Research Grant in History of Communication Technologies

The Mercurians, a Special Interest Group of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), is offering the Pam Laird Research Grant (US$1,000) to defray the cost of travel and housing to use a research collection to pursue research in the history of communication technologies.

The Mercurians began meeting in 1986 for the purpose of generating networks between people who share work and interests in the history of communication technologies, defining the field broadly. Our activities include meeting during annual SHOT conferences, organizing paper sessions for SHOT meetings, and pursuing contacts between meetings via our Google Groups list. The Google Groups list serves both as a clearing house for members and as an informal forum for their ideas.

We have added this new initiative to encourage and reward high-caliber research in the history of communication technologies, broadly defined. One of the Mercurians' missions is to encourage scholarship in the history of communication technologies. There is no research grant program (either within or outside SHOT) that we are aware of dedicated to supporting scholarship on the history of communication technologies. While the history of communication technology literature is vast and always growing, the quality of the research effort or resulting publication too often falls short of scholarly expectations.

In general, the research grant is awarded in alternating years. We awarded two such grants during the 2011 SHOT annual meeting in Cleveland. The winners were Carmen Krol, a PhD candidate in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, and Michael Lemon, a PhD student in Latin American History at Indiana University (Bloomington). Subsequently, The Mercurians announced during the 2013 SHOT meeting in Portland, Maine, that Ian Johnson, a PhD student in the History Department at Ohio State University, had won. This year's winner will be made known during the 2015 SHOT meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this October.


The grant is intended for and limited to junior scholars-meaning either current graduate students or recent postgraduates (no more than three years beyond the terminal degree in their field).

Requirements and Application.

Only travel to an appropriate archival collection to carry out research on an aspect of the history of communication technology, broadly defined, will be supported. The archive can be open to the public, private, or even closed, provided that necessary permissions have been obtained from the archive.

Complete the application form (available at: and e-mail it and a curriculum vitae (no longer than 3 pages) as attachments to the Mercurians c/o Your curriculum vitae should include pertinent publications, fellowships, or accomplishments relevant to your proposed research, and professional societies and affiliations.

The deadline for submitting an application for the grant is June 1, 2015.

For further information or questions, please contact Andrew Butrica at or visit our website:

Andrew J. Butrica
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