Mara Mills is Associate Professor and Ph.D. Director in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is founding codirector of the NYU Center for Disability Studies; a founding editor of the award-winning journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience; and a founding member of the steering committees for the NYU cross-school minors in Science and Society and Disability Studies.

Trained in Biology (BA, MA), Literature (BA), Education (MA), and History of Science (PhD), Mills is an interdisciplinary scholar and teacher in the fields of disability studies, Science and Technology Studies, and sound studies. Her work on “disability and media” spans disability arts and technoscience, with a focus on the history, politics, and cultures of electronics and digital media. The author or coauthor of over 80 articles, chapters, and reviews, her work has received the IEEE History Prize (Society for the History of Technology), the Walter Benjamin Award (Media Ecology Association), and the Irving Zola Award (Society for Disability Studies), among other honors. Her writing has been translated into German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the DAAD, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the IEEE, among other organizations. At the intersection of STS and disability studies, she is currently working on the histories of information theory and optical character recognition, and (with Michele Friedner) an edited collection of historical and ethnographic essays titled “The Global Cochlear Implant: Provincializing ‘Brain Implants’ through Disability Technocultures.” With Jonathan Sterne, she is writing a book on the history, aesthetics, and politics of time stretching technology. Through the Center for Disability Studies, she also coordinates many public humanities, disability arts, community-based, and collaborative projects.

With Rebecca Sanchez, she recently edited Crip Authorship: Disability as Method (NYU Press, 2023). With Harris Kornstein, Faye Ginsburg, and Rayna Rapp she is directing an NSF-funded project on Covid-19 and disability communities in New York, to result in an edited volume titled How to be Disabled in a Pandemic (NYU Press, forthcoming 2025). With Alexandra Hui and Viktoria Tkaczyk, she edited Testing Hearing: The Making of Modern Aurality (Oxford UP, 2020), and with Rebecca Sanchez she previously released a new edition of And No Birds SingPauline Leader’s memoir about life as a deaf working-class runaway among the bohemians of Greenwich Village in the 1920s (Gallaudet University Press 2016, reviewed on H-Disability).

Mills has also coedited a special issue of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience on “Crip Technoscience” (with Kelly Fritsch, Aimi Hamraie, and David Serlin) and a special issue of Osiris on “Disability and the History of Science” (with Jaipreet Virdi and Sarah F. Rose). With John Tresch, she edited a special issue of Grey Room on “Audio/Visual.” She has been a member of the cross-disciplinary research teams that produced the white papers Disability, Bias, and AI and Reassessing What Matters in Experiences with Cochlear Implants. Her academic articles have been published in Technology & CultureIEEE Annals of the History of ComputingGrey RoomdifferencesSocial Text, Film Quarterly, and PMLA, among many other journals.

Her public arts and humanities writing can be found at sites like Triple CanopyArtforum, Somatosphere, BombPublic Books, and AVIDLY—a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books. She has also been interviewed for popular venues such as The New York Times, The History Channel, 99% Invisible, TechCrunch, GizmodoTrailblazers with Walter Isaacson podcast, The AtlanticThe Boston GlobeThe Chronicle of Higher EducationPloughshares blog, and Red Bull Music Academy Daily.

Mills has served on the executive council (2016-2018) of the Society for the History of Technology and has been the Beaverbrook Visiting Scholar at Media@McGill. She is currently a Research Fellow with the Charles Babbage Institute. At NYU, she teaches courses on STS, the history of technology, and disability studies. For the past 15 years she has taught a popular undergraduate course, “Disability, Technology, and Media,” combining disability theory with training in media accessibility; it has become a model for many similar classes around the world. She has received numerous teaching awards at NYU, including the University Distinguished Teaching Award.

See also her NYU MCC faculty page.

Mara Mills is sitting in a chair in a green room at the Museum of Arts and Design, facing left toward two seated men with whom she is having a conversation. Illegible text is screened on a wall behind one of the men.

Mills (right) at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, March 2014