Department of Media, Culture, and Communication


Mara Mills

Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication

Mara Mills

Office Hours: On leave, 2013-2014

Mara Mills works at the intersection of disability studies and media studies. Her research and teaching interests include communication history (especially related to telephones and reading practices), science and technology studies, disability theory, and mobile media studies. She is completing a book (On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering) on the significance of phonetics and deaf education 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. 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.

Mills is on the steering committee of the Science and Society Minor and is co-chair of the NYU Council for the Study of Disability. More information can be found at her website.

Image credit: Claudia Peppel, ICI Berlin 2013 

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. Harvard University
    History of Science
  • M.A. Harvard University
  • M.A. University of California, Santa Cruz
  • B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz
  • B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz

Selected Fellowships and Awards

  • 2014: NSF Scholars Award (Science, Technology, and Society; Cyber-Human Systems)
  • 2013: The Walter Benjamin Award for Outstanding Article in Media Ecology (for "Hearing Aids and the History of Electronics Miniaturization")
  • 2013: DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Research Visit Grant / Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • 2012: Maurice Daumas Article Prize, International Committee for the History of Technology (for "On Disability and Cybernetics")
  • 2012: Outstanding Faculty Award, NYU Steinhardt Undergraduate Student Government
  • 2011: Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar, Media@McGill
  • 2010: Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies
  • 2010: ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship (with Cyrus Mody and Patrick McCray)
  • 2010: "Critical Disability Studies" Residential Research Fellowship, University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI)
  • 2009: Schachterle Essay Prize, Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (for "Deaf Jam")
  • 2008: Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2007: IEEE Life Members' Fellowship in Electrical History
  • 2006: Lemelson Fellowship, Smithsonian National Museum of American History
  • 2006: Melvin Kranzberg Dissertation Fellowship, Society for the History of Technology
  • 2003: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship


  • Disability, Technology, and Media (undergrad)
  • On the Phone: Telephone and Mobile Communication Technology (undergrad)
  • History of Media and Communication (undergrad)
  • Introduction to Communication Research (doctoral methods)
  • Science and Technology Studies (STS) (grad)