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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

Bookshelf

Recent Faculty Books and Productions


The research of this School appears principally in the form of books, and music and theater productions. These gems of the School provide new knowledge and analysis, innovation and insight, guidance for policy, and nourishment for lives.  

Take a look!

Ellen T. Harris
George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends
W W Norton & Co., 2014
 

During his lifetime, the sounds of Handel’s music reached from court to theater, echoed in cathedrals, and filled crowded taverns. But the man himself—known to most as the composer of Messiah—is a bit of a mystery. Though he took meticulous care of his musical manuscripts and provided for their preservation in his will, very little of an intimate nature survives.

In search of the private man behind the public persona, Ellen T. Harris has tracked down the letters, diaries, financial accounts, court cases, and other documents connected with the composer’s closest friends. The result is a tightly woven tapestry of London life in the first half of the eighteenth century, one that weaves together vibrant descriptions of Handel’s music with stories of loyalty, cunning, and betrayal. With this wholly new approach, Harris introduces us to an ambitious, shrewd, generous, brilliant, and flawed man.

Ellen Harris is Class of 1949 Professor Emeritus in the Music and Theater Arts Section.

Paul Raeborn
Do Fathers Matter?
What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We've Overlooked

Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014
 

Many of the findings of this new science of fatherhood have appeared in scholarly journals unfamiliar to the public. Do Fathers Matter pulls together research to show what fathers do, and to help fathers—and their families—understand how fathers can be better at what they do. 

Paul Raeborn is the Chief media critic of the Knight Science Journalism Tracker.

Keeril Makan
Afterglow
Mode Records, 2013
 

Afterglow is the outcome of hours spent listening to the harmonic resonance of specific notes and chords, and to the durations of the resonances. The simplicity of the materials beguiles the listener into hearing beyond the immediate gesture to become aware of its “afterglow,” the sympathetic vibrations of the unplayed strings within the piano.

Keeril Makan is Associate Professor of Music.

The Triumph of Human Empire

Rosalind Williams
The Triumph of Human Empire
University of Chicago Press, 2013
 

What is the human empire?  
Rosalind Williams explores the overarching historical event of our time: the rise and triumph of human empire, the apotheosis of the modern ambition to increase knowledge and power in order to achieve world domination. Confronting an intensely humanized world was a singular event of consciousness; Williams shows how Verne, Morris, and Stevenson experimented expressed a growing awareness of the need for a new relationship between humans and Earth.

3 Questions: Interview with Rosalind Williams

The Economist names The Triumph of Human Empire one of the best books of 2013

Rosalind Williams is Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology in the Program of Science, Technology, and Society.

Barry R. Posen
Restraint, A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy
Cornell University Press, 2014
 

The United States, Barry R. Posen argues in Restraint, has grown incapable of moderating its ambitions in international politics. Since the collapse of Soviet power, it has pursued a grand strategy that he calls “liberal hegemony,” one that Posen sees as unnecessary, counterproductive, costly, and wasteful. Written for policymakers and observers alike, Restraint explains precisely why this grand strategy works poorly and then provides a carefully designed alternative grand strategy and an associated military strategy and force structure. In contrast to the failures and unexpected problems that have stemmed from America’s consistent overreaching, Posen makes an urgent argument for restraint in the future use of U.S. military strength.

Barry R. Posen is Ford International Professor of Political Science 

 

D. Fox Harrell
Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression
MIT Press, 2013

In Phantasmal Media, D. Fox Harrell considers the expressive power of computational media. He argues, persuasively, that the great expressive potential of computational media comes from the ability to construct and reveal "phantasms" — his word for blends of cultural ideas and sensory imagination, which include sense of self, metaphors, social categories, narrative, and poetic thinking.  

Story at MIT News  |  MIT Press Blog

D. Fox Harrell is Associate Professor of Digital Media 

 

Vipin Narang
Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era: Regional Powers and International Conflict
Princeton University Press, 2014
 

The world is in a second nuclear age in which regional powers play an increasingly prominent role. These states have small nuclear arsenals, often face multiple active conflicts, and sometimes have weak institutions. How do these nuclear states&mdashand potential future ones&mdashmanage their nuclear forces and influence international conflict? Examining the reasoning and deterrence consequences of regional power nuclear strategies, this book demonstrates that these strategies matter greatly to international stability and it provides new insights into conflict dynamics across important areas of the world such as the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia.

Vipin Narang is Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Nick Montfort
#!
Counterpath, 2014
 

#! (pronounced “shebang”) consists of poetic texts that are presented alongside the short computer programs that generated them. The poems, in new and existing forms, are inquiries into the features that make poetry recognizable as such, into code and computation, into ellipsis, and into the alphabet. Computer-generated poems have been composed by Brion Gysin and Ian Sommerville, Alison Knowles and James Tenney, Hugh Kenner and Joseph P. O’Rourke, Charles O. Hartman, and others. The works in #! engage with this tradition of more than 50 years and with constrained and conceptual writing. The book’s source code is also offered as free software. All of the text-generating code is presented so that it, too, can be read; it is all also made freely available for use in anyone’s future poetic projects.

