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

Said and Done

February 2011 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences





Pesetsky elected a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
David Pesetsky, Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Pesetsky, who is also Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow, was chosen for “his innovative and critical research on syntactic theory, connecting it to issues in phonology, morphology, reading, language acquisition and neuroscience, and for his contributions to linguistic education at many levels.”




Bartusiak Awarded the Davis Prize
The History of Science Society has awarded the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize to Marcia Bartusiak for The Day We Found the Universe, (Pantheon), calling it "a beautifully written, informative book on a critical topic in the history of science" and a "rich, complex, yet crystal-clear narrative" that depicts a seminal moment in history.  







Mary Fuller to lead NEH Summer Seminar at MIT 
"English Encounters with the Americas, 1550-1610" is a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar for college professors to be held July 5-29, 2011 at MIT. Led by Mary Fuller, Professor of Literature, sixteen selected seminar participants will explore primary sources on Anglo-American contact using evidence and methods from several disciplines. 
Full information

      detail, 16th century map of northeast america



 MIT 150  
| FAST: Festival of Arts + Technology + Science
The School's renowned music and theater sections are front and center for FAST: Festival of Art + Technology + Science, a five-month series of exploratory events produced for MIT's 150th anniversary. Here follows a listing of School-related Festival events: 

February 3–5, and 10–12
A farce about wealth, engineering, desire, and death.
by Tony Kushner; Directed by Professor Janet Sonenberg, Head, Music and Theater Arts at MIT 
Full information


Saturday, February 19
Handel and Hayden Society to perform "Israel in Egypt" 

Symposium and concert on February 19, 2011 to celebrate MIT's 150th. Premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1859, this monumental work depicts the Exodus story of liberation. 
Full information



Saturday, March 5
Lontano Ensemble 
In residence at MIT during the spring term, 2011, the Ensemble will present a concert of music by MIT faculty composers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison, Bang-on-a-Can All-Star Evan Ziporyn, Elena Ruehr, Charles Shadle, and others. Since its creation in 1976, Lontano’s impact on the new classical music scene has been profound and enduring. 
Full information

Thursday, March 17
Washed by Fire | The Music of Keeril Makan 
Performed by the Either/Or Ensemble. For more than a decade, MIT’s Keeril Makan has been creating hard-driving, visceral music that is blended with a quiet beauty, offering what Newsday calls “a fascinating wedding of intellect and expressivity.” 
Full information

    explosion of energy    

April 7–9 + 13–15
La Ronde
(Let's get it on)
A comedy of lust and longing. Written by Arthur Schnitzer at the beginning of the 20th century, the play has been adapted by Anna Kohler for MIT. With the help of today’s media, actors from other continents will be able to perform in the show, along with the MIT Dramashop actors. 
Full information

Friday, April 15
Bang-on-a-Can Marathon

World-renowned new music powerhouses Kronos Quartet, Bang-on-a-Can All-Stars and Chinese pipa-ist Wu Man team up with MIT’s own Gamelan Galak Tika and MIT Chamber Chorus for a 5-hour marathon concert featuring works by MIT’s Evan Ziporyn, Tod Machover, alum Christine Southworth, as well as Brian Eno and minimalist gurus Steve Reich & Terry Riley.
Full information


Evan Ziporyn      


Thursday, April 21—Saturday, April 23 
Dance Technology and Circulations of the Social, V. 2.0
For the 150th celebration, a dozen dance technology researchers will be at MIT to present their current, media-focused research. The two-day symposium includes readings, demonstrations, and small-scale performances, and will produce an anthology of writings to be edited by the symposium conveners.
Full information


Friday, May 13, Saturday May 14, Sunday, May 15, 2011
Bellona, Destroyer of Cities, by Jay Scheib

MIT Professor Jay Scheib, named one of 25 artists who will shape the next 25 years of theater by American Theater Magazine, returns to the ICA stage with a new work, based on Samuel R. Delany’s epic science fiction novel, Dhalgren.  
Full information





Is new media technology making us Alone Together?
In a new book, Sherry Turkle documents effects of technology on our families and social lives. “There is a real state of confusion about whether or not we have each other’s attention in our always-on connectivity culture,” says Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology. "It’s time for a correction, because we still have a chance to change things.”
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News
Turkle on the Colbert Report



How "plastic" are we, and how determined by DNA?

Evelyn Fox Keller, professor emerita in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, is a leading historian of biology whose 2010 book, The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture, argues that it is a mistake to think that heredity and the environment (nature and nurture) can be separated when “the entanglement” of these two factors “is not only immensely intricate, but is there from the start.”  

How did MIT become MIT?

In Becoming MIT: Moments of Decision, historian David Kaiser examines a series of turning points — crucial decisions that helped define the MIT we know today.  


Tracing families’ escape from poverty
Economist Robert Townsend's research shows how the poor in developing countries become wealthier. The study, based on a unique set of data collected under the direction of MIT economist Robert M. Townsend, shows that among rural households, 43% realized significant and lasting gains in net worth over a seven-year period, and that 81% of that wealth accumulation was due to savings of income, as opposed to gifts or remittances, that is, contributions the family did not earn.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News


The research of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences appears principally in the form of books and publications, as well as 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







Economists converge at MIT for major symposium 
An array of stars in economics and finance, including seven Nobel Prize winners, prominent policymakers and influential public intellectuals, convened for “Economics and Finance: from Theory to Practice to Policy” — one of six academic symposia taking place as part of MIT’s 150th anniversary.
Videos of all sessions | Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News 

Opera News
 calls Ziporyn's new opera "colossally imaginative"

"Ziporyn's West-meets-East adventure is a grand kaleidoscopic success that no one else could have dreamed up." — Opera News  
Full Review

David Deveau performs on tour of China — and at points west
Deveau, Senior Lecturer in the Music section, made his second tour of China (the first was in 2004-5 when he performed in Beijing and Qingdao). This tour included solo recital performances in Shanghai at the Shanghai Theater Academy, and in halls in Suzhou and Hangzhou. 

      Nobel laureate Paul Krugman 




Paul Farmer on the path to real recovery in Haiti
Difficult as it is to look beyond the acute misery of Haiti’s current crisis, Paul Farmer (anthropologist, physician, and co-founder of Partners in Health) proposes that aid agencies and others concerned with rebuilding focus on the nation’s “chronic problems.” There’s no shortage of recovery ideas, he says, but these will go nowhere if they do not also advance the long-neglected, basic rights of Haitians.
Watch video

   rubble of Haitian earthquake





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