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Thomas Mullaney

Associate Professor of History

Bio
Thomas S. Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History and History of Technology at Stanford University. He is the author of Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China (University of California Press, 2010; Foreword by Benedict Anderson), principal editor of Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China’s Majority (University of California Press, 2012), and most recently the two-volume work, The Chinese Typewriter: A Global History of the Information Age, Part I (MIT Press, Forthcoming 2017) and The Chinese Computer: A Global History of the Information Age, Part II (MIT Press, Forthcoming 2022). This work charts out China’s development of a modern, nonalphabetic information infrastructure in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and is the recipient of both the 2013 Usher Prize and a three-year National Science Foundation fellowship.

At present, he is working on three new projects: a monograph on the global history of non-Latin typography and type design in the 19th through 21st centuries (see “Hot Metal Empire” below), a monograph sequel to his history of China’s ethnic classification project, and a born-digital volume on grave relocation in modern and contemporary China (currently under review at Stanford University Press).

He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Dissertation Reviews, which publishes 500 reviews annually of recently defended dissertations in 30 different fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Academic Appointments: 
Associate Professor, History
Administrative Appointments: 
Assistant Professor, Chinese History, Stanford University (2006 - 2012)
Associate Professor, Chinese History, Stanford University (2012 - Present)
Honors and Awards: 
Abbot Payson Usher Prize, Society for the History of Technology (2013)
American Historical Association Pacific Branch Award, American Historical Association Pacific Branch (2011)
Annenberg Faculty Fellow, Stanford University (2010-2012)
William H. and Frances Green Faculty Fellow, Stanford University (2010-2011)
Freeman Spogli Institute China Fund, Stanford University (2010)
Hellman Faculty Scholar, Stanford University (2009)
ACLS/Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation A ward, ACLS, American Council of Learning Societies (2008)
Stanford College Dean's Office of Humanities and Sciences Award, Stanford University (2008)
Stanford Center for East Asian Studies Award, Stanford University (2008)
Stanford Humanities Center Award, Stanford University (2008)
Social Science Research Council International Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, Social Science Research Council (2002-2003)
Advanced Oral History Summer Institute, University of California Berkeley (2002)
Japanese Language Training Program for Postgraduate Students, Japan Foundation (2001)
Weatherhead Foundation Fellowship, Columbia University (2000-2006)
Professional Organizations: 
Member, Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University
Member, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University
Member, History of Science Society
Member, American Historical Association
Member, World History Group, Stanford University
Member, Society for the History of Technology
Member, Science, Technology and Society, Stanford University
Member, History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Stanford University
Director, DHAsia | Digital Humanities Asia Project (2015 - Present)
Faculty Fellow and PhD Advisor, Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford University (2015 - Present)
Chair and Judge, Book Prize Committee, John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History, American Historical Association (2014 - Present)
Faculty Fellow, Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), Stanford University (2014 - Present)
Faculty Fellow, Science, Technology and Society, Stanford University (2014 - Present)
Member, Policy Committee, History Department, Stanford University (2012 - Present)
Science Technology and Society (STS) undergraduate advisor, Stanford University (2012 - Present)
Global/World History undergraduate course steering committee member, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
Judge, Book Prize Committee, John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History, American Historical Association (2012 - 2013)
Member, TIG (Transnational International Global) History Graduate Application Review Committee, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
Search Committee member, Academic Technology Specialist (hired Jason Heppler), Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
Search Committee member, Latin American History, (hired Ana Minian), History Department, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
Tenure committee member for Jun Uchida, History Department, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
University Pre-Major Advisor, Stanford University (2012 - 2013)
Member, Association for Asian Studies (2001 - Present)
Education: 
Ph.D., Columbia University, History (2006)
M.A., Johns Hopkins University, Humanities (2000)
B.A., Johns Hopkins University, International Studies & East Asian Studies (1999)
Research & Scholarship
Current Research Interests: 
Thomas S. Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University. He is the author of Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China and principal editor of Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China’s Majority. He received his BA and MA degrees from the Johns Hopkins University, and his PhD from Columbia University under the direction of Madeleine Zelin.

His most recent project, The Chinese Typewriter: A Global History, examines China’s development of a modern, nonalphabetic information infrastructure encompassing telegraphy, typewriting, word processing, and computing. This project has received three major awards and fellowships, including the 2013 Usher Prize, a three-year National Science Foundation fellowship, and a Hellman Faculty Fellowship. The book manuscript is about to be submitted for formal editorial review.

