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MIT Knight Science Journalism Bootcamp speakers
cite communication as vital to progress on climate change


                  "The future of our species depends on better policies for 
                  energy and climate change — and that progress requires 
                  good communications, and an informed public."

                    — Philip Hilts, Director, Knight Science Journalism program at MIT 


“The climate change crisis is no longer primarily a scientific problem. At this stage, it is a communications issue.”

That assessment, from Scott Denning, Monfort Professor of Atmosphere Science at Colorado State University, was a frequent refrain during a recent MIT Knight Science Journalism “Bootcamp on Energy and Climate.” Many of the distinguished presenters at the intensive three-day course emphasized that scientists have established the evidence about climate change, and journalists now have a crucial role to educate the public about its impacts.  

The twelve presenters also agreed that the stakes are high for their work. In his remarks, Philip Hilts, director of the KSJ program said: “The future of our species depends on better policies in energy and climate issues — and that progress requires an informed public.”  

Educating journalists

The Energy and Climate Change Bootcamp is part of an ongoing series of short courses created by the KSJ program, which each year admits 13 exceptional, mid-career science journalists from around the world. The Fellows spend a full academic year at MIT honing their science reporting skills, and working alongside scientists and researchers in MIT labs. The only one of its kind in the world, the program has run for 31 years and created 320 alumni who are now continuing their science writing at major news outlets in 40 countries. Four times a year, the KSJ program offers the intensive bootcamps, which are attended not only by the Fellows, but also by other journalists who apply to participate.

“We believe that reporters need access to the best minds across science and technology to fulfill their mission,” says Hilts, “and we want to share MIT's resources with science journalists broadly. We know it is hard for many journalists to get away from major institutions for an entire year.  However, many more can break away for a few days at a time, so we designed the short courses to reach more of the science journalism community.”

The Energy and Climate Bootcamp has been held each year for three years, reflecting the complexity of the topic and its increasing significance. The most recent speakers, who included leading scientists and spokespersons in the field, gave presentations that ranged from the current science about climate change, to the attitudes of the American public on the issue, and how climate change issues can be addressed in a difficult political climate.


neurons firing

Current SHASS stories by the MIT News Office team 

The most recent SHASS news and feature stories by the MIT News writers More

Philosopher Sally Haslanger receives Ford Chair 

Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has awarded Professor of Philosophy Sally Haslanger a Ford Chair. “This honor is in recognition of both her distinctive scholarship, and her distinguished leadership within the discipline of philosophy internationally," said Fitzgerald. More

Acclaimed cellist Carlos Prieto, SB ’58, receives the 2014 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award 

Prieto's Muh Award lecture "The Adventures of a Cello," along with a musical performance will take place Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at 5 pm, at the MIT Wong Auditorium, Building E51-115, 70 Memorial Drive, Cambridge. A festive public reception will immediately follow the lecture.   More

3 Questions with Paul Raeburn | How the KSJ Tracker raises the bar for science media 

"Our goal is to provide an informal peer review of science reporting, which we hope will help improve science coverage across the board." — Paul Raeburn, Chief Media Critic, MIT KSJ Tracker  More

Неординарные идеи меняют мир 

For MIT graduate student, fluency in the Russian language has proved transformative. A look at MIT's Foreign Language and Literature program.   More

Political Scientist Daniel Hidalgo receives 2014 Kellogg/Notre Dame Award 

MIT Assistant Professor F. Daniel Hidalgo has won the 2014 Kellogg/Notre Dame Award for best paper in comparative politics—together with his co-author, Simeon Nichter of the University of California, San Diego. The Kellogg/Notre Dame Award recognizes outstanding research presented at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Conference, one of the largest academic conferences held on political science each year. A scholarly association founded in 1939, the MPSA is the publisher of The American Journal of Political Science. More

Humanities at MIT  | Le Morte d'Arthur and the Engineer

In the fall of 2013, after having taught "Medieval Literature: Legends of Arthur" at MIT for six years, Arthur Bahr took a leap of faith. Instead of a final paper, he gave his students the option to turn in a creative project about Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.  “These are MIT students," says Bahr, Associate Professor of Literature."They’re makers. Mens et manus, right?” More

Anthropologist Heather Paxson named 2014 MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Every year, the MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program recognizes a handful of professors who are exceptional undergraduate teachers, educational innovators, and mentors. This year’s awardees included Heather Anne Paxson, an associate professor of anthropology.  More

April Julich Perez of MISTI Program receives 2014 MIT Excellence Award

April Julich Perez, associate director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) within the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been honored for her leadership with a 2014 MIT Excellence Award for Bringing Out the Best More

April 13, 2014
Nominations due | Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching  

Do you have a favorite professor, instructor, or teaching assistant in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences? You can reward a great teacher with the Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching. Send an email nomination by April 13, 2014.  

Bruno Perreau awarded 2014-15 Stanford Humanities Center External Faculty Fellowship

Bruno Perreau, who was recently promoted to Associate Professor of French studies in Foreign Languages and Literatures, has received a Stanford Humanities Center External Faculty Fellowship for 2014-’15. The Stanford Humanities Center is a multidisciplinary research institute dedicated to advancing knowledge about culture, philosophy, history, and the arts. More

Open Documentary Lab puts MIT in the vanguard of new media for storytelling 

Internet, cellphone cameras, big data, interactive games, and other technologies have created an explosion of new methods of storytelling that is transforming the media landscape. The Open Documentary Lab, located in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, explores the challenges and opportunities these changes present for documentarians today. “The field is now like looking at the early years of television," says William Urichio, Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Principal Investigator for the OpenDocLab. "new tools, new storytelling technique, new participants. It's a very exciting moment."    More

2014 Burchard Scholars announced

The award honors sophomores and juniors who demonstrate academic excellence in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as in science and engineering. “The Burchard scholars are some of MIT’s liveliest undergraduates,” says Margery Resnick, professor of literature and director of the Burchard Scholars Program. “Selection is extremely competitive, and the students chosen are unafraid to wrestle with new ideas.” More

Loren Graham on Sources of Innovation 

Innovators particularly need different frames of mind in crisis moments, when one doesn't know how to go forward. Sometimes these frames of mind are philosophical, sometimes they are moral or ethical. More

3 Questions | Interview with Seth Mnookin

The challenge and impact of science writing More

Elevating the Discourse: The Knight Science Journalism Fellows at MIT   

This year MIT's Knight Science Journalism program welcomed 11 acclaimed journalists who investigate topics ranging from phenology and climate change, to medicine and human health, to quantum mechanics to hone their science reporting skills. In this article, the Fellows offer their insights on the challenges and rewards of their field.  More

Manduhai Buyandelger receives $25K Levitan Prize in the Humanities for 2013

Associate Professor of Anthropology Manduhai Buyandelger has been awarded the James A. (1945) and Ruth 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. More

21st Century Humanities at MIT
Gallery of Digital Humanities

The work going on in digital humanities and new media is one expression of the innovation that characterizes the Humanities more broadly. Using computational tools and methods, MIT humanities scholars are opening new lines of research and discovery, revitalizing the study of objects from the past, and asking questions never before possible. More

A global community gathers to celebrate J-PAL@10

MORE THAN A THOUSAND PEOPLE from across the nation and the world gathered at MIT on December 7, 2013 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Established in 2003 as a research center in the Economics Department of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, J-PAL's founders pioneered the use of randomized control trials to test the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs. Today, J-PAL comprises a global network of nearly 100 researchers working in 55 countries.    More

detail, George Inness painting, The Lakawanna Valley

Symposium honors 50th anniversary of The Machine in the Garden by Leo Marx

MIT Professor Emeritus Leo Marx wrote The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America in 1964, before cell phones, the Internet, and computers became omnipresent in American life. Yet today this work — centered on the tensions nineteenth century authors saw as shaping American life — remains as relevant as ever. On November 8, 2013, colleagues and former students gathered to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Marx’s book with a symposium at MIT.  More

