Uluğ Kuzuoğlu

Assistant Professor of History
PhD, Columbia University
MA, Bogazici University
BA, Bogazici University
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    contact info:

    office hours:

    • By appointment (see e-mail address above)

    mailing address:

    • MSC 1062-107-114
    • Washington University
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Professor Kuzuoğlu works and teaches on modern Chinese and global history. He is particularly interested in the history of non-Western information and communication technologies––from printing devices to artificial intelligence––as they relate to social and political imaginations.

    Uluğ Kuzuoğlu’s book, Codes of Modernity: Chinese Scripts in the Global Information Age (under contract with Columbia UP), explores the history of Chinese script reforms––the effort to alphabetize and/or simplify the script–– from the 1890s to the 1980s. In contrast to earlier scholarship that explored the subject as an outcome of Chinese language reforms, Codes of Modernity situates the century of script innovation within an emergent information age, precipitated by the rise of telegraphic networks, printing technologies, and bureaucratic exigencies for information management. Tracing the links between Chinese intellectuals, American behavioral scientists, Soviet psycho-technicians, and Central Asian revolutionaries, his work demonstrates how Chinese scripts crystallized at the ideological and technological crossroads of information politics.

    Kuzuoğlu’s publications have appeared in edited volumes and scholarly journals, such as Journal of Asian Studies, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture (MCLC), Twentieth-Century China, and International Journal of Middle East Studies, among others. He is currently working on a new book project on the history of 3D technologies, artificial intelligence, and pseudoscience in the Sinosphere.

    Apart from his humanistic inquiries into information technologies, Kuzuoğlu also uses information technologies to inquire into the humanities. In 2022, with support from A&S, he built a prototype for “Asia in St. Louis,” a mobile app for exploring the Asian and Asian American history of St. Louis. Working with WashU as well as non-WashU librarians and community leaders, he seeks to expand the project as a public-facing DH endeavor. In addition, he is especially drawn to the emergent world of virtual and augmented reality as one of the faculty leads for the Immersive Technology Collective, a multi-year research and teaching project that explores the intersections between immersive technologies and the humanities. In his free time, if he has any, he tinkers with Unity, C#, and Blender.

    Selected Publications

    Codes of Modernity: Chinese Scripts in the Global Information Age (Columbia University Press, 2023)

    “Basic Chinese: Cognitive Management, Communication Engineering, and Mass Literacy in China,” Modern Chinese Language and Culture 34/1 (2022), 1-31.

    “The Chinese Latin Alphabet: A Revolutionary Script in the Global Information Age,” Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 81, no. 1 (2022), 23–42.

    “Indexing Systems,” in Literary Information in China: A History, edited by Jack Chen, Anatoly Detwyler, Xiao Liu, Christopher Nugent, and Bruce Rusk (Columbia UP, 2021)

    “Capital, Empire, Letter: Romanization in Late Qing China,” Twentieth-Century China, vol. 46, no. 3 (2021), 223–246.

    “Telegraphy, Typography, and the Alphabet: The Origins of the Alphabet Revolutions in the Russo-Ottoman Space,” International Journal of Middle East Studies , vol. 52, issue 3 (2020), 413-431.

    “Codebooks for the Mind: Dictionary Index Reforms in Republican China, 1912-1937,” Information & Culture, vol. 53, no. 3/4 (2018):  337-366.

    “Chinese Cryptography: The Chinese Nationalist Party and Intelligence Management, 1927-1949,” Cryptologia, vol. 42, no. 6 (2018):  514-539.


    A History of Modern China (1800–2000)” (Undergraduate Lecture)

    “A History of Information” (Undergraduate Seminar)

    “Cyborgs in History: From Cybernetics to Artificial Intelligence” (Undergraduate Seminar)

    “Technology, Empire, and Science in China” (Undergraduate Seminar)

    “Asia in St. Louis” (Undergraduate Methodology and Research Seminar)

    “Mao and the World” (Undergraduate Seminar)

    "Artificial Intelligence:  The Mind and the Machine" (Undergraduate Seminar)

    "Digital Frontiers of History" (Advanced Seminar)

    "Science and Technology in East Asia” (Graduate Seminar)

    “Literature of History” (Graduate Seminar)