He also directs DHAsia, a new Digital Humanities initiative at Stanford University focused on East, South, Southeast, and Inner/Central Asia. The program is supported by the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA). DHAsia 2016 will center around a series of intellectually intensive 3-day visits by a core group of scholars incorporating three components: (a) a 45-minute talk on their research; (b) a hands-on Digital Humanities clinic for faculty and graduate students (focused on the particular tool/technique/method/platform employed in their work); and (c) a schedule of one-on-one meetings with interested faculty and graduate student researchers.

He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Dissertation Reviews, which publishes more than 500 reviews annually of recently defended dissertations in nearly 30 different fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
Projects: 
Hot Metal Empire: Script, Media, and Colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East
Title: 
Hot Metal Empire: Script, Media, and Colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East
Detail: 

At the turn of the twentieth century, a breakthrough in typesetting transformed the modern media landscape. Hot metal typesetting displaced moveable type, sweeping newspaper plants throughout the United States and Europe - and soon Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. With missionary-like zeal reminiscent of the Propaganda Fide, and a hunger for lucrative new markets, the manufacturing giant Mergenthaler Linotype, and its London-based licensee Linotype and Machinery, carved up the world of script along already lines of empire, colonialism, and the rising power of the United States. Soon, letterform artists and sales representatives in Brooklyn and London found themselves trafficking in Arabic, Armenian, Burmese, Devanagari, Hebrew, Korean, Mongolian, Siamese, and over one hundred others scripts. Hot Metal Empire charts the transformation of media and script in in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Location

Asia/Africa/MiddleEast/Global

Ethnic Potential: The Constitution of Minority Identities in Post-Classification China, Stanford University
Title: 
Ethnic Potential: The Constitution of Minority Identities in Post-Classification China
Detail: 

In China of the 1950s, ethnologists, linguists, and Communist authorities undertook a bureaucratic-cum-social scientific project known as the “Ethnic Classification.” Here it was determined which among China’s hundreds of ethnic minority communities would and would not be officially recognized by the state. Such was the subject of his first book, Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China (UC Press, 2011). What followed after the Classification was an equally if not more complex process which historians have yet to understand, let alone document. Having merged nearly 400 minority communities into just 55 officially recognized categories, the Chinese state would now need to determine (or invent) the “standard” form of each: a standard or “representative” dialect, clothing style, dance-form, folklore, historical narrative, and much more. What ensued was a deeply politicized process in which state authorities, social scientists, and ethnic minority elites struggled to determine the hierarchies that would govern intra-ethnic (as compared to inter-ethnic) relations for which group - a profound challenge when we consider that single “groups” encompassed upwards of dozens of distinct subgroups or “branches.” For those ethnic subgroups whose spoken language and cultural forms were designated as “representative” of the group overall, one could expect to hear it broadcast over radio and television, and encounter one’s cultural practices in print, performance, film, pedagogy, museums exhibits, and more - the primus inter pares. For those whose cultural forms were demarcated as “dialectal” or “variant,” by contrast, their potential fate stood in stark contrast: a marked absence of state investment in their identity forms, and the specter of widespread, local-level cultural extinctions. This book investigates the constitution of minority identities in the post-Classification period.

Location

China

QWERTY is Dead: A History of the Chinese Computer
Title: 
QWERTY is Dead: A History of the Chinese Computer
Detail: 

As the first-ever history of Chinese computing in the 20th and 21st centuries, QWERTY is Dead will explore the circuitous pathways and eccentric personalities of this unknown chapter in the history of global information technology. Drawing upon extensive oral histories, material artifacts, and archives from Asia, Europe, and the United States, the book charts out the pursuit of Chinese computing from its inception in the early Cold War period; its pathway through a network of American academic and military outfits that included MIT, the CIA, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army, the Pentagon, the RAND Corporation, and the Graphics Arts Research Foundation; to its development within a burgeoning network of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese computer scientists from the 1970s onward.

Location

China/Global

Grave Reform in Modern China
Title: 
Grave Reform in Modern China
Detail: 

The Deathscape China project is building and harnessing an interactive spatial and textual analysis platform to examine the phenomenon of grave relocation in modern China, a campaign that has led to the exhumation and reburial of 10 million corpses in the past decade alone, and has transformed China’s graveyards into sites of acute personal, social, political, and economic contestation.