Nick Montfort is Associate Professor of Digital Media.

Stephen Yablo
Aboutness
Princeton University Press, 2014
 

Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion.

But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anything does. Aboutness is the first book to examine through a philosophical lens the role of subject matter in meaning.

Yablo elected to AAAS

Stephen Yablo is David W Skinner Professor of Philosophy.

Eugenie Brinkema
The Forms of the Affects
Duke University Press, 2014
 

Brinkema develops a novel mode of criticism that locates the forms of particular affects within the specific details of cinematic and textual construction. Through close readings of works by Roland Barthes, Hollis Frampton, Sigmund Freud, Peter Greenaway, Michael Haneke, Alfred Hitchcock, Søren Kierkegaard, and David Lynch, Brinkema shows that deep attention to form, structure, and aesthetics enables a fundamental rethinking of the study of sensation.  

Eugenie Brinkema is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media.

Bruno Perreau
The Politics of Adoption
Gender and the Making of French Citizenship

MIT Press, 2014
 

Obstacles to adoption and parenting equality are present in France—many of them in the form of cultural and political norms reflected and expressed in French adoption policies. In The Politics of Adoption, Bruno Perreau describes the evolution of these policies. In the past thirty years, Perreau explains, political and intellectual life in France have been dominated by debates over how to preserve “Frenchness," and these debates have driven policy making. Adoption policies, he argues, link adoption to citizenship, reflecting and enforcing the postcolonial state’s notions of parenthood, gender, and Frenchness.

Bruno Perreau is Associate Professor of French Studies.

Kathleen Thelen
Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity
Cambridge University Press, 2014
 

This book examines contemporary changes in labor market institutions in the United States, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands, focusing on developments in three arenas - industrial relations, vocational education and training, and labor market policy. While confirming a broad, shared liberalizing trend, it finds that there are in fact distinct varieties of liberalization associated with very different distributive outcomes. Most scholarship equates liberal capitalism with inequality and coordinated capitalism with higher levels of social solidarity. However, this study explains why the institutions of coordinated capitalism and egalitarian capitalism coincided and complemented one another in the "Golden Era" of postwar development in the 1950s and 1960s, and why they no longer do so. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, this study reveals that the successful defense of the institutions traditionally associated with coordinated capitalism has often been a recipe for increased inequality due to declining coverage and dualization. Conversely, it argues that some forms of labor market liberalization are perfectly compatible with continued high levels of social solidarity and indeed may be necessary to sustain it.  

Thelen on Liberalization

Kathleen Thelen is a Professor of Political Science.

 

Loren Graham
Lonely Ideas:
Can Russia Compete?

MIT Press, 2013
 

Sources of Innovation | how society affects science/technology
Russia, despite its epic intellectual achievements in music, literature, art, and pure science, is a negligible presence in world technology. Despite its current leaders’ ambitions to create a knowledge economy, Russia is economically dependent on gas and oil. In Lonely Ideas, Loren Graham investigates Russia’s long history of technological invention followed by difficulties in implementation and taking ideas to market.  

Loren Graham is the Professor of the History of Science in the Program in Science, Technology and Society Emeritus.

Loren Graham
Death at the Lighthouse:
A Grand Island Riddle

Arbutus Press, 2013
 

Mystery on Grand Island
Sometime after after Loren Graham and his wife purchased the Old North Lighthouse on Grand Island near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Graham discovered a yellowing newspaper clipping from the Detroit Free Press from June 15, 1908. It read: Grand Island Lighthouse keeper and his assistant believed to be victims of brutal murder and robbery. What happened to the 1908 lighthouse keeper and his assistant? Graham set out to answer this question. 

Loren Graham is the Professor of the History of Science in the Program in Science, Technology and Society Emeritus.

Fragments and Assemblages: Forming Compilations of Medieval London

Arthur Bahr
Fragments and Assemblages: Forming Compilations of Medieval London
The University of Chicago Press, 2013


Breaking news from the 14th century
While reading online, do you sometimes find yourself going from reading articles on, say, politics to poetry to humor? If so, your experience is rather medieval, says Arthur Bahr, an associate professor of literature at MIT whose first book digs into the eclectic, textually linked reading choices of people in medieval London. Using compilations from fourteenth-century London as case studies, Fragments and Assemblages argues that we can productively bring comparable interpretive strategies to bear on the formal characteristics of both physical manuscripts and literary works. 