HASTS alumni return to campus to present their work at 25th anniversary symposium

Fifteen distinguished HASTS alumni gave presentations on their current work at a November 2013 symposium held to celebrate the program’s 25th anniversary. In opening remarks, Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, said, "Our mission in SHASS is to empower our students with the perspectives and skills needed to think deeply and to provide real leadership in their fields. The impressive work displayed by our HASTS alumni is a surpassing example of how that goal is being achieved.”  Story + Gallery

SHASS convenes event with leaders in Science Engagement field 

This fall, MIT gathered 75 top practitioners from across the field at the "Evolving Culture of Science Engagement" event to take the measure of the potentials in the convergence of science, education, and entertainment. More

David Kaiser awarded the Davis Prize from the History of Science Society

The History of Science Society has awarded the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize to MIT historian and physicist David Kaiser for his book How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival (W. W. Norton, 2011). More

The Atlantic cites Natasha Schüll's Addiction by Design as a "Best Book I Read This Year"  

Atlantic senior editor Alexis C. Madgiral, who selected Schüll's book, writes: Schüll "looks at how the gambling companies engineer behaviors as they simultaneously create and satisfy human desires...If books can be tools, Addiction by Design is one of the foundational artifacts for understanding the digital age." More

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

The Economist has named The Triumph of Human Empire (University of Chicago Press) one of the best books of 2013. Williams is the Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology in MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society. In The Triumph of Human Empire, she explores the turning point in history and technology when human endeavors began to dominate the planet like never before.   More

detail, Alfred Bierstadt, The Buffalo Trail

3 Questions Interview | Rosalind Williams on Machine in the Garden by Leo Marx

The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America by Leo Marx, Kenan Sahin Professor of American Culture emeritus, is a seminal work that has had ongoing influence on thinking about the environment. Rosalind Williams, Bern Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology, offers thoughts on the enduring significance of Marx's book.       More

Wi-Phi online video platform presents "philosophy's greatest hits"

A little philosophy could go a long way toward making the world a better place, says Damien Rochford, Ph.D. ’13, who has co-launched the Wi-Phi, an online, interactive philosophy website. The site presents more than a dozen short entertaining video animations to accompany talks by top scholars on such timeless questions as whether humans have free will, whether god exists, and what is it for a sentence to be true. The goal is for people to learn how to do philosophyrather simply learning what philosophers have thought, so the site focuses on developing critical thinking skills. More

Panel at MIT assesses the benefits/uncertainties of climate engineering

As the human and economic costs of climate change threaten to rise—and with little progress in reducing global carbon emission—some activists, scientists, and politicians are searching for new ways to respond to the global climate crisis. More

Class on digital humanities premieres with tech-savvy approach

First offered in the Spring 2013 term, and taught by Professor James Paradis and Principal Research Associate Kurt Fendt, both of Comparative Media Studies/Writing, "Digital Humanities: Topics, Techniques, and Technologies" (CMS.633), gave MIT students the chance to pair technical know-how with real-world humanities projects  — such as designing innovations for the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (ICA), and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. More

Annotation Studio translates an ancient literary practice into the digital age 

Annotation Studio, a project developed by HyperStudio (the MIT SHASS lab for digital humanites), promises to improve upon traditional techniques for entering marginalia and side notes in books — enabling readers not only to annotate texts across media, but also to share comments with others and to enhance them with links, images, video, and audio. More

Hard Math = Powerful Fun
MIT economist Ellison's "Hard Math" books inspire young students

Six years ago when Glenn Ellison volunteered to coach his daughter Caroline’s middle-school math team, he hardly realized he would soon become a leading authority in the niche market of advanced mathematics textbooks for elementary- and middle-school students. More

Williams awarded Leonardo da Vinci Medal for lifetime achievement

Rosalind H. Williams, Professor in the School's Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) was honored for a lifetime of achievement when the Society for the History of Technology presented her with its highest award, the Leonardo da Vinci Medal. The medal is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the history of technology through research, teaching, publications, and other activities.  More

Ritvo's Animal Estate featured on centennial list of most significant books from Harvard University Press 

Harvard University Press, celebrating its centennial year, recently selected MIT Professor Harriet Ritvo’s 1987 book, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age, as one of its 100 most significant publications.  Congratulations to Professor Ritvo — and to Harvard Univeristy Press!   More

TOUR de SHASS expo showcases MIT's humanities, arts, social sciences

Several hundred MIT students gathered on September 5, 2013, for the inaugural TOUR de SHASS—a new academic expo showcasing MIT's wide range of fields and classes in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. More

Anthropologist Natasha Schüll honored for Addition by Design - research on technology and gambling   

Associate Professor Natasha Schüll of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) has received the Sharon Stephens Prize from the American Ethnological Society (AES) for her book, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (Princeton 2012). More

Karina Arnaez named Diversity Manager for MIT SHASS

Dean Deborah Fitzgerald is pleased to announce that Karina Arnaez has joined the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences in the newly created role of Diversity Manager. Arnaez, MIT's first school-level, full-time Diversity Manager, previously served as Senior Diversity Manager at EMC2 and has worked in diversity and recruitment at Simmons College, Boston College, and Cardinal Health.  

MIT's Jameel Poverty Action Lab launches a regional office for North America

Established in 2013, J-PAL North America is based at MIT in the Department of Economics, and works to improve the effectiveness of social programs in the U.S. and Canada through J-PAL's three core activities: research, policy outreach, and capacity building. More

Emma Teng named one of Ten Outstanding Faculty 

Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity has selected MIT Professor Emma Teng as one of Ten Outstanding Faculty honored nationwide for her "passion for inspiring [her] students, as well as [her] dedication to [her] own personal values." More

Caspar Hare / MITx offer first intro philosophy MOOC 

"Analytic philosophy gives you a way to think about [challenging] questions in a rigorous and organized way. In a very concrete sense, it teaches you life skills, because most of the problems you face in life do not have an instruction manual." More

Welcoming New Faculty | Fall 2013

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is very pleased to present the newest members of the faculty. They come to us with diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their areas of research: history of South Asia and South Asian diasporas; comparative politics; French history and visual culture; history of law focusing on slavery, abolition, and the Atlantic revolutionary period; international law; and Classical Greek and contemporary rhetorical theory, and comparative media. Please join us in welcoming these excellent scholars into the School community. More

Irving Singer, MIT philosopher and author, retires after 55 years

MIT Professor Irving Singer, a renowned philosopher and the author of more than 20 books, retires from MIT after an extraordinary 55 years at the Institute. Singer’s many books—including The Nature of Love (1966–1987), a three-volume exploration of the idea of love in Western philosophy, as well as a second trilogy, Meaning in Life (1992–1996), which addresses the creation of value, the pursuit of love, and the harmony of nature and spirit—reveal the broad scope of his scholarship in humanistic philosophy.  More

Catherine Clark Receives Contemporary French Civilization Award

Catherine E. Clark has received the CFC's 2nd Annual Annual Lawrence R. Schehr Memorial Award for her essay "The Vidéothèque de Paris, Archive of the Future."    More

Women in philosophy | Haslanger commentary in NYT

In a recent New York Times article, Sally Haslanger, MIT Professor of Philosophy, provides her perspective on the current underrepresentation of women in philosophy.   More

