Mara Mills is an Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, working at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. She is currently completing a book (On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering) on the significance of deafness and hardness of hearing to the emergence of “communication engineering” in early twentieth-century telephony; this concept and set of practices later gave rise to information theory, digital coding, and cybernetics. Articles from this project can be found in Social Text, differences, the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, and The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies. Her second book project, Print Disability and New Reading Formats, examines the reformatting of print over the course of the past century by blind and other print disabled readers, with a focus on Talking Books and electronic reading machines. With John Tresch, Mills is the co-editor of a recent issue of Grey Room on the “audiovisual.”
Mills received B.A. degrees in Biology and Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, followed by an M.A. in Biology and Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the DAAD, and the IEEE. In 2011, she was the Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar at Media@McGill.
Boston Globe: The phone and the voice are once again an item (includes mention of the CAST Symposium)
Figure/Ground Communications: Interview with Mara Mills
Oxford University Press: The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies
Differences: On Disability and Cybernetics: Helen Keller, Norbert Wiener, and the Hearing Glove
Art-DOK: The Audiovisual Telephone: A Brief History