Story at SHASS News  |  Story at MIT News

Arthur Bahr is Associate Professor of Literature 

 

Suzanne Berger
wtih the Task Force on Production in the Innovation Society
Making in America
MIT Press, 2013


Achieving an innovation nation
America is the world leader in innovation, but many of the innovative ideas that are hatched in American start-ups, labs, and companies end up going abroad to reach commercial scale. Apple, the superstar of innovation, locates its production in China (yet still reaps most of its profits in the United States). When innovation does not find the capital, skills, and expertise it needs to come to market in the United States, what does it mean for economic growth and job creation? Inspired by the MIT Made in America project of the 1980s, Making in America brings experts from across MIT to focus on a critical problem for the country.  

Story at MIT News | 3Q with Suzanne Berger |  Slice of MIT  

Suzanne Berger is the Dorman-Starbuck Professor of Political Science and together with Institute Professor Phillip Sharp chaired MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE) project. 

Manduhai Buyandelger
Tragic Spirits: Shamanism, Memory, and Gender in Contemporary Mongolia
University of Chicago Press, 2013


The surprising story of Mongolian shamanism
MIT Anthropologist Buyandelger finds that after Soviet domination, a rebirth of shamanism helped Mongolia rewrite its own history.  
Story at MIT News

“Buyandelger explores how people interpret, resist, and accommodate socio-economic transformations, both by reviving traditional cultural practices and by creating new ones.” 
— Professor Susan Silbey, Head, MIT Anthropology

Buyandelger received the 2013 Levitan Prize in the Humanities, a $25,000 research grant that will support her in-depth ethnographic study of parliamentary elections in Mongolia, with specific emphasis on the experience of female candidates. 
Story 


Manduhai Buyandelger is an Associate Professor of Anthropology. 

Ian Condry
The Soul of Anime: Collaborative Creativity and Japan's Media Success Story
Duke University Press, 2013


Why is Japanese anime a global hit? 
“Anime is imbued with a sense of social energy,” Condry says. His new book identifies audience participation and creative collaboration as the soul of anime, the key to its worldwide popularity. 
Story at MIT News

In The Soul of Anime, Ian Condry explores the emergence of anime, Japanese animated film and television, as a global cultural phenomenon. Drawing on ethnographic research, including interviews with artists at some of Tokyo's leading animation studios—such as Madhouse, Gonzo, Aniplex, and Studio Ghibli—Condry discusses how anime's fictional characters and worlds become platforms for collaborative creativity.

Ian Condry is Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies, and head of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section.

Robert Townsend
Chronicles from the Field, The Townsend Thai Project
co-authored with Rob Jordan
MIT Press, 2013

Deep in the field
For 20 years, MIT economist Robert Townsend has explored the links between household finances and economic growth in rural Thailand. His new book, Chronicles from the Field, based on one of the most extensive datasets in the developing world, provides a template for policies that can help alleviate poverty. 
Story at MIT News

Robert Townsend is the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, and director of the Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty.  

Christine J. Walley
Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago
University of Chicago Press, 2013


Understanding the growing inequality in the U.S.
In 1980, Christine Walley’s world was turned upside down when the steel mill in Southeast Chicago where her father worked closed abruptly.  In the ensuing years, thousands of other area residents would also lose their jobs in the mills—one example of the vast deindustrialization occurring across the U.S. The disruption propelled Walley into a career as a cultural anthropologist. In Exit Zero, she brings her anthropological perspective home, examining the human cost of deindustrialization.  

"If you want to understand the expanding class inequality in the United States, one of the places you have to look is the long-term impact of deindustrialization. We have to think historically about how we got into this position and how we can come out of it.”  Walley's new book and accompanying documentary recount the aftermath when steel plants suddenly closed in the American heartland. 

Story+ Video at MIT News

Christine J. Walley is Associate Professor of Anthropology.

Craig Steven Wilder
Ebony and Ivy:
Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities

Bloomsbury Press, 2013

"A groundbreaking history that will contribute to a reappraisal of some deep-rooted founding myths.” — Kirkus 

Illuminating the role of slavery in American universities
A study that is the first of its kind, Ebony and Ivy looks "beyond particular campuses to take a broader look at the role of slavery in the growth of America’s earliest universities," which, Wilder reveals were more than just "innocent or passive beneficiaries" of wealth derived from the slave trade. Wilder "shows that what happened at one institution wasn’t simply incidental or idiosyncratic," said James Wright, a former president of Dartmouth College. “Slavery was deeply embedded in all our institutions, which found ways to explain and rationalize slavery, even after the formation of the American republic.”  — New York Times 

Story at MIT News  | NPR Interview with Craig Wilder

Craig Steven Wilder is Professor of American History at MIT, and the author of A Covenant with Color and In the Company of Black Men.

