Thomas S. Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University, and Curator of the international exhibition, Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age.
He is the author of The Chinese Typewriter: A History (MIT Press 2017), Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China (UC Press, 2010), and principal editor of Critical Han Studies: The History, Representation and Identity of China’s Majority (UC Press, 2011). His writings have appeared in the Journal of Asian Studies, Technology & Culture, Aeon, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, and his work has been featured in the LA Times, The Atlantic, the BBC, and in invited lectures at Google, Microsoft, Adobe, and more. He holds a PhD from Columbia University.
His new book, The Chinese Typewriter, 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.
He directs Digital Humanities Asia (DHAsia), a program at Stanford University focused on East, South, Southeast, and Inner/Central Asia. DHAsia was recently the recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar fellowship.
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.
Secondary Advisees: Wesley Chaney (Bates College) | Annelise Heinz (University of Texas, Dallas) | Jennifer Hsieh (Anthropology) | Stephan Risi (History) | Tomo Sugimoto (Anthropology) | Yanshuo Zhang (East Asian Languages and Cultures) | Yvon Wang (University of Toronto)
Gina Anne Tam's dissertation seeks to understand how the social and cultural meaning of dialect (fangyan) changed in China over the course of the twentieth century. Beginning with missionary phoneticization projects in the mid-to-late-nineteenth century and ends with the "save the dialect" movement of the post-Mao period, this project will highlight the ways in which innovation in academic research, state-building projects, and cultural upheaval shaped the ways in which the Chinese understood and interacted with their own spoken languages. This narrative will also, through the changing relationship of regional speech and the increasingly hegemonic national language, illuminate the changing relationship between local and national identity over the course of the modern period. Gina has been the recipient of the Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship (2013-2014) and the Blakemore Foundation Fellowship for Advanced Asian Language Studies, among other prestigious awards.
Andrew Elmore's dissertation research traces the fragmented history of modern Chinese masculinity from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century. In particular, it examines a spectrum of masculinities over time, in different locales, to shed light on the heterogeneity of the masculine as a category. Drawing on archival sources from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, as well as textbooks, muscle magazines, propaganda posters, and literature, his work examines how individuals and institutions attempted to put changing forms of masculinity at the center of modern Chinese history.
Koji Hirata (co-advised with Jun Uchida)
Koji Hirata’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Steel Metropolis: Planned Economy, Urban Space, and Political Culture in Northeast China, 1909-1997,” examines the origins, operations, and legacies of Soviet-style planned economy in China. Focusing on northeast China, and drawing upon archival sources in Chinese, Japanese, and Russian, the project examines the transformation of one of the country’s largest state-owned enterprises and its hometown from the Japanese colonial rule through the Post-Mao economic reform. By doing so, this dissertation reconsiders three issues: the development of Chinese planned economy, the formation of a new urban space designed for the purpose of economic growth, and the mobilization of the Chinese people to economic ends.
Ben Allen (co-advised with Andrea Lunsford)
Ben Allen, a recent PhD in Stanford’s interdisciplinary Modern Thought and Literature program, completed his dissertation, titled “Between Text and Machine,” on the relationship between computer programming languages and natural language. Drawing on a diverse set of materials, ranging from meeting minutes related to the development of the earliest programming lan guages to contemporary “code art” and science fiction, Ben aims to show how and why we came to understand computers as things to be programmed in formal languages derived from English, and how this connection between programming and English shapes our understanding of what digital media are and can be. This dissertation sheds light on questions about how scholars in the humanities can fruitfully “read” code, and indicates ways that digital media artists and contemporary programming language designers can productively trouble this connection between (a particular) natural language and computation itself.
Michelle Mengsu Chang (co-advised with Edith Sheffer)
Michelle Chang is a second-year PhD student in the field of Transnational, International and Global History. Her research interest revolves around urban history in 20th-century China, the Soviet Union, and Germany. In particular, she is interested in examining the intersection between mass ideology and urban landscape and culture, and also in regarding the 20th century within the focused space of cities such as Berlin, Moscow, and Beijing. Before coming to Stanford, Michelle received her BA from UC Berkeley and her MA from Yale University, where her master's thesis examined how Nanjing's unique urban character in the 1930s played a crucial role in determining how the Nanjing Massacre would be commemorated in public history in the post-war era.
Riley Brett-Roche's undergraduate and graduate work prior to Stanford centered around Sino-Indian and Sino-Tibetan relations in the modern and late imperial periods. Based on Chinese and Tibetan sources, her masters thesis evaluated failed Qing attempts to reform the Tibetan administration during the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong reigns. During her time studying Tibetan in Nepal, she explored the monastic library and began to critically consider the creation, organization, and development of archives. Her current research considers the history of the paper archive’s conservation, organization, and accessibility in the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China, and in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.