Uluğ Kuzuoğlu

Uluğ Kuzuoğlu

Assistant Professor of History
PhD, Columbia University
MA, Bogazici University
BA, Bogazici University

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

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.

Apart from his humanistic inquiries into information technologies, Kuzuoğlu also uses information technologies to inquire into the humanities. He is especially drawn to the emergent world of virtual and augmented reality. As a proficient user of Unity and C#, he is broadly interested in combining AR/VR with historical knowledge, such as 3D reconstructions, mobile apps, virtual museums, and historical games. He is currently developing a mobile app called “Asia in St. Louis,” which will offer St. Louisans a medium to interact with the Asian and Asian American past of the city, from its unsolved murders to forgotten architectures.

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, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Information & Culture, and Cryptologia. He is currently working on a new project on cybernetic thought and economic reforms in China.

Selected Publications

Works in Progress

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

Peer Reviewed Articles

“Basic Chinese: Cognitive Management, Communication Engineering, and Mass Literacy in China,” Modern Chinese Language and Culture, Spring 2022.

“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)

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

“Literature of History” (Graduate Seminar)