 

Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842–1943

Emma Teng
Eurasian: Mixed Identities
in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842–1943

University of California Press, 2013
 
Layered inheritances and complex identities
In Eurasian, Emma Jinhua Teng compares Chinese-Western mixed-race families in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, examining both the range of ideas that shaped the formation of Eurasian identities in diverse contexts and the claims set forth by individual Eurasians concerning their own identities. Teng argues that Eurasians were not universally marginalized during this era, as is often asserted. Rather, Eurasians often found themselves facing contradictions between exclusionary and inclusive ideologies of race and nationality, and between overt racism and more subtle forms of prejudice that were counterbalanced by partial acceptance and privilege.  

Story at MIT News 
 
Emma Jinhua Teng is Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Associate Professor of Asian Civilizations, and Associate Professor of Chinese Studies.

The Construction of Logical Space

Agustín Rayo

The Construction of Logical Space
Oxford University Press, 2013


How do we shape our conception of logical space? 

Our conception of logical space is the set of distinctions we use to navigate the world. In The Construction of Logical Space Agustín Rayo defends the idea that one's conception of logical space is shaped by one's acceptance or rejection of 'just is'-statements: statements like "to be composed of water just is to be composed of H2O," or "for the number of the dinosaurs to be zero just is for there to be no dinosaurs."

Website

 
Agustín Rayo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy

Ethan Zuckerman
Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection
W.W Norton & Company, Inc., 2013
 

Are you a digital cosmopolitan?
In his new book, Rewire, and in his research group at MIT, Ethan Zuckerman encourages us to explore, to engage others, and to develop more "cognitive diversity."  Zuckerman explains why the technological ability to communicate with someone does not inevitably lead to increased human connection. At the most basic level, our human tendency to “flock together” means that most of our interactions, online or off, are with a small set of people with whom we have much in common.

Story at MIT News

Ethan Zuckerman is a Principal Research Scientist in the Media Laboratory.

Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America

Ben Ross Schneider
Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America
Cambridge University Press, 2013


A new path for growth

MIT political scientist Ben Ross Schneider sets out an agenda for growth with greater equality in Latin America. Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America argues that Latin America has a distinctive, enduring form of hierarchical capitalism characterized by multinational corporations, diversified business groups, low skills, and segmented labor markets. This book is intended to open a new debate on the nature of capitalism in Latin America and link that discussion to related research on comparative capitalism in other parts of the world.

Story

 
Ben Ross Schneider is Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of the MIT Brazil program.

Vivek Bald
Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian-America
Harvard University Press, 2013


A hidden history revealed

Of his new book, scholar and documentary filmmaker Vivek Balda says, “It began as a story about the South Asian diaspora, but it became clear that it was also a story about African-American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods, and the families, friendships and communities that South Asian Muslims formed there." 
Story at MIT News  | Book website


Vivek Bald is an Assistant Professor of Writing and Digital Media in the Comparative Media Studies / Writing program.

The Great Rent Wars New York, 1917-1929

Robert Fogelson
The Great Rent Wars: New York, 1917-1929
Yale University Press, 2013
 

How did rent control come to exist?
Historian Robert Fogelson’s book tells the story. There was an almost complete cessation of residential construction in New York City during and after WWI. The result was a serious housing shortage and soaring rents. In response, women played a large role in organizing strikes that led to rent-control programs in NYC — and elsewhere in the country. Written by one of the country’s foremost urban historians, The Great Rent Wars explores the heated debates over landlord-tenant law, housing policy, and other issues that are as controversial today as they were a century ago.

Story

 
Robert Fogelson is Professor of Urban Studies and History.

Richard Locke
The Promise and Limits of Private Power:
Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy

Cambridge University Press, 2013
 

Goverments and the private sector must collaborate to create safe factories and just global supply chains
Locke has made hundreds of visits to factories around the world, heading a team of researchers. His conclusion, detailed in The Promise and Limits of Private Power, is that private oversight by multinational firms is not enough to eliminate workplace dangers and inequities.  Governments must uphold better factory standards as well. Protecting workers involved in the global supply chain will require three things: actions by firms themselves; long-standing supply-chain relationships, and government effort.    

Story at MIT News
  | Article at Boston Review

 
Richard M. Locke is the former Class of 1922 Professor of Management and Political Science at MIT. 

Melissa Nobles,
with Jun-Hyeok Kwak
Inherited Responsibility and Historical Reconciliation in East Asia
Routledge Press, 2013

Paths to reconciliation, atonement, and peaceful coexistence

“All societies periodically have to do soul-searching,” says Melissa Nobles, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, and Head of Political Science. In her research, Nobles has developed a deep understanding of how different nations go about the process of self-examination, confront histories of injustice, and attempt to right the wrongs of the past.  

Story and Profile at MIT News

 
Melissa Nobles is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science.