Location

China

Teaching
Courses Taught: 
Academic Year: 
2016-17
Independent Study Courses: 
Advanced Individual Work
STS 299 (Aut, Win, Spr)
Graduate Directed Reading
HISTORY 399W (Aut, Win, Spr, Sum)
Graduate Independent Study
MTL 398 (Win, Spr)
Graduate Research
HISTORY 499X (Win, Spr)
Independent Study
STS 199 (Win)
Reading for Orals
MTL 399 (Win, Spr)
Senior Research (Honors Thesis)
CHINA 198H (Aut, Win, Spr)
Senior Research I
HISTORY 299A (Aut, Win)
Senior Research II
HISTORY 299B (Win, Spr)
Senior Research III
HISTORY 299C (Win, Spr)
Academic Year: 
2015-16
Independent Study Courses: 
Graduate Directed Reading
HISTORY 399W (Aut, Win, Spr, Sum)
Graduate Independent Study
MTL 398 (Win, Spr)
Graduate Research
HISTORY 499X (Win, Spr)
Honors Research
CHINLIT 189A (Aut, Win, Spr)
Independent Study
STS 199 (Win)
Reading for Orals
MTL 399 (Win, Spr)
Senior Research I
HISTORY 299A (Aut, Win)
Senior Research II
HISTORY 299B (Win)
Senior Research III
HISTORY 299C (Win, Spr)
Academic Year: 
2014-15
Independent Study Courses: 
Graduate Directed Reading
HISTORY 399W (Aut, Win, Spr, Sum)
Graduate Independent Study
MTL 398 (Win, Spr)
Graduate Research
HISTORY 499X (Win, Spr)
Honors Research
CHINLIT 189A (Spr)
Reading for Orals
MTL 399 (Win, Spr)
Senior Research I
HISTORY 299A (Aut, Win)
Senior Research II
HISTORY 299B (Win)
Senior Research III
HISTORY 299C (Win, Spr)
Advisees: 
Publications
The Moveable Typewriter How Chinese Typists Developed Predictive Text during the Height of Maoism TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE Mullaney, T. S. 2012; 53 (4): 777-814
Critical Han Studies: Introduction and Prolegomenon In Critical Han Studies: The History. Representation and Identity of China's Majority Mullaney, T. S. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2012
Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China's Majority edited by Mullaney, T. S., Leibold, J., Gros, S., Bussche, E. V. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2012
Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China Anderson, B. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2011
Dissertation Reviews: An Introduction China Heritage Quarterly Mullaney, T. S. 2011
The People's Republic of Predictive Text: How Chinese Typists in the Communist Period Anticipated the Computer Age Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting Mullaney, T. S. 2011
Ten Characters per Minute': The Discourse of the Chinese Typewriter and the Persistence of Orientalist Thought Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting Mullaney, T. S. 2010
Seeing for the State: The Role of Social Scientists in China's Ethnic Classification Project Asian Ethnicity Mullaney, T. S. 2010; 11 (3): 325-342
The People's Peking Man Journal of Asian Studies Schmalzer, S. 2010; 69 (2)
The Final Rite of Passage: Submitting and Defending the Dissertation From Concept to Completion: A Dissertation-Writing Guide for History Students Mullaney, T. S. American Historical Association. 2009
Introducing Critical Han Studies China Heritage Quarterly Mullaney, T. S. 2009
State and Ethnicity in China's Southwest China Information Guo, X. 2009; 23 (2)
The Typing Rebellion: Toward a Global History of the Chinese Typewriter History of Science Society, 2009 Annual Meeting Mullaney, T. S. 2009
Han, Non-Han, and Non: Notions of Majority, Minority, and Miscellany in the Study of Southwestern China Critical Han Studies Conference and Workshop Mullaney, T. S. 2008
One Time Fits All: The Campaigns for Global Uniformity Science Magazine Bartky, I. R. 2008
A Cultural History of Modern Science in China Science Magazine Elman, B. A. 2007
On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550-1900 Eighteenth Century Studies Elman, B. A. 2007; 40 (3)
55 + 1 = 1, or, the Strange Calculus of Chinese Nationhood China Information Mullaney, T. S. 2004; 18 (2): 197-205
Ethnic Classification Writ Large: The 1954 Yunnan Province Ethnic Classification Project and its Foundations in Republican-Era Taxonomic Thought China Information Mullaney, T. S. 2004; 18 (2): 207-241
Social Engineering and the Social Sciences in China, 1919-1949 China Information Chiang, Y. 2002; 16 (1)
Same Bed, Different Dreams: Managing U.S.-China Relations, 1989-2000 Stanford Magazine Lampton, D. M. 2002