Meet Our Postdoctoral Fellows! Katie Mackinnon

Aug 8, 2022

Katie Mackinnon, Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Data for 2022-24

This past year, we’ve welcomed new staff members, supported undergraduate and graduate fellows, increased our leadership team, and set up community networks across the tri-campus. So, with the exciting addition of three new postdoctoral fellows this summer, we wanted to get to know a little more about them as we head into the fall term — and we thought you might, too! We sat down for a quick chat with Katie Mackinnon, Rachel Corbman, and Khanh Vo. Learn about their research, what’s on their shelf these days, and more.

Katie Mackinnon

CDHI: Can you tell us a bit about your research?

Katie Mackinnon: My research looks at early uses and experiences of young people in the late 1990s-early 2000s who were “growing up online”. To do this, I take a patchwork approach that draws from web archives, oral interviews, policy and news media. I also write about ethical approaches to historical and web archival research and youth data, as well as social, infrastructural and policy issues of the web.

CDHI: What drew you to this work?

KM: I’ve always been interested in the internet, having spent a lot of time there myself while growing up. I was originally interested in researching youth culture histories but the opportunity to study web-born materials sparked something in me during my MA at UWaterloo and I ran with it.

CDHI: What are you going to be doing this year at CDHI?

KM: This year at CDHI, I am leading the Graduate Fellows Community of Practice and the Emerging Scholar Showcase. I will also be contributing to DH communications and assisting the Infrastructure working group as CDHI representative. As a CLIR fellow, I will also be attending DH events and workshops. 

CDHI: Can you tell us about any courses you’ll be teaching?

KM: In Winter 2023, I am teaching a 4th year seminar course called Critical Internet History, Memories & Art in Society (MDSD02H3) at UTSC.  

CDHI: What’s on your writing playlist?

KM: I love listening to live music and will often have full sets playing on YouTube in the background while I write. Years ago I became obsessed with YouTube channels like la blogothèque Take Away Shows, the Boiler Room, KEXP and NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, but also like to play sessions from the Newport Folk Festival documentary.

CDHI: What are you reading at the moment?

KM: For research, I’ve really been enjoying: Sarah Sharma and Rianka Singh’s Re-Understanding Media; Stefanie Duguay’s Personal but not Private; and Kevin Driscoll’s The Modem World. For pleasure, I’ve just finished Yōko Ogawa’s The Memory Police and Elena Ferrante’s In the Margins. Over the weekend I picked up Alexandra Kleeman’s Something New Under the Sun and am enjoying that!

Katie Mackinnon is completing her PhD in the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on histories of the web, including early uses and experiences of young people in the late 1990s. She interrogates ethical approaches to web archival research and youth data, and examines social, infrastructural, and policy issues of the web.

Want to learn more about her work? Her article “Critical care for the early web: ethical digital methods for archived youth data,” was published this past year in the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society. “The death of GeoCities: seeking destruction and platform eulogies in web archives,” was published in Internet Histories.

You can visit Katie’s website or follow her on Twitter at @ktcmackinnon.

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