Books and Book Chapters
The People’s Network: The Political Economy of the Telephone in the Gilded Age
The People’s Network tells the story of the telephone in the United States and Canada before the triumph of the Bell System: the rise and fall of an independent telephone movement and its forgotten struggle for a more democratic communications regime. It’s the prehistory of the fight to save net neutrality, with useful lessons for the communications revolutions of our own time.
Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology
This terrific anthology makes the case for making play a part the new digital history. A bevy of cutting-edge digital historians showcase the playful ways we can use new technology to teach, research, and learn about the past. My chapter, co-written with Timothy Compeau, describes Tecumseh Lies Here, our augmented reality game for history education. The book is available in print and online in an open access edition from University of Michigan Press.
The Wire Devils: A Classic Mystery Novel of the American Railroad
I wrote a brand-new historical introduction for this splendid edition of a classic pulp adventure novel by Frank L. Packard, originally published in 1918. It’s a fast-paced game of cat and mouse between jewel thieves, train robbers, and secret agents, all played out on the rails and telegraph lines of the American West–a kind of high-tech thriller from the days when railroads and telegraphs were still “high-tech.”
With Timothy Compeau: “Tecumseh Lies Here: Goals and Challenges for a Pervasive History Game in Progress,” in Kevin Kee, ed., Pastplay: Teaching and Learning History with Technology, University of Michigan Press, 2014.
With Devon Elliott and William J. Turkel: “New Old Things: Fabrication, Physical Computing, and Experiment in Historical Practice,” Canadian Journal of Communication 37:1 (2012), 121-128.
“Convention of Cranks: Why the Nineteenth Century’s Golden Age of Pseudoscience May Be a Precursor of Our Own,” Scope 2 (Spring 2011), 10-21.
“Towards a Transnational Political History of North America: The View from Canada,” Nuevo Mundo / Mundos Nuevos (March 2010).