Photo of Shawn Graham

Shawn Graham

Digital Historian


Shawn Graham was born and raised in the Ottawa Valley, but a love of the places and spaces of history led him overseas to the United Kingdom and Italy to study archaeology and humanity’s deep past.

Graham graduated with a PhD from the School of Human and Environmental Sciences at the University of Reading in 2002.

Since then, he has worked as a heritage consultant, a teacher and an entrepreneur. His passion for archaeology ultimately led him to a post-doctoral position at the University of Manitoba in the Department of Classics. After that, he spent a few years teaching in online education which eventually led him to join Carleton’s Department of History in July 2010 as an assistant professor.

“I won the lottery when I got to work at Carleton,” he says. “The support of my colleagues, their excellence in teaching and care for their students, their deep skill and expertise as historians, inspire me every day; I’m better at what I do because I get to work here.”

His work has been part of the rapidly developing field of digital humanities. His research blog is a forum to work out the problems, perils and potential of new methods. He recently co-wrote a textbook on digital history methods for undergraduates – The Macroscope – with Ian Milligan and Scott Weingart. The authors posted portions of the book online as they wrote it, inviting public comments and peer review into the writing process. As a result, the book started appearing on syllabi in digital history before it was even completed.

As he tells his students: “Open access is more than putting data online: it is a transformation in your relationship with power, authority and how you do history.”