I am a historian, having just finished my PhD in April 2016, devoting the last few years to examining the intersection of print culture and religion in nineteenth-century Canada. I have been fascinated by the stories of those who propagated religious texts in Canada in this period, and the differences in publishing, printing, bookselling, and distribution that emerged between Canada, the United States, and Britain. I am also fascinated by the religious impulses that drove men and women to disseminate their religious and theological texts over great distances and in vast numbers in order to spread their message. I have encountered powerful stories of how peoople’s lives have been changed by the worlds of print and religion.
The tools by which we communicate these stories fascinate me. The nineteenth century saw remarkable advances in printing and publishing in the nineteenth century with the development of steam-powered printing presses, the use of stereotype plates, and the introduction of pulp-based paper. These changes brought printed materials to the masses and enabled a much wider readership of cheap books in the Western world. I have watched with interest the emergence of new technologies within the last generation that are transforming how texts are being consumed, as digital media changes the way readers engeage in content, and how authors, news outlets, corporations, institutions, and individuals operate as publishers themselves, producing content for audiences with whom they engage directly.
My research seeks to continue to explore the technologies of print and the use of digital media to publish content. I remain fascinated by religious organizations and their use of communication tools, but I am also interested in major news outlets and traditional publishers who have seen traditional business models and revenue streams disrupted by the production of digital texts, despite record levels of readership and engagement. I believe that communication technology and publishing has been, in both the past and in the present, a way by which communities create a cultural identity, express belief and meaning, and give voice to who they are. Above all, these media tell us stories. In my work, I aim to continue to explore the meaning not only of those stories, but how they are told, and who is able to tell them.