Faculty Promotions

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the following faculty promotions, which are effective 1 July 2013. More

Pauline Maier

Path-breaking historian, Pauline Maier, dies at 75 

The eminent historian Pauline Maier, a treasured member of the MIT SHASS community for more than thirty years, died August 12 in Cambridge, Massachusetts after a short illness. Her award-winning books cast new light on Revolutionary-era America and the foundations of U.S. democracy, and her dedicated teaching influenced generations of scholars. Responding to the news, Dean Fitzgerald said, "One of the key intellectual figures in her field, Pauline was also a leader at MIT — a great historian and scholar who understood the pulse of the Institute and helped guide and improve our community in profound ways....We will miss her enormously." More

Shankar Raman

Literary scholar Shankar Raman wins 2013 Levitan Prize in the Humanities 

Raman, Professor of Literature, has received the 2013 James A. ('45) and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities. The prize will support Raman's development of his manuscript-in-progress, Before the Two Cultures: Literature and Mathematics in Early Modern Europe. More

Alma Steingart

Alma Steingart to join Harvard Society of Fellows 
three year fellowship recognizes exceptional young scholars

Alma Steingart, a doctoral candidate in MIT's Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) has been invited to join the Harvard Society of Fellows, an elite group dedicated to “the unregimented cultivation of scholarly genius.” More

Sherry Turkle receives The Centennial Medal from Harvard; also named a Literary Light

Sherry Turkle, The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, has recently received the honor of "Literary Light" from the Associates of the Boston Public Library, and The Centennial Medal from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.   More

Mark Harvey and Aardvark Jazz Orchestra mark two anniversaries 

MIT Lecturer Mark Harvey led his Aardvark Jazz Orchestra at Kresge Auditorium, celebrating the 40th anniversary of his band. More

WGBH Boston broadcasts MIT music documentary
"Awakening" pays tribute to the Arab Spring

WGBH aired the MIT music documentary concert "Awakening: Evoking the Arab Spring through Music" on Friday, May 31. Several firsts were involved in this event. The broadcast marks the first time PBS has shown a work by MIT Video Productions. And the 30-minute program features the world premiere of a new work, "Awakening," by composer and MIT alumnus Jamshied Sharifi — performed in March 2012 by the MIT Wind Ensemble, led by Dr. Frederick E. Harris, Conductor of the ensemble, and Director of Wind and Jazz Ensembles for MIT Music and Theater Arts.   More

Two new Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows join the MIT community

With the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, the School awards up to three fellowships each year to promising young scholars working at the intersection of humanities disciplines, or between humanities and other disciplines. We are delighted to welcome our two new Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows for 2013-2015 — Meredith Schweig and Maria Vidart-Delgado.
  See Mellon Fellows | Profiles

Anthropologist Graham Jones receives the 2013 MIT Edgerton Award

“Graham is a talented scholar with an unquenchable passion for teaching. His deep intelligence, breadth of knowledge, and commitment to excellence are apparent in everything he does.” More

Profile of Emma Teng | MacVicar Faculty Fellow 

Emma Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and an associate professor of China studies, relishes the unique atmosphere within MIT that fosters multidisciplinary collaboration. And through her research and teachings about Asian and Asian-American identities and histories, Teng helps her students challenge their own assumptions, an exercise that she hopes extends beyond the classroom. More

Dean Fitzgerald announces appointments to SHASS leadership roles 

Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has announced the appointment of eight faculty members to new leadership roles.  More

Three MIT undergraduates win Kelly Essay Awards

SHASS has announced three recipients of the 2013 Kelly Essay Award:  Alicia Singham Goodwin '14, and Michelle Dion '13 are co-winners of the Kelly Essay Prize; Caitlin Mackey '15, has received the Honorable Mention. The Kelly Essay Prize honors outstanding writing achievement by MIT undergraduates, awarding two prizes of up to $800 each. More

MIT theater artist Jay Scheib receives MAP Fund grant  

Writer, director and designer of plays, operas and installations, and winner of a 2012 Obie, Jay Scheib, Associate Professor of Theater Arts, was awarded a MAP Fund grant to support a production of Platonov, or the Disinherited. More

MIT OpenDoc Lab receives NEA grant 

The MIT Open Documentary Lab, a program of SHASS Comparative Media Studies/Writing, has received an NEA ArtWorks grant for the development of an online, curated database of interactive documentaries. More

Seven undergraduates awarded Kelly-Douglas Traveling Fellowships  

An important dimension of the Kelly-Douglas Fund is support for undergraduate education in the humanities, arts and social sciences; travel beyond MIT to pursue a project in an HASS field, or to collaborate in a humanitarian project, can have a powerful and lasting effect on students. More

John G. Mikhael ’13 wins Isabelle de Courtivron Prize  

Math major Mikhael received the $400 prize for his essay, “Lost in Translation,” which explores Mikhael’s experience growing up—first in the United States and then in Lebanon—and his return to the States to study at MIT. The Prize honors cross-cultural fluency — an ability key to leadership and success in today's global world. More

2013 Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching announced

Dean Fitzgerald has announced the recipients of the 2013 James A. and Ruth Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Warmest congratulations to these seven educators and colleagues, who represent the very best academic leadership in the School.  More

2013 SHASS Research Fund recipients announced

The SHASS Research Fund supports research in the areas of humanities, arts, and social sciences that shows promise of making an important contribution to the proposed area of activity. The School is pleased to announce the eight recipients for 2013.   More

Richard Locke publishes research on equity/safety issues in the global supply chain 


Can global brands create just supply chains, fair and safe working conditions? In his new book, The Promise and Limits of Private PowerMIT political scientist Richard Locke says that protecting workers involved in the global supply chain will require three things: actions by firms themselves; long-standing supply-chain relationships, and government effort.    More

MIT literature scholar Stephanie Frampton awarded the Rome Prize 

Assistant Professor of Literature Stephanie Ann Frampton has been awarded the prestigious Rome Prize for ancient studies by the American Academy in Rome. The award will provide funding for Frampton to spend 11 months living and working at the academy, a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. More

J-PAL review research featured in Science 

J-PAL Science review article, "The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World," characterizes the challenges to improving learning outcomes in developing countries. This is "the first time J-PAL's cost effectiveness analysis of programs that aim to improve student learning has been released, and to the best of our knowledge, this is the first analysis of its kind," says J-PAL policy analyst Conner Brannen.   More

Citation for MIT Historian Wood's 2012 essay "Performing Memory"    

Brill Publishing announces that MIT Professor of History Elizabeth Wood's essay "Performing Memory: Vladmir Putin and the Celebration of WWII in Russia," is among the most read Slavic journal articles of the year. More

"Eloquence" | MIT's David Deveau performs Brahms

Jordan Hall, April 28, 2013.  Boston Music Intelligencer writes: "With David Deveau, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players elevated the Brahms "Trio in A Minor," Opus 114 to indescribable eloquence."  More + Reviews

MIT Professor of Linguistics, Kai von Fintel joins two artists to explore "The Language of Forms" 

SHASS Associate Dean von Fintel and two noted artists present viewpoints on the relationships of form (both visual and conceptual) in a Catalyst Conversation event. A discussion will follow on the similarities and differences that may exist in the way scientists and artists approach these concepts. More

Arthur Bahr’s first book reveals a surprise about 14th century manuscripts    

While reading online, do you sometimes find yourself skipping from 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, Fragments and Assemblages: Forming Compilations of Medieval London was just released by University of Chicago Press. More

Peter Matthiessen at MIT to receive the 2013 PEN New England Thoreau Award

Matthiessen, a three-time National Book Award-winning American novelist, nonfiction writer and environmental activist will be at MIT receive the Thoreau Award for Literary Excellence in Nature Writing, presented by PEN New England. Thursday, April 11, 2013, MIT 10-250, 7pm.  More

