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Authors | Mara Mills

Mara Mills is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, where she co-founded and co-directs the Center for Disability Studies. She is a founding editor of the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. She has co-edited a special issue of Grey Room on “Audio/Visual” as well as an anthology (forthcoming from Oxford University Press) on Testing Hearing: The Making of Modern Aurality. She is currently working, with Jonathan Sterne, on the history of audio time stretching technology. More information can be found at her website:

Articles on Amodern by Mara Mills


"Lessons in Queer Voice” looks into the technique of “queer speech” as a cure for stuttering in early twentieth-century speech pathology. This essay provides a brief catalog of miscellaneous queer voices from the time period, as described in singing and speech manuals, as well as in fiction. At a moment when homosexuality was undergoing medicalization, and “queer” was increasingly applied as a pejorative in the realm of sexuality, it turns out that medicine was far from internally consistent: different specialties disagreed about what made a voice queer; within a given specialty, certain impairments were preferable to others, and might even be employed therapeutically; social stigma did not always align with medical discourse.


This article details the contributions of blind readers to the development, design, and marketing of the optophone, a text-to-tone transcription machine introduced in the early twentieth century. We combine archival research with prototyping to investigate the dimensions involved in past coding and decoding practices. If archives provide testimonial fragments about individual use, 2D to 3D translation helps scholars to more broadly characterize optophone reading and understand technical affordances.