3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan

Richard J. Samuels
3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan
Cornell University Press, 2013


Taking stock after the disaster
After the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns of March 11, 2011 in Japan, many observers expected a wave of political and social change to sweep the island nation. In his new book, 3.11, MIT political scientist Richard Samuels delivers the first full-length scholarly assessment of the disaster's impact on Japan’s government and society. Samuels explores Japan’s post-earthquake actions in three key sectors: national security, energy policy, and local governance.  

Story at MIT News

3.11: Disaster and Change in Japan Website

Richard J. Samuels is Ford International Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for International Studies, and Director of the MIT-Japan Program. 

Sandy Alexandre
The Properties of Violence:
Claims to Ownership in Representations of Lynching

University Press of Mississippi, 2012

Studying the literary record to understand violence
Alexandre studies the literary record to shed light on the history of violence against blacks in the U.S. She explores the multiple meanings of "property," and, through examination of visual and textual narratives, shows how and why the notion of property — in the context of America's history of violence against blacks — needs to extend beyond ownership in land. 

Story at MIT News

Sandy Alexandre is an Associate Professor of Literature. 

Nick Montfort, 
with Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, Mark Sample, and Noah Vawter
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10  
MIT Press, 2012 


The cultural significance of computer code 
This collaboratively written book takes a single line of code — the extremely concise BASIC program for the Commodore 64 inscribed in the title—and uses it as a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture. The authors treat code not as merely functional but as a text — in the case of 10 PRINT, a text that appeared in many different printed sources — that yields a story about its making, its purpose, its assumptions, and more.
Story at SHASS News | Book website


Nick Montfort is Associate Professor for Digital Writing, in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing program. 

 

Fotini Christia
Alliance Formation in Civil Wars
Cambridge University Press, 2012
 

How civil wars evolve
MIT political scientist’s book shows how even the bloodiest conflicts feature pragmatic alliances — not just ancient sectarian divisions. Some of the most brutal and long-lasting civil wars of our time – those in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Lebanon, and Iraq, among others – involve the rapid formation and disintegration of alliances among warring groups, as well as fractionalization within them. Looking closely at the civil wars in Afghanistan and Bosnia and testing against the broader universe of 53 cases of multi-party civil wars, Christia finds that the relative power distribution between and within various warring groups is the primary driving force behind alliance formation, alliance changes, group splits, and internal group takeovers.

Story at MIT News

Fotini Christia is Associate Professor of Political Science.

 

Charles Stewart III,
with Jeffery A. Jenkins
Fighting for the Speakership:
The House and the Rise of Party Government

Princeton University Press, 2012
 

Deep Politics
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful partisan figure in the contemporary U.S. Congress. How this came to be, and how the majority party in the House has made control of the speakership a routine matter, is far from straightforward. Fighting for the Speakership provides a comprehensive history of how Speakers have been elected in the U.S. House since 1789, arguing that the organizational politics of these elections were critical to the construction of mass political parties in America and laid the groundwork for the role they play in setting the agenda of Congress today.
 
Charles Stewart III is the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science.

The Handbook of Organizational Economics

Robert Gibbons
with John Roberts
The Handbook of Organizational Economics
Princeton University Press, 2012

The Handbook of Organizational Economics surveys the major theories, evidence, and methods used in the field. It displays the breadth of topics in organizational economics, including the roles of individuals and groups in organizations, organizational structures and processes, the boundaries of the firm, contracts between and within firms, and more.

Robert Gibbons is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics, and the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management in the Sloan School of Management. 

Paul Osterman
Economy in Society: Essays in Honor of Michael J. Piore
MIT Press, 2012
 
In Economy in Society, five prominent social scientists honor Michael J. Piore in original essays that explore key topics in Piore’s work and make significant independent contributions in their own right. Piore is distinctive for his original research that explores the interaction of social, political, and economic considerations in the labor market and in the economic development of nations and regions. The essays in this volume reflect this rigorous interdisciplinary approach to important social and economic questions.
 
Michael Piore is Professor of Political Science.

Natasha Dow Schüll
Addiction by Design: Gambling in Las Vegas 
Princeton University Press, 2012


Machines designed to keep people "playing to exctinction" 
Drawing on 15 years of field research among slot machine gamblers and the designers of the devices they play, anthropologist Schüll explores the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction. She shows how electronic gambling games are designed to pull players into a trancelike state called the "machine zone" — a state in which the aim is not to win but simply to keep playing. Schüll’s study illuminates the broader social and cultural effects of the intensifying traffic between people and technology in everyday life.

Schull discusses her research on "60 Minutes"

Story at MIT News

The Atlantic names Natasha Dow Schüll's Addiction by Design as a best book read in 2013
Atlantic senior editor Alexis Madgiral writes: "Addiction by Design is one of the foundational artifacts for understanding the digital age." 
More at the Atlantic 

Natasha Dow Schüll is Associate Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. 