MIT and Harvard host the 59th Annual Society for French Historical Studies Conference

Conference to focus on "Nature and Technology in French History"; Thursday, April 4 – Sunday, April 7, at the Kendall Marriott on the MIT Campus; Free for SHASS faculty and graduate students More + Free Registration

What is "natural," and what is "social"
Q&A with Philosopher Sally Haslanger

Professor of philosophy and Director of Women's and Gender Studies at MIT, Sally Haslanger recently published Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique (Oxford University Press), a collection of essays on gender and race.  We caught up with her to talk about the rich ideas in her most recent book.  More

SHASS to award $800 prize for best MIT undergraduate essay(s)

To your keyboards, undergraduates!  This year, all forms of nonfiction prose — including personal essays, science writing, cultural commentary, research papers, memoir, travel literature, or nature writing—are eligible to win the Kelly Essay Prize. Essays may be 12-20 pages long, and are due by noon, April 16, 2013.   Full information + how to enter

Burchard Scholars for 2013 announced 

MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences has named 32 undergraduate students as Burchard Scholars for 2013. The award recognizes sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated outstanding abilities and academic excellence in some aspect of the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as in science and engineering. More

Esther Duflo selected as a 2013 Dan David Prize laureate

Honored for research on strategies to alleviate poverty through disease prevention More

 President Obama announces intent to appoint Esther Duflo to Global Development Council

President Barack Obama has announced he intends to appoint MIT Professor Esther Duflo to the President’s Global Development Council. Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics, and a founder and director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). More

Profile of Lerna Ekmeckcioglu published 

“There was no Armenian women’s history in Armenian or Turkish,” Ekmekcioglu says. “So, I decided to write it myself.” A faculty member in MIT’s Program in Women’s and Gender Studies, Ekmekcioglu says she has been interested in feminism since college. That was when she first researched the Turkish women’s movement and discovered that the only information available centered on the experience of Muslims, the majority population in Turkey. Non-Turks, including ethnic Armenians, Greeks, and Jews, were simply absent.


AIAA honors David Mindell for Digital Apollo

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has named MIT historian David A. Mindell the winner of its Gardner-Lasser Aerospace History Literature Award for his book Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight. More

Ideas Matter series hosts explorations of the Occupy Movement and of Climate Change   

Ideas Matter, a joint project of Boston Review and the MIT SHASS Department of Political Science, is a lecture series that brings Boston Review writers together with other experts and practitioners for debate on the challenges of our times. Here are updates on the two most recent events, along with links to books and more information. More

Philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson

American Philosophical Association honors Judith Jarvis Thomson with the Quinn Prize

MIT Philosophy Professor Emerita Judith Jarvis Thomson has been awarded the 2012 Quinn Prize from the APA in recognition of her lifetime contributions to philosophy and philosophers. An internationally renowned philosopher, Thomson is known for her thought experiments, including the famous "trolley problem," which present simple scenarios that illuminate serious moral and ethical questions. More

Kaiser wins Physics World’s Book of the Year Award

How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser, Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, has been named 2012 Book of the Year by Physics World magazine. “A rollicking good read,” according to Physics World, the book describes how a group of young, unconventional physicists working in in Northern California in the 1970s changed the face of modern physics. Kaiser is the head of MIT’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. Full Story

Craig Wilder, MIT Professor of History

Wilder, head of MIT History, featured in new Ken Burns film, “The Central Park Five”

Professor Craig Wilder, head of the MIT History section, served as a consultant on the new Ken Burns documentary, "The Central Park Five.” He also appears in the film, providing historical perspective on the shocking events that began on April 20, 1989, when a jogger was raped and severely beaten in New York’s Central Park. In this interview, he reflects on what makes this story relevant today.  More

MIT SHASS launches The Listening Room, the sounds of MIT Music online 

The finest music composed and performed by MIT’s renowned music faculty and students is now available in The Listening Room—an online collection that showcases the Institute’s longstanding engagement with music. “The arts at MIT are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking, and imaginative problem-solving, said, Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. "The Listening Room now opens the doors for a worldwide audience to enjoy the MIT musical experience." More

School within a School: MIT's Concourse learning community 

The single best thing about college for MIT Professor of History Anne McCants was "exploring ideas ravenously."  It was like being in a candy store for four years,” she says. Now, as newly appointed director of Concourse, a learning community for MIT freshmen, McCants says her goal is to give today’s students the same heady experience of intellectual adventure and discovery within the context of a supportive group.


MIT Philosophy has extraordinary success placing PhD grads in top tenure-track positions.

Consistently ranked among the top ten philosophy departments in the country, MIT’s small Philosophy section—just 12 full time professors—recently also drew attention for its extraordinary success in placing PhD graduates in tenure-track positions at top philosophy programs nationwide. The Leiter Reports, an influential publication in the field, placed MIT second in grad student placement, just behind New York University, a program nearly twice as large. Because obtaining a faculty position in philosophy is notoriously difficult—often 700 applicants for every appointment—many are wondering: what is the secret of MIT’s outsized success? More

10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

Montfort and colleagues parse meanings in code  

"Like a diary from the forgotten past, computer code is embedded with stories of a program’s making, its purpose, its assumptions, and more. Every symbol within a program can help to illuminate these stories and open historical and critical lines of inquiry.”   More

Said and Done published | December 2012 edition 

News, Research, Kudos
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences December 2012 Edition

MIT SHASS hosts symposium for 50th anniversary of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Friday, December 7, 2012
Bartos Theater, E51-070 | 1-5:30pm
Free and open to the public 
  Schedule + Commentary

How the Hippies Saved Physics is finalist for the Best Physics Book of the Year Award for 2012.

The journal Physics World has named How the Hippies Saved Physics, by MIT professor David Kaiser, to the shortlist of the ten physics books that are finalists for the Physics Book of the Year Award for 2012. The winner will be announced on December 18, 2012.     More

Anna Mikusheva

MIT economist Anna Mikusheva receives the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize 

The prize, from the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP), recognizes outstanding young women in economics.    More

Roger Petersen wins Distinguished Book Award for Western Intervention in the Balkans

The Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association has awarded the Distinguished Book Award to Roger Petersen's Western Intervention in the Balkans, The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Petersen is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at MIT.   More

Stefan Helmreich wins Rachel Carson prize for Alien Ocean 

Stefan Helmreich's book Alien OceanAnthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Book Prize, given by the Society for the Social Study of Science to recognize a book-length work of special social or political relevance in the area of science and technology studies. Alien Ocean (University of California Press, 2009) has also received two earlier significnt prizes: the 2010 Gregory Bateson Book Prize, awarded by the Society of Cultural Anthropology, and the 2010 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society.  More

Q&A with Michel DeGraff 

Associate Professor Michel DeGraff recently received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation for his linguistics research in Haiti, which includes developing classroom tools to teach science and math in Haitian Creole (Kreyòl) for the first time. In this interview, he speaks about his vision for the research, about Haiti and Kreyòl, and how this project can be a model for reaching the millions of science-hungry students around the world who speak local languages like Haitian Creole. Read more

Junot Díaz wins MacArthur Fellowship 

Junot Díaz, the MIT writing professor widely acclaimed for his vivid, inventive works of fiction, has won a 2012 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes referred to as a “genius grant.” The MacArthur Foundation cited Díaz for his stories that use “raw, vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose to draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle.” More

