference, Birmingham, UK, April 2017.

“Shining Lights: Magic Lanterns in the hands of LMS missionaries, 1839-1890.” Christian Missions in Global History Seminar Series. School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK, May 2017.

Conference Presentations

“‘Coffee’ and Other Coding Challenges: Lessons Learned through David Livingstone’s Manuscripts in South Africa (1843-1872)”. Poster presentation.Text Encoding Initiative Annual Conference, Tokyo, Japan. September 2018

“Social Lights: Mapping Magic Lantern Shows and Local Performance Practices.” Panel on the digital spatial turn. North American Victorian Studies Association, Phoenix, AZ, November 2016.

“‘The oxyhydrogen light of civilization’?: the Untold Story of Livingstone’s Lantern.” The Victorians Institute: Victorian STEAM, North Carolina State University, October 2016.

“Missionaries, Local Peoples, and the Screen Experience: Then and Now.” Panel on Livingstone Online. Nineteenth-Century Studies Association: The New and the Novel, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, April 2016.

“Teaching with TEI: The Victorian Women Writers Project and Virtual Learning Environments.” Digital Humanities Summer Institute, June 2015.

“Building the Virtual Museum: Nineteenth Century Scholarship and the VWWP.” co-authored with Angela Courtney, director of the IU Scholars’ Commons. Digital Diversity 2015: Writing * Feminism * Culture, University of Alberta, May 2015.

“Terms of Engagement: Words, Weapons, and Weddings in As You Like It.” Consent: Terms of Agreement, Department of English, Indiana University, March 2013.

“Voyeur-istically Viewing Middlemarch: Visualization Tools and Traditional Literary Scholarship.” Digital Humanities Summer Institute, University of Victoria, June 2012.

Public History

“Lasers and plastics and slides, oh my!”
A series of laser-cut and 3D printed mechanical magic lantern slides for Magnetic North’s production of Erewhon at the 2018 Edinbugh Fringe Festival

“Reverend Smithurst’s Wishlist” The Magic Lantern. Journal for the Magic Lantern Society of the UK. Fall 2018, p 14.
A short piece for a broad readership about an Anglican missionary who lived in Red River, Canada who requested magic lantern slides