I am a British political historian specialising in popular politics 1867-1914, political parties, elections and psephology, and political language and communication. I’m also very interested in the digital humanities, especially in interdisciplinary research methodologies involving quantitative electronic language analysis (text mining) inspired by corpus linguistics.
My research to date has focussed on a key methodological question which confronts historians of the digital age. Namely, how we can analyze huge multi-million word texts which are physically impossible to read in totality, for example general election campaigns in the late Victorian and Edwardian period, where an estimated billion words of platform speeches were delivered nationwide in a single contest. My recent article in Historical Research, ‘Quantifying the Language of British Politics, 1880-1910’ discusses this problem and advocates carefully-adapted digital text-mining methodologies as a solution in political history, and beyond.
My publications, including ‘'Joseph Chamberlain and the Third Reform Act: a Reassessment of the Unauthorised Programme of 1885' use my methodology to revisit and reassess key historiographical debates in British politics, including on the language of imperialism, Irish Home Rule, and the impact of the emerging Labour party.
Quantifying the language of British politics,
By-Election in British Politics, 1832-1914
Electioneering the Third Reform Act, and Political Change in 1880s