WGS Symposium launches new Border Crossing Research Initiative   

What is citizenship and how is it affected by race and gender? How have concepts of identity evolved over time? and What role do race and gender play in contemporary border conflicts? These are among the central questions motivating the launch of The Borders Research Initiative in Women’s and Gender Studies at MIT, which will hold its kickoff event, "Border Crossing: Citizenship, Race, Gender," on October 12–13 at MIT’s Stata Center. More

Junot Díaz is finalist for the 2012 National Book Award

The novel This is How You Lose Her, by author and MIT Professor of Writing, Junot Díaz, has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious National Book Awards. The National Book Awards Ceremony will take place on November 14, 2012 at the Cipriani Wall Street, New York City.   More

DeGraff awarded $1m NSF grant   

Michel DeGraff, Associate Professor of Linguistics, is the Principal Investigator for a five-year project that will help develop classroom tools to teach science and math in Haitian Creole for the first time.  Full Story at MIT News

Silbey honored for lab safety research

Susan Silbey has received the 2012 Scott Award from ASA, a $25K Seed Grant from UCLA, and a grant from the MIT Simons Center for the Social Brain. More

detail, Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Medievalists explore the art of being interdisciplinary

MIT medievalist Arthur Bahr describes the Babel Working Group's conference, “Cruising in the Ruins" at which scholars from several fields explored large, compelling questions—as a way of advocating for more cross-discipliinary work, and the proposition that today's great universities could generate even better research and pedagogy by encouraging a “rhythm of disciplinary attachment and detachment."  


Sue Mannett

Profile | Susan Mannett 

On the occasion of her retirement, the community salutes Susan Mannett, the longtime SHASS Director of Human Resources extraordinaire.   More

September Said and Done published

News, Research, Kudos
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences Visit Magazine

MIT SHASS News Clips | 2013

MIT SHASS research, programs, and faculty in the national and international media reports.   More

Seth Mnookin, co-director, MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing

Seth Mnookin wins 2012 Science in Society Award for his book The Panic Virus

Seth Mnookin, Assistant Professor of Science Writing, and co-director of the MIT SHASS Graduate Program in Science Writing (GPSW), has been awarded the 2012 Science in Society Journalism Award for his book The Panic Virus. Of the award, given annually by the National Association of Science Writers, Tom Levenson, MIT Professor of Science Writing, notes, "This is one of the very top awards in our field. It reflects the judgment of the leading science writing association in the world and it is an honor that only comes to superlative work."     More

David Pesetsky elected a Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America

David Pesetsky, Professor of Linguistics, MIT SHASS, has been elected a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. The induction ceremony for the 2013 class of Fellows 
will take place on Friday, January 4, 2013 at the LSA Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.   More

Faculty Promotions | Spring 2012

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the following faculty promotions, effective July 1, 2012. More

Welcoming New Faculty | Fall 2012

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is very pleased to present the newest members of the faculty. They come to us with diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their areas of research: film and media studies; electoral behavior; science writing; opera and the politics of musical style; macroeconomics and finance; the internet and game studies; American political development; classical literature, and the Roman alphabet. Please join us in welcoming these excellent scholars into the School community.       More

Ta-Nehisi Coates is 2012-2013 MLK Visiting Scholar

Acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates will join the School community for the 2012-13 academic year as a MLK Visiting Scholar in CMS/Writing.   More

New York Times interviews Junot Díaz

Q & A with the Pulitzer prize-winning author and MIT Professor of Writing  More

Friendship Bridge, Taiwan

Schiappa is Visiting Professor, TUSA members are Visiting Scholars for 2012-2013

Edward Schiappa is a Visiting Professor, and three members of the Taiwan-USA Alliance are Visiting Scholars for 2012-2013. More

Mattei Athena, Louvre

Three new Administrative Officers join the School community

Elouise Evee-Jones, Sarah Smith, and Amberly Steward have been chosen to serve as the Administrative Officers for Foreign Languages and Literatures, Comparative Media Studies, and Anthropology, respectively. More

Gillespie and Seymour are 2011-12 MLK Visiting Scholars

Two MLK Visiting Scholars joined the School community for the 2011-12 academic year: Andra Gillespie in Political Science, and Sean Seymore in Science, Technology, and Society. More


Professor Jay Scheib's World of Wires will be performed at the ICA September 21 and 22. More

"An amazing success"

MIT's David Deveau, Senior Lecturer in Music, lauded as a pianist and as Artistic Director of Rockport Music by The Boston Musical Intelligencer.  Rockport Music's 31st Chamber Music Festival concluded July 16, 2012.

Economist Parag Pathak receives PECASE
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers 

President Obama has named named MIT Associate Professor of Economics Parag Pathak as recipient of an Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers. More

Marcus Thompson

Marcus Thompson presents world premiere of Viola Concerto by Wilson

Violist Marcus Thompson, Robert R. Taylor Professor of Music at MIT, presented the world premiere of the Viola Concerto by composer Olly Wilson with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra on June 2. More

Sal Khan

Salman Kahn's talk at MIT Commencement 2012 

A brilliant, joyful commencement address, June 8, 2012 More

Amy Finkelstein wins 2012 John Bates Clark Medal

MIT SHASS economist Amy Finkelstein, a leader in studying health insurance markets, was named winner today of the prestigious John Bates Clark Medal, an annual award given by the American Economic Association (AEA). Full story at MIT News

Jay Scheib wins Obie Award for Best Director 

MIT Theater Arts Associate Professor Jay Scheib, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, received a coveted 2012 Obie Award — off-broadway's highest honor—for his production of World of Wires. The Obies, or Off-Broadway Theater Awards, are annual awards given byThe Village Voice to selected theatre artists and productions worthy of distinction. More

Kaiser receives Frank E. Perkins Award for Excellence in Graduate Advising 

"It is impossible to do justice to Dave’s generosity as a teacher and adviser...Perhaps the best of his many ways of teaching is by example."   More

MIT establishes Center for Art, Science, and Technology

A new Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) is being established at MIT with support from a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Full Story at MIT News

News Clips | March/April 2012

MIT SHASS in the media and news More

bulldog puppy smiling

Think you're funny?  — Prove it! 

Apply for a grant from the de Florez Fund for Humor. Yes, it's true—at MIT you can be funded for being funny. The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences invites MIT students, faculty, and staff to apply for grants from the de Florez Fund for Humor.  More

Stephen Yablo

Philosopher Stephen Yablo is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — also receives Guggenheim Fellowship 

Yablo, Professor of Philosophy in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — and has been awarded a 2012 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. More

MIT Economists Autor and Finkelstein are elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 

Autor and Finkelstein are among the leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts elected as new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.   More

Keeril Makan

Composer Keeril Makan receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Makan, Associate Professor of Music in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been awarded a 2012 Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for his “prior achievement and exceptional promise.” This is the second year in a row that a faculty member in Music and Theater Arts has received the Guggenheim. More

Economists Daron Acemoglu of MIT and James Robinson of Harvard publish new thesis on the wealth of nations


Collection of significant reviews, interviews, videos, broadcasts about the ideas

Susan Silbey

Best Paper award to Silbey and Huising from Regulation and Governance 

"Governing the Gap" articulates the nuances of aligning regulatory ideals with real world conditions to achieve safety in science labs.   More

Adrian Jimenez-Galindo ’15  and Eric Trac ’13 win the 2012 Isabelle de Courtivron Prizes

Prize from the Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies honors cross-cultural fluency — an ability key to leadership and success in today's global world.

Shigeru Miyagawa

Shigeru Miyagawa receives President's Award from the OCW Consortium    

MIT linguistics professor Shigeru Miyagawa has been selected to receive the President's Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence (ACE) for his contributions to the global OpenCourseWare and Open Education movements. Miyagawa, who is also head of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section, has been a key member of the faculty team that has nurtured the development of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), has contributed a significant amount of his own course materials to the site, and has traveled extensively to spread the practice of openly sharing educational materials globally.  More at MIT News

Three MIT SHASS economics graduating PhD students selected as among the most promising in the world 

Annually, The Review of Economic Studies European Meetings selects seven of the most promising graduating doctoral students in economics and finance in the world to present their research to audiences in Europe. Three of this spring's graduating MIT SHASS Ph.D. students—Gabriel Carroll, Melissa Dell, and Nathan Hendren—have been honored as participants in the 2012 tour. More

MIT Symphony Orchestra season finale concert to feature Katzin '12 and Chen '13

The orchestra, under the direction of Adam K. Boyles, will spotlight two talented MIT students: Composer Dustin R. Katzin ’12 and pianist Yimin Chen ’13, on the season Finale Concert on May 4th in Kresge Auditorium. The evening will include Chen's performance of Prokofiev's first Piano Concerto, and the premiere of Katzin's "Schrödinger’s Cat: a Musical Journey into the Strange World of Quantum Physics." Full story

Broadhead, Kaiser, Rose named 2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellows 

Four professors have been named 2012 MacVicar Faculty Fellows for their outstanding undergraduate teaching, mentoring and educational innovation. Three are from SHASS: William Broadhead, the Class of 1954 Career Development Associate Professor of History; David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science; and Nancy Lin Rose, the Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Applied Economics. The fourth professor honored is Leslie Pack Kaelbling, the Panasonic Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.   Full story at MIT News

apple connected by wires to lightbulb

New Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows join the MIT community

With the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences awards up to three postdoctoral fellowships each year to promising young scholars working at the intersection of humanities disciplines, or between humanities and other disciplines. We are delighted to welcome our three new Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows for 2012-2014 — Rebecca Dirksen, Julia Panko, and Marcella Szablewicz — and to welcome back the Mellon Fellows for 2011-2013 and 2010-2012.   Profiles of the Mellon Fellows

Anthropologist Erica Caple James awarded the 2012 Levitan Prize in the Humanities 

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has announced that Erica James, Associate Professor of Anthropology, has received the James A. ('45) and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities. Professor James's project is for research on the impact of anti-terrorism measures on charitable giving.   More

building 10

Meet the MacVicars of MIT SHASS 

The SHASS MacVicar Faculty Fellows discuss the significance,the goals—and the sheer fun—of teaching MIT students.   More

Gallery | The MIT SHASS MacVicar Faculty Fellows 

Photographs, research areas, and commentary  More

door opening to light filled room

MIT SHASS welcomes PEN New England to new home at MIT 

Dean Deborah Fitzgerald and members of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences welcomed the PEN New England organization to the group’s new home at MIT during a reception held at the MIT Faculty Club on Monday March 5, 2012. The liveliness of the gathering, which brought together novelists, poets, scholars, publishers, agents, and members of the academy, gave a foretaste of the potential creative collaborations between the PEN and MIT communities.  More

SHASS After Hours  

Pesetsky, Kaiser, and Sugawara in performance with the New Philharmonia
(Which one sings Sinatra?) More

MIT Japan 3.11 Initiative receives grant

Project prepares for year two in its response to Japan's disaster  More

Rosalind Williams: on the "Human Empire"

An historian who finds evidence and insight in literature, Rosalind Williams, Dibner Professor of the History of Science and Technology, recently completed a book examining the critical juncture when human endeavors began to dominate the planet as never before. Forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press (2013),The Triumph of Human Empire, explores this turning point in history and technology through the works of three writers from the late 1800s. More

Faculty Promotions

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the following faculty promotions, which are effective 1 July 2012. More

Heidy Gonzales

Heidy González receives 2012 MIT Excellence Award

González, the program coordinator for the MIT-SHASS Program in Women's and Gender Studies, received the 2012 MIT Excellence Award for Fostering Diversity and Inclusion at a ceremony held Tuesday, February 28, in Kresge Auditorium. More

Tech companies cite the humanities as key for today's careers 

Well said, Google!  More

2012 SHASS Research Fund recipients announced

The SHASS Research Fund supports research in the areas of humanities, arts, and social sciences that shows promise of making an important contribution to the proposed area of activity. The School is pleased to announce the nine recipients for 2012.   More

Cuthbert receives $500K Digging into Data grant for innovative musicology research

Associate Professor of Music Michael Cuthbert, together with an international team of researchers, has been awarded a $500K grant from the Digging into Data consortium (including $175K from the National Endowment for the Humanities). The grant supports his for work using computational techniques to study changes in Western musical style. More


Edward Baron Turk: Valedictory Thougths of an MIT Humanist 

I’ve chosen to ask myself a very simple question: What have I, Edward Turk, been doing at MIT all these years? I will begin with a reminiscence. The time is May 1967, near the end of my senior year at Brooklyn College.  I am seated in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.... More

Irene Heim

Scientific Reunion commemorates 50 years of Linguistics at MIT

To celebrate the first 50 years of MIT’s graduate program in Linguistics, alumni, former faculty and postdoctoral scholars attended a Scientific Reunion, held at MIT on December 9-11, 2011, and participated in a discussion of some of the foundational questions investigated by its past and present members. Professor David Pesetsky writes, "Intellectually, it was first-rate and exciting; there were some fireworks (just as we'd hoped). It was also a very emotional weekend. Collectively, this was the group that built the field."  More

Charles Weiner

Historian of science Charles Weiner dies at 80

Charles Weiner, professor emeritus of the history of science and technology at MIT, died Saturday, January 28, 2012. in West Cork, Ireland. He was 80 and resided in New York and Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts. Weiner was the pre-eminent historian of his generation focusing on the political, social and ethical dimensions of contemporary science and the responses of scientists to public controversies arising from their work....  An aficionado of jazz and good food and a wonderful conversationalist, “Charlie” — as he was known to all — will be sorely missed as the kind of committed historian of science that America needs.  Obituary at MIT News

Alan Lightman on science, religion, and the universe 

In his new novel, Mr. g, and in two related essays, physicist/author Alan Lightman, Adjunct Professor in the MIT-SHASS Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, engages with questions of ultimate reality.  Of his novel, a reviewer writes, "With echoes of Calvino and Saramago, Mr. g celebrates the tragic and joyous nature of existence on the grandest possible scale."  More

New exhibit features MIT research and education in the humanities, arts, and social sciences    

For MIT's 150th anniversary, Dean Deborah Fitzgerald and the School leadership initiated a new permanent exhibit about the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Located on the first floor of Building 14, near Killian Hall, the exhibit presents the 20+ fields of study that make up the School, as well as an updating gallery of research, news, and profiles.  Take a look

world of wires

Jay Scheib's "World of Wires" premieres in NYC 

"I learned about the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah desert where scientists and researchers go and wear spacesuits and live in full simulation for months at a time. So I began putting together the pieces..." More

Richard Holton

Philosopher Richard Holton on what New Year's resolutions say about us 

"Our ability to make resolutions is at the center of our sense of free will." — Story in The Boston Globe More

colorful communication cables

MIT's Communication Forum conducts a conversation for scholars—and citizens

How are new technologies transforming public discourse? Are traditional news outlets still influential in framing the news we get online?  What are the legal dangers for publishing secrets in the crowd-sourced era? These are just a few of the questions recently addressed by the MIT Communications Forum. Founded in 1978—well before the advent of the Internet—by the pioneering media scholar Ithiel de Sola Pool of MIT’s Political Science Department, the forum continues to engage leading scholars, journalists, media producers, and others around the globe in cutting-edge discussions on how emerging media are changing our world. More

Radius Ensemble to perform at MIT 

10th anniversary concert in memory of composer Edward Cohen. The concert will feature performances of Edward Cohen's Clarinet Quintet, the Capriccio for Solo Piano, and 
the Suite for Solo Flute. In addition, Radius will perform a new work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion by MIT alumnus Andrew McPherson and Echo, for piano trio by Cohen’s widow, composer Marjorie Merryman. More

The Genesis of a New Symphony | presentation by John Harbison, Institute Professor of Music, with Maestro David Zinman, and mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy

In anticipation of the world premiere performances of John Harbison’s Symphony No. 6 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on January 12, 13, 14 and 17, 2012, the BSO and MIT will jointly present a roundtable discussion on the genesis of the new composition at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium from 6-7pm on Wednesday, January 11. The discussion will focus on several different aspects of the new work: its commissioning, composition, and rehearsal.   More

Irene Heim elected a Fellow of the Linguistics Society of America

Irene Heim, Professor of Linguistics, MIT SHASS, has been elected a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. The induction ceremony for the 2012 class of Fellows
will take place on Friday, January 6, 2012 at the LSA Annual Meeting in 
Portland. More

Terry Riley

"Provocative and inspirational" | Performance by Riley, Ziporyn, and Gamelan Galak Tika 

"Judging by his masterful contributions on Thursday, at age 75 Riley has lost none of his legendary power to synthesize diverse musical traditions (Indian, Balinese, jazz, classical, acoustic, electronic) in provocative and inspirational ways. Riley’s performance was made possible by his longtime admirer, MIT professor Evan Ziporyn, a composer, musician, and Gamelan Galak Tika’s founder."   — The Boston Globe  More

Bruno Perreau

Bruno Perreau receives fellowship from the British Academy, and appointment at Cambridge University 

Earlier this year, Bruno Perreau, Assistant Professor of French Studies, was awarded a Newton Fellowship from the British Academy. In November 2011, Perreau was also appointed as a Research Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge University. Story + 3 Questions with Perreau More + 3 Questions

Language of the Arts
Current Music and Theater Arts Events 

The Music and Theater Arts Calendar includes jazz and classical concerts, theatrical productions, staged readings, silent film screenings and composer forums.   More + Calendar of Events

Townsend wins Laffont Prize in Economics      

MIT economist Robert M. Townsend, an expert in the ways financial systems and practices can contribute to the growth of developing economies, has been named winner of the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in economics for 2011. Townsend, the Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, will receive the award in January 2012 in Toulouse, France, where he will give a lecture titled “Financial Design and Economic Development.”  More

Boston Globe | Finding the pulse of the poor 

Armed with data, an MIT lab offers fresh insight on some of the world’s most vexing problems. For nearly a decade, MIT economics professors Esther Duflo, and Abhijit Banerjee, have worked with a global network of researchers to conduct experiments in the world’s poorest places - where families live on less than $1 day - and reached conclusions that are changing the way economists and policy makers think about development in impoverished areas. More

Nyan Cat visits MIT for the winter holidays | Commentary by Professor Ian Condry 

The Nyan Cat first installed by MIT hackers in Lobby 7 is now on display in the MIT-SHASS exhibit in Building 14. This is an MIT student work portraying the popular internet meme, Nyan Cat (or Pop-Tart Cat), an 8-bit animation depicting a cat with the body of a cherry pop tart who flies through outer space leaving a rainbow trail. The MIT-Nyan Cat is sporting a festive, silver lamé trail to celebrate the winter holidays. Warm thanks to the student hackers for generously lending their Nyan Cat to the curated exhibit wall for the winter season.  More

explosion of energy

Energy challenge calls on political, economic, and cultural realms   

Meeting 21st energy requires both technological solutions and innovation and input from economic, political, social and cultural spheres. Technical issues have human and social components, and there is no one solution to the energy problem.  •   More

Imperial Palace, Tokyo

Japanese Government awards Professor Richard J. Samuels the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star 

The Japanese Government has announced that the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, will be conferred upon Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Poltiical Science at MIT, in recognition of his significant contributions to scholarship about Japan and for promoting friendly relations between Japan and the United States of America. Professor Samuels will receive the decoration from Prime Minister Noda on November  7, 2011, and will be presented to the Emperor of Japan at the Imperial Palace.  More

Greek flag

Economist Lucas Papademos PhD ’78 named prime minister of Greece 

 Lucas Papademos, a three-time alumnus of MIT, has been named the prime minister of Greece, where he will head an interim coalition government aiming to save the country from bankruptcy.  Papademos received his SB in physics from MIT in 1970, an SM in electrical engineering in 1972 and a PhD in economics in 1978. Full story

Philosopher Sally Haslanger receives award for distinguished professional work and community service 

Sally Haslanger, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women’s and Gender studies, has been honored by the YWCA in MIT's hometown, Cambridge, Massachusetts, for work to eliminate racism and empower women. The Tribute to Outstanding Women Award was established to recognize extraordinary commitment made by Cambridge-area women who have distinguished themselves through professional work and community service.  More

Joseph Aoun at chalkboard

Dr. Joseph Aoun, PhD ’82, receives the 2011 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award 

Dr. Auon's talk — "The Future of American Higher Education in the Global Knowledge Marketplace" — took place Wednesday, October 26, 2011, at 5 pm, at the MIT Bartos Theater, Building E15, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge. A festive public reception followed.  A video of the event is available.   More

Robert A. Muh

About the Robert A. Muh Alumni Award

Profiles of the first six recipients of the biennial award, which was founded in 2000 by Robert and Berit Muh, to honor MIT alums who make significant career contributions in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.   More

people with cell phones at a fire

MIT Communications Forum presents fall series 

For more than 30 years, the MIT Communications Forum has played a unique role at the Institute and beyond as a locus for sustained exploration of the cultural, political, economic and technological impact of communications, with special emphasis on emerging technologies. The 2011 Forum series continues the exploration this fall with three in-depth panels: Local News in the Digital Age; Surveillance and Citizenship; and Cities and the Future of Entertainment.    More


Election Integrity: What it takes to make every vote count

Eleven years after the disputed 2000 presidential election thrust the subject of electoral integrity into the spotlight, many of the challenges that jeopardized that election remain unresolved, voting experts said at an MIT-hosted conference. “Election Integrity: Past, Present, and Future,” was convened by the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (VTP), and brought together election administrators, academics and technology professionals from around the country. A central theme of the conference was election integrity: assuring that votes are both recorded and counted as they were cast.

Esther Duflo

Esther Duflo receives top public policy award from APPAM 

The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) has selected Esther Duflo, MIT Professor of Economics, as the winner of the 2011 David N. Kershaw Award.  The Kershaw Award and Prize comes with an honorarium of $10,000 and recognizes individuals under the age of 40 who have made distinguished contributions to the field of public policy analysis. More

School in the News | 2011 Archive  

Collected national and international news about the School's research, people, and productions More

Welcoming New Faculty | Fall 2011

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to present the newest members of the faculty. They come to us with diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their fields: social movement communication, women and gender issues of the Middle East and North Africa, 20th century mass entertainment in Japan, and political philosophy. We are very fortunate to have this superb group of scholars join the School.  More

Noam Chomsky

Chomsky talk launches second year of the Boston Review Ideas Matter Forum Series

September 22, 4:30-6pm, MIT Tang Center | Noam Chomsky will discuss “The Responsibility of Intellectuals,” revisiting the controversial topic he first addressed in 1967. He will also publish a companion essay in the September/October 2011 issue of Boston Review. The Chomsky event kicks off the second year of the Ideas Matter lecture series, a joint project of Boston Review and the MIT Political Science Department.  The last event of 2010—“Government’s Role in the Market” by Eliot Spitzer, introduced by Simon Johnson—completely filled Wong Auditorium and produced a lively Q&A with the audience that was broadcast on CSPAN’s BookTV.

MIT economists Finkelstein and Gruber demonstrate the health and financial benefits of Medicaid 

Landmark study shows the effects of health insurance program: much better health and more financial stability for the poor; more bills paid for hospitals and doctors. Professors of Economics Amy Finkelstein (a principal investigator) and Jonathan Gruber contributed to the study.   More

The deaths of others book cover

The Deaths of Others, by John Tirman, explores fate of civilians in America's wars

Americans are greatly concerned about the number of our troops killed in battle — 100,000 dead in World War I; 300,000 in World War II; 33,000 in the Korean War; 58,000 in Vietnam; 4,500 in Iraq; more than 1,000 in Afghanistan — and rightly so. But why are we so indifferent, often oblivious, to the far greater number of casualties suffered by those we fight and those we fight for? This is the compelling, largely unasked question that John Tirman, a principal research scientist and executive director at the MIT Center for International Studies, answers in The Deaths of OthersMore

Report cites arts as essential to MIT's mission    

The arts at MIT connect creative minds across disciplines and encourage a lifetime of exploration and self-discovery. They are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking and imaginative problem-solving. The arts strengthen MIT’s commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of research and innovation. Artistic knowledge and creation exemplify our motto — mens et manus, mind and hand. The arts are essential to MIT’s mission to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century. More

book cover, A Widening Sphere

A Widening Sphere | Alexander examines how early MIT leaders shaped the Institute 

The men who drove MIT's early development were "charismatic, diverse, quirky, sometimes tragic individuals," says Philip Alexander, a research associate in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. In A Widening Sphere: Evolving Cultures at MIT, his new book honoring the Institute's 150th anniversary, he describes how its first nine presidents, from William Barton Rogers to Karl Taylor Compton, shaped much of its first century. More

FAST Arts Festival Recap

MIT's Festival of Art, Technology and Science (FAST) was a prominent feature of the MIT150 events, a festival celebrating MIT’s unique confluence of art, science, and technology. With strong participation by the School's music and theater arts faculty and communities, the festival presented an exciting, surprising variety of work, embracing past to future, performance to debate, and installations to the unclassifiable. FAST appeared throughout the MIT campus and extended  over the entire spring semester, punctuated by five special festival weekend events.  More

Fundamental Fysiks group

How the Hippies Saved Physics 

David's Kaiser's new book explore how a handful of countercultural scientists changed the course of physics in the1970s and helped open up the frontier of quantum information.   More at MIT News

Tobias Harris

Two from School named Fulbright Scholars 

Tobias Harris and Anna Waldman-Brown will study abroad in the 2011-12 academic year.   Harris, a PhD candidate in political science, will travel to Japan to conduct interviews and archival research for his project titled “The Politics of Reform in Japan, 1955-2009.”  Waldman-Brown ’11, who graduated in June 2011 month with an SB in writing/humanistic studies and physics, will travel to Ghana to research sustainable energy solutions.  More

Anna Waldman-Brown

Waldman-Brown, Fulbright scholarship winner, to spend next year in Ghana

Recent writing, humanistic studies, and physics graduate—and public service fellow—will teach the science of energy generation in Ghana. More

Pauline Maier

Pauline Maier wins George Washington Book Prize    

Pauline Maier, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History, in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has won the 2011 George Washington Book Prize for her book Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788Ratification has been widely hailed as the definitive story of the most consequential political debate in American history. The George Washington Book Prize is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington's Mt. Vernon. Its $50,000 Award is the largest prize nationwide for a book on early American history, and one of the largest literary prizes of any kind.  More

the Great Blasket Island

Robert Kanigel's On An Irish Island — thinking about the pace of modern life     

An award-winning science writer and author of the acclaimed biography The Man Who Knew Infinity, Robert Kanigel has spent his career exploring the evolution of society through a series of unique lenses that reveal what we have gained from modernity—and what we’ve lost. A windswept island village off the coast of Ireland, is the setting for his next book—a story of love and friendship, literature and language, in the early years of the twentieth century. More

Muriel Rambeloarison

Muriel Rambeloarison and Xinzhu Wang win inaugural Isabelle de Courtivron Prizes 

With this award, the Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies salutes cross-cultural fluency—an ability key to leadership and success in today's global world. More

John Harbison

John Harbison wins AMC's Founder Award 

Institute Professor John Harbison was presented on Monday night with the American Music Center’s Founders Award, given since 1999 for lifetime achievement in the field of new American music. Previous winners of the award have included Elliott Carter, Steve Reich, Charles Ives, Count Basie and Philip Glass. Full story at MIT News

crowds at Kresge for Open House

Open House Photo Gallery 
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences | 30 April 2011 

For MIT's historic Open House on April 30, 2011, all the School's disciplines and programs gathered in one central location to present idea stations on leading research, musical concerts, games, videos, demonstrations, book raffles and book signings, readings, tours, talks, and a tent next to Kresge with café-style seating for snacks and visiting.  A great scene!   More

Charles Stewart III

Charles Stewart III elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Charles Stewart III, the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, is among the 212 new members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The Academy is one of the most prestigious honorary societies in the nation and is a leader in independent policy research. This high honor recognizes the excellence and impact of Stewart’s work in areas of congressional politics, elections, and American political development. More

Adam Berinsky

Adam Berinsky wins 2011 Levitan Award in the Humanities

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, is delighted to announce that the James A. (1945) and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities has been awarded to Adam Berinsky, Associate Professor of Political Science. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities by faculty members in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. The prize, first awarded in 1990, was established through a gift from the late James A. Levitan, a 1945 MIT graduate in chemistry, who was also a member of the MIT Corporation.   More

Donal Fox

New York premiere of Donal Fox work at Carnegie Hall  

 Composer/pianist and MLK Visiting Scholar, Donal Fox will have the New York premiere of his “Hear De Lambs A-Cryin" at Carnegie Hall, performed by the Albany Symphony Orchestra. The concert, entitled "Spring For Music: Spirituals Re-Imagined," also features work by John Harbison, MIT Institute Professor of Music. It begins at 7:30pm, and will be broadcast live from Carnegie Hall on NPR stations nationwide. During intermission there will also be an interview with Donal at the piano hosted by Elliot Forrest for WNYC/WQXR.     More

Jay Scheib

Jay Scheib, Associate Professor of Theater Arts, wins 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship 

Scheib was chosen from among thousands of distinguished artists, scholars, and scientists as a 2011 Guggenehim Fellow. The prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship is an award for advanced, mid-career professionals, who are chosen from among thousands of distinguished artists, scholars, and scientists. Fellowships are awarded to those who have "demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts," and are designed to allow recipients time to work with "as much creative freedom as possible." More

clark medal

Department of Economics alumnus, Jonathan Levin PhD ’99, wins the John Bates Clark Medal

Jonathan Levin PhD ’99 was named winner of the John Bates Clark Medal on Friday, awarded annually by the American Economics Association to the best economist under the age of 40. More


Burchard Scholar Anjali Thakkar, '12, wins Truman Scholarship

Thakkar, a biology and materials science and engineering major, plans to pursue a career in global health, advocating for low-income populations. On the occasion of the Scholarship award Thakkar commented on the role of the Burchard Scholars program in her MIