My dissertation, entitled “Punctuality: morality, authority, and time measurement in Victorian Britain,” examines how, during the nineteenth-century, diverse cultures of time were underwritten by discourses about the value of time and its proper use, very often articulated as punctuality. Railways, telegraphs, and time-keeping devices created a landscape within which punctuality could at once evoke safety, class, piety, and morality. Being a passenger entailed waiting for trains and reading timetables, pocket watches, and station clocks. Yet while railways, telegraphs, and electric clocks could generate new temporal regimes, deeply rooted values about time and its use underwrote efforts to discipline those systems and the people using them. I first trace the way punctuality was generated as a metric of piety and sensibility through Evangelical sermons and magazines in the late eighteenth century. By the end of the nineteenth century the value was largely secularized, but breeching this moral code was no less grave. Throughout the nineteenth century, punctuality sustained efforts to construct electrically regulated clocks, discipline workers, and prevent railway accidents. Understanding how this value was constructed and debated reveals the extent to which technology might disrupt traditional codes of trust and propriety, and how codes were transformed or generated to fill the voids. Punctuality’s representation of these codes, made it a, if not the, Victorian value par excellence.
Editor, with Michael Barton, Janet Browne, and Norman Macmillan, The Correspondence of John Tyndall, Volume 6: 1856–9 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018).
Editor, with Michael Barton, and Roland Jackson, The Correspondence of John Tyndall, Volume 10: 1868–70 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020).
Selected awards, prizes, and fellowships:
Graduate student paper prize, Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies (2018).
Fulbright Canada Student Research Award (2015–16).
Orville Lloyd Wilmot Memorial Scholarship in History, Department of History, University of British Columbia (2015–16)
Margaret A. Ormsby Memorial Fellowship, Department of History, University of British Columbia (2014).
Research Grant, British Society for the History of Science (2014).
Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, SSHRC (2013–14).
Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Ph.D.) SSHRC (2011–14).
Four Year Fellowship (Doctoral), University of British Columbia (2010–14).
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (M.A.), SSHRC (2009–10).
Selected conference papers:
“George Airy and Electric Timekeeping; or, the Importance of Punctuality.” The Life and Work of George Biddell Airy, University of Cambridge, June 29, 2018.
“Redeeming the Time: punctuality, credit, and the middling-sort.” Pacific Coast Conference on British Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, March 23–5 2018.
“On Dropping the Ball: Punctuality and Greenwich Mean Time in Victorian Britain.” Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop: ND XII. University of Notre Dame, June 26, 2015.
“‘The best Mean Time the Observatory can supply’: galvanizing time at the Greenwich Observatory.” Royal Museums Greenwich, November 13, 2013.
“The ‘indisputable authority’ of the Greenwich Observatory: experiments with clock coordination in Victorian Britain.” Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science: Congress 2013. University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, June 2–4, 2013.
“Hurried to Death: Punctuality and Railway Travel in Victorian England.” Loco/Motion: Thirty-fourth Annual Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference. Fresno, California, March 7–9, 2013.
This course will examine the historical relations between science, technology, and empire from the 18th to the 20th century. We will discuss the ways that European scientific knowledge was produced in the context of imperial expansion and exploration and how this knowledge was frequently mobilized to materially and discursively sustain empires. Students will investigate the construction of modern science in relation to exploration, national and imperial rivalries, global commerce and industry, local knowledge, and cultural perceptions of colonization and empire.
Department of History, University of British Columbia, Instructor:
History 368: Nineteenth-century Europe (2018).
History 490A: Science and Empire (2017).
History 317: Britain, 1850–1918 (2014).
Department of History, University of British Columbia, Teaching Assistant:
History 260: Science and Society (2015).
History 220: Europe 1789–Present (2011).
Ph.D. History, University of British Columbia (in progress)
M.A. History, Dalhousie University.
B.A. Honours, History and Philosophy, Brock University.
Visiting Fellow, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University (2015–16).
Visiting Doctoral Student, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge (2013–14).
History of Science and Technology Intern, Royal Museums Greenwich (2013).