 

Nazli Choucri
Cyberpolitics in International Relations
MIT Press, 2012


The new cyberpolitical reality
Until recently, the political impact of cyberspace was thought to be a matter of low politics — background conditions and routine processes and decisions. Now, however, experts have begun to recognize its effect on high politics — national security, core institutions, and critical decision processes. In this book, MIT political scientist Nazli Choucri investigates the implications of this new cyberpolitical reality for international relations theory, policy, and practice.

Story + Video at MIT News 

Nazli Choucri is Professor of Political Science at MIT, Associate Director of MIT’s Technology and Development Program, and Director of GSSD (Global System for Sustainable Development). 

Life of Cheese book cover

Heather Paxson
The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America
University of California, 2012 


Cheese is alive, and alive with meaning 
An anthropological study of American artisanal cheese and the people who make it. Cheese is alive, and alive with meaning. This study tells the story of how craftwork has become a new source of cultural and economic value for producers as well as consumers. By exploring the life of cheese, Paxson helps rethink the politics of food, land, and labor today.

The Life of Cheese website

University of California Press

Video (1 minute): Paxson on artisan cheese

 

This Is How You Lose Her book cover

Junot Díaz
This Is How You Lose Her
Penguin Group, 2012
 

New novel from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Junot Díaz is Rudge (1948) and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at MIT.  

Sally Haslanger
Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique
Oxford University Press, 2012
Winner of the 2014 Joseph B. Gittler Award from the American Philosophical Association

What is "natural" and what is "social"?
"The supposed line between the 'natural' and the 'social' is of crucial importance for theories of justice: the 'natural' is not as fixed as we might think, and the 'social' can be much more fixed than we imagined. Some differences between us must be respected, and others should be overcome —but which are which?"
Interview with Sally Haslanger 

Sally Haslanger is Professor of Philosophy.

Co-Designers book cover

Yanni Loukissas
Co-Designers: Cultures of Computer Simulation in Architecture
Routledge, 2012

Yanni Loukissas is Postdoctoral Associate in Science, Technology, and Society.
 

Why Nations Fail book cover

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson 

Why Nations Fail  
Random House, 2012

Daron Acemoglu is the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Economics

Proposed: that political institutions, above all, determine the wealth of nations
It is among the most significant questions in history: Why do some nations, become wealthy and powerful, while others remain mired in poverty? In an acclaimed, highly readable new book, economists Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson assert that above all else, political institutions — not culture, georgraphy, or natural resources — determine the wealth of nations.  Info, videos, reviews

Alan Lightman
Mr. g
Pantheon, 2012

"With echoes of Calvino and Saramago, Mr. g celebrates the tragic and joyous nature of existence on the grandest possible scale."

Alan Lightman is Adjunct Professor in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, and an active research scientist in astronomy and physics for two decades. Lightman’s earlier novels include Einstein’s Dreams, an international best seller; Good Benito; and The Diagnosis, a finalist for the National Book Award; and Reunion.
Reviews | Interview in The Atlantic

Between Page and Screen book cover

Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse
Between Page and Screen
Siglio Press, 2012

Amaranth Borsuk was Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, WHS, and CMS for 2010-2012.

Handiwork book cover

Amaranth Borsuk
Handiwork
Slope Editions, 2012

Amaranth Borsuk is Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, WHS, and CMS.
 

Evocations album cover

Mark Harvey
Evocations
Leo Records, 2012
Performed by The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

Mark Harvey is Lecturer of Music.
 

On An Irish Island cover

Robert Kanigel
On An Irish Island
Knopf, 2012

Robert Kangiel is Professor of Science Writing.

What we gain, and what we lose, with technological advances 
On an Irish Island
 is a love letter to a vanished way of life, in which Kanigel, the highly praised author of The Man Who Knew Infinity, tells the story of the Great Blasket, a wild, beautiful island off the west coast of Ireland, renowned during the early 20th century for the rich communal life of its residents and the unadulterated Irish they spoke. With the Irish language vanishing elsewhere, the island became a magnet for scholars and writers during the Gaelic renaissance.
 

I Married a Travel Junkie book cover

Samuel Jay Keyser
I Married a Travel Junkie
GemmaMedia Books, 2012

Samuel Jay Keyser is de Florez Professor Emeritus and Special Assistant to the Chancellor.
 

Penser l'adoption. La gouvernance pastorale du genre (Rethinking Adoption. The P

Bruno Perreau
Penser l'adoption. La gouvernance pastorale du genre
(Rethinking Adoption. The Pastoral Governance of Gender)

Presses Universitaires de France, 2012

Bruno Perreau is Assistant Professor of French Studies.
 

 

Mere Possibilities book cover

Robert Stalnaker
Mere Possibilities: Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics
Princeton University Press, 2012
 

Robert Stalnaker is Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy.

