Conference 'Enlightenment Infrastructure: Making Digital Tools to Explore Historical Places'

Katherine McDonough (QMUL/Voltaire Foundation)
Chair: Glenn Roe (Voltaire Foundation)

Organised in collaboration with the Voltaire Foundation.

Katherine McDonough is a historian of eighteenth-century France working at the intersection of political culture and the history of science and technology. She completed her PhD in History at Stanford in 2013. She has taught at Bates College and was a postdoctoral researcher in digital humanities at Western Sydney University (Australia). Before joining the Turing Institute, she was the Academic Technology Specialist in the Department of History/Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research at Stanford University.

Her first book manuscript, 'Public Works Laboratory: Building a Province in Eighteenth-Century France' is a spatial history of the corvée, the forced labor regime used from the 1730s until the Revolution on highway construction sites.

At the Turing, Katherine McDonough works on the Living with Machines project. Her research will focus on 1) developing methods for geographic information retrieval from text and visual sources such as census records and Ordnance Survey maps and 2) examining how the expansion of transportation infrastructure changed 19th century communities.

Katherine McDonough's archival research is complemented by new methods from the fields of natural language processing and geographic information science.

In addition to the Living with Machines project, Katie is also active on:

  • Spatial History of the Encyclopédie, a project on the history of early modern geographic information in collaboration with the GéoDisco group (Ludovic Moncla, Thierry Joliveau, and Denis Vigier) and the Textual Optics Lab/ARTFL Project at the University of Chicago.
  • Early Modern Mobility, a project on the history of early modern mobility-related infrastructures (roads, postal services, borders, letter networks, and more)
  • The French Revolution Data Project, a research collective studying speeches and petitions from the French Revolutionary national assemblies