I was born in Miami, Florida, and I escaped as soon as I legally could. My first stop was Vassar College in upstate New York, where I earned my B.A. with honors in religion and women’s studies. After a brief stint at an evil international insurance company on Wall St., I began my graduate studies at Rutgers University. There I studied under Alastair Bellany and Christopher Brown, ultimately earning my PhD in history in 2010. My dissertation examines trans-Atlantic religious debates over the future resettlement of the Church of England during the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century.
In the fall of 2011, I moved to Virginia to take up a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington and Lee University. I was fortunate that my fellowship overlapped with the beginnings of what has become DH @ W&L, which allowed me to not only talk to some really cool people about digital humanities, but also be part of a program at its beginning. After my fellowship ended, I moved to Boston where I joined the fantastic team at HyperStudio, the digital humanities lab at M.I.T.. From HyperStudio, I moved out to Iowa, to become the first Associate Director of Academic Technology at Grinnell College where I formed and managed the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative. After two years at Grinnell, I moved back east to join Wesleyan University in the summer of 2017 as their Director of Academic Technology.
My approach to digital humanities is very strongly influenced by the emphasis on ethical collaboration forwarded by the #transformdh movement, and I embrace a critical digital humanities approach in theory and method. When possible (which is increasingly not happening), I try to spend some time on my historical research, which focuses on the intersections of popular politics and religion with the history of the book in early modern Atlantic context. I am currently at work on an analysis of stationers in 1640s London, using digital methods to uncover and track networks of faith, politics, and commercial interests. It involves a lot of spreadsheets, which I love.
Outside of my professional life, I spend an ungodly amount of time consuming as much media as I can. I tweet fairly regularly about digital humanities and popular culture at @rachelschnepper.