Oxford Handbook of the Indian Economy book cover

Robert Townsend
with Xavier Gines, James Vickrey, and Lev Menand
"Micro-insurance: A Case Study of the Indian Rainfall Insurance Market," in The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Economy; Chetan Ghate (ed.)

Robert Townsend is Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2011

 

A Widening Sphere book cover

Philip N. Alexander
A Widening Sphere: Evolving Cultures at MIT  
MIT Press, 2011
 

Philip N. Alexander is Research Associate in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.

Poor Economics book cover

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
Public Affairs, 2011

Abhijit Banerjee is Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics.
Esther Duflo is Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics.

Down New Utrecht Avenue book cover

Edward C. Barrett
Down New Utrecht Avenue
Press Wafer, 2011

Edward Barrett is Senior Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.

The Delegated Welfare State cover

Andrea Louise Campbell and Kimberly J. Morgan
The Delegated Welfare State: Medicare, Markets, and the Governance of Social Policy
Oxford University Press, 2011

Andrea Louise Campbell is Associate Professor of Political Science.
 

Walter Benjamin book cover

Howard Eiland
Editor, Early Writings (1910-1917) Walter Benjamin
Belknap Press, Harvard U.P., 2011
 

Howard Eiland is Lecturer in Literature.

Health Care Reform book cover

Jonathan Gruber
Illustrated by Nathan Schreiber
Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works
Hill and Wang, 2011

Jonathan Gruber is Professor of Economics.

American Anthrax book cover

Jeanne Guillemin
American Anthrax: Fear, Crime, and the
Investigation of the Nation's Deadliest Bioterror Attack 

Macmillan, 2011

Jeanne Guillemin is Research Affiliate in the Center for International Studies.

Alice Bliss book cover

Laura Harrington
Alice Bliss
Penguin, 2011

Laura Harrington is Lecturer of Theater Arts.

Seeking the Infinite book cover

Frederick Harris Jr.
Seeking the Infinite: The Musical Life of Stanisław Skrowaczewski
createspace, 2011

Review in Bruckner Journal

Frederick Harris Jr. is Director of the MIT Wind and Festival Jazz ensembles and Lecturer in Music.


Treasures 5 DVD cover

Mark Harvey
The Golden West
Film Score and Performance
National Film Preservation Foundation, 2011

Mark Harvey is Lecturer in Music. 
 

Trade of the Tricks book cover

Graham M. Jones
Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician's Craft
University of California Press, 2011

Graham M. Jones is Assistant Professor of Anthropology.
 

Book Cover

David Kaiser
How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival
W. W. Norton, 2011

David Kaiser is Professor of Science, Technology, and Society.

Tocqueville and His America book cover

Arthur Kaledin
Tocqueville and His America: A Darker Horizon
Yale University Press, 2011

Arthur Kaledin is Professor of History Emeritus.

 

Keyser book cover

Samuel Jay Keyser
Mens et Mania: The MIT Nobody Knows
The MIT Press, 2011

Samuel Jay Keyser is Professor Emeritus in Linguistics, and continues to serve the Institute as Special Assistant to the Chancellor.

Words to Eat By book cover

Ina Lipkowitz
Words to Eat By: Five Foods and the Culinary History of the English Language
St. Martin's Press, 2011

Ina Lipkowitz is Lecturer in Literature.

Target album cover

Keeril Makan
Target
Starkland, 2011

Keeril Makan is Lister Brothers Career Development Associate Professor of Music.

Treasures 5 book cover

Martin M. Marks
Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938, DVD set
National Film Preservation Foundation, 2011

Martin M. Marks is Senior Lecturer in Music.

Western Intervention in the Balkans book cover

Roger D. Petersen
Western Intervention in the Balkans: The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict
Cambridge University Press, 2011

 

Roger D. Petersen is Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science.

Renaissance Literature book cover

Shankar Raman
Renaissance Literature and Postcolonial Studies
Edinburgh University Press, 2011

Shankar Raman is Associate Professor of Literature.

Modes of Creativity book cover

Irving Singer
Modes of Creativity
MIT Press, 2011

Irving Singer is Professor of Philosophy.

Dispersed Radiance book cover

Abha Sur
Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender, and Modern Science in India
South Asia Books, 2011

Abha Sur is Lecturer in Women's and Gender Studies.
 

Poems book cover

Stephen Tapscott
Editor and Translator, Poems, by Georg Trakl
Field Poetry series, 2011

Stephen Tapscott is Professor of Literature.

The Deaths of Others

John Tirman
The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars
Oxford University Press, 2011

John Tirman is Principal Research Scientist and Executive Director of the Center for International Studies.

Book Cover - Financial Systems in Developing Economies

Robert Townsend
Financial Systems in Developing Economies
Oxford University Press, 2011

Robert Townsend is Elizabeth & James Killian Professor of Economics.

