k.mcdonough (at) westernsydney.edu.au
Western Sydney University Profile
Academia.edu Profile

I am part of the “Mapping Print, Charting Enlightenment” digital humanities project at Western Sydney University. One major strand of this project updates and expands the existing French Book Trade during the Enlightenment database. We write about the project here. We are part of the Digital Humanities Research Group at WSU.

My book manuscript is a history of the politics of highway construction in western France during the long eighteenth century. I explore how and why the experience of building a highway changed from the early years of the 18th century to the end of the century, and the significance of this provincial public works project. Using the archives of the public works administrations in the province of Brittany, this is the only book-length project in English with a focus on the forced labor system of the corvée. Building highways was a local endeavor that we should better understand as a major factor bringing together political, economic, technological, and environmental specialists in the eighteenth century. As such, the book decenters the study of French political economy and technology from the city to the networked countryside and opens new ground in linking environmental and political history in eighteenth-century French history.

I am completing articles drawing on my dissertation work as well as pieces on the history of scholarly communication (primarily in the history of archives and radio as a medium for history scholarship).

In 2015-16 I taught courses on Early Modern European, Environmental, Rural, and Spatial History at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. During the 2014-15, I was a Lecturer in a freshman residential program with a history of science, technology, and medicine theme (Science in the Making Integrated Learning Environment, SIMILE, directed by Paula Findlen). In research-intensive composition courses, I helped students analyze how and why people in the past wrote about math, science or technology and, in turn, how they could develop as writers exploring the history of science. I was affiliated with the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford. From June 2013-September 2014, I worked in the School of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Office at Stanford on projects related to undergraduate and graduate humanities education.

I completed my PhD in History at Stanford in June 2013. There, I was the co-founder (with Lauren Jarvis) of the Stanford History Archival Workshop, which, in addition to practical sessions about how to do archival research, brought together Bay area scholars and archivists to explore the history and the future of archives.