We congratulate Thomas S. Mullaney, associate professor of history at Stanford University and Columbia alumnus (M.A. 2004, Ph.D. 2006), whose Study of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute The Chinese Typewriter: A History was awarded the 2018 Lewis Mumford Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Technics from the Media Ecology Association (MEA).
The book, published in 2017 by The MIT Press, is about the the encounters between the Chinese written language and media based on the Latin alphabet — in particular thousands of Chinese characters versus the typewriter and its QWERTY keyboard. Mullaney describes a fascinating series of experiments, prototypes, failures, and successes in the century-long quest for a workable Chinese typewriter.
The Lewis Mumford Award is given to the best books and articles that focus on the history and/or philosophy of technology or science; studies of specific technologies, techniques, or media, and/or their social, cultural, and psychological effects; analysis and criticism of the technological/information society.