 

 

 

 

 



 

French Theatre Today book cover

Edward Baron Turk
French Theatre Today: The View from New York, Paris, and Avignon
University of Iowa Press, 2011

Edward Baron Turk is John E. Burchard Professor of the Humanities and Professor of French and Film Studies.

 

Alone Together book cover

Sherry Turkle
Alone Together
Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other
Basic Books, 2011

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology.

 

 

  

 


2010

 

Becoming MIT bookcover

David Kaiser
Editor, Becoming MIT: Moments of Decision
MIT Press, 2010

David Kaiser is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society.

Ratification book cover

Pauline Maier
Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
Simon & Schuster, 2010

Related story

Pauline Maier is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American History.

Cultures of War cover

John Dower
Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq
The New Press, 2010

John Dower is Professor Emeritus of History.
 

Pantomime cd cover

Peter Child
Pantomime: Chamber Music of Peter Child
Lorelt (LNT 131), 2010

Peter Child is Professor of Music.

Book Cover for The Mirage of a Space

Evelyn Fox Keller
The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture
Duke University Press, 2010

Evelyn Fox Keller is Emerita Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science.

La Politique de l'autonomie cover

Esther Duflo
La Politique de l'autonomie (French)
Le Seuil, 2010

Esther Duflo is Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics.

A Reader in Medical Anthropology book cover

Michael M.J. Fischer
Editor, A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories and Emergent Realities
Byron Good, Sarah Willen, and Mary Jo DelVecchio Good (eds.)
Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

Michael M.J. Fischer is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies.

Nordics in Global Crisis cover

Bengt Holmström
Nordics in Global Crisis: Vulnerability and Resilience
Taloustieto Oy, 2010

Bengt Holmström is Paul A. Samuelson Professor of Economics.

Conservatives in Power cover

Meg Jacobs and Julian E. Zelizer
Conservatives in Power: The Reagan Years, 1981-1989
Bedford / St. Martin's, 2010

Meg Jacobs is Associate Professor of History.
 

A Reader in Medical Anthropology cover

Erica Caple James
"The Political Economy of 'Trauma' in Haiti in the Democratic Era of Insecurity," in A Reader in Medical Anthropology: Theoretical Trajectories, Emergent Realities; Byron J. Good, Michael M.J. Fischer, Sarah S. Willen, and Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good (eds.)
Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

Erica Caple James is Associate Professor of Anthropology.

Democratic Insecurities - Book Cover

Erica Caple James
Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti
University of California Press, 2010

Erica Caple James is Associate Professor of Anthropology.

What's the Use of Race? book cover

David Jones and Ian Whitmarsh
Editors, What's the Use of Race? Modern Governance and the Biology of Difference
MIT Press, 2010

David Jones is Associate Professor of the History and Culture of Science and Technology.

Faux Real book cover

Robert Kanigel
Faux Real: Genuine Leather and 200 Years of Inspired Fakes
Paperback Edition, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010

Robert Kanigel is Professor of Science Writing.

Riddle & Bind book cover

Nick Montfort
Riddle & Bind
Spineless Books, 2010

Nick Montfort is Associate Professor of Digital Media.

Knowing Shakespeare book cover

Shankar Raman and Lowell Gallagher
Editors, Knowing Shakespeare: Senses, Embodiment and Cognition
Palgrave Macmillan, 2010

Shankar Raman is Associate Professor of Literature.
 

Uttering Trees cover

Norvin Richards
Uttering Trees
The MIT Press, 2010

Norvin Richards is Professor of Linguistics.
 

Noble Cows & Hybrid Zebras cover

Harriet Ritvo
Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History
University of Virginia Press, 2010

Harriet Ritvo is Arthur J. Conner Professor of History.
 

How She Danced CD cover image

Elena Ruehr
How She Danced: String Quartets of Elena Ruehr
Cypress String Quartet, 2010

Elena Ruehr is Lecturer of Music and Theater Arts.

Playing Our Game book cover

Edward Steinfeld
Playing Our Game: Why China's Rise Doesn't Threaten the West
Oxford University Press, 2010

Edward Steinfeld is Associate Professor of Political Science.

Committees in the U.S. Congress book cover

Charles Stewart and Garrison Nelson
Committees in the U.S. Congress, 1993-2010
CQ Press, 2010

Charles Stewart is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science.

Reconceptualizing book cover

Merritt Roe Smith, Leonard Rosenband, and Jeff Horn
Editors, Reconceptualizing the Industrial Revolution: A Global Perspective
MIT Press, 2010

Merritt Roe Smith is Cutten Professor of the History of Technology.

Things book cover

Stephen Yablo
Things: Papers on Objects, Events, and Properties
Oxford University Press, 2010

Stephen Yablo is Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy.