Tom Mullaney “Hot Metal Empire: Script, Media, and Colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East”

Hot Metal Empire: Script, Media, and Colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East

At the turn of the twentieth century, a new breakthrough in typesetting transformed the modern media landscape. The “linotype,” a hot metal typesetting machine designed to displace moveable typesetting, swept through newspaper plants throughout the United States and Europe – and soon through Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Through the examination of linotype and its career in the non-Latin alphabetic world, this study explores the intersection of script, media, and colonialism in the modern period.

Tom Mullaney is Associate Professor of Chinese History at Stanford University, and the author of Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China (Foreword by Benedict Anderson). His current project is “Hot Metal Empire: Script, Media, and Colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East”, a history of linotype and its career in the non-Latin alphabetic world. He is also completing a two-volume history China’s development of a nonalphabetic information infrastructure encompassing telegraphy, typewriting, and computing. The Chinese project is the recipient of the 2013 Usher Prize and a three-year National Science Foundation fellowship.


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