Paul Barrett | College of Arts

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett
Associate Professor
School of English and Theatre Studies

Specializations: Canadian literature, digital humanities

My research is situated at the intersection of Canadian literature, multiculturalism, and digital humanities. I am the author of Blackening Canada: Diaspora, Race, Multiculturalism (Toronto),  the editor of 'Membering Austin Clarke (Wilfrid Laurier), and the co-editor of Future Horizons: Digital Humanities in Canada (Ottawa). Recent publications include "Fantasies of Recognition" in Topia and "Austin Clarke's Digital Crossings" in The Digital Black Atlantic. In the Fall of 2022 I hosted the Where From Here Canadian literature conference at the University of Guelph.


My academic life began in Computer Science, gradually shifted into literary study, and I’ve now found a balance between the two in my work in digital humanities. Broadly speaking, digital humanities is about using software and computational methods to both ask questions that are traditionally in the domain of the humanities and to expand the kinds of questions we can ask in the humanities. I am interested in both the application of digital techniques of reading and interpretation as well as the way in which new technologies transform how we conceive of the relationship between the humanities and discourses of humanism. For more about my work in digital humanities, check out the Culture & Technology Studies program here at Guelph. 


I am currently working on two books projects. The first, The Routledge Guide to Canadian Literature and Digital Humanities, is a guide to the relationship between Canadian literature and DH. The second, The Map and the Territory: Canadian Literary Humanism attempts to read the humanist underpinnings of Canadian literature from its earliest days to the present.


I am interested in working with and learning from students that are eager to think about Canadian literature and culture, diaspora, race, digital culture, digital humanities, or popular culture. I welcome projects that are interested in exploring cultural contradictions, thinking through the relationship between the public and literary discourses, reading closely and intensely, while also trying novel new methods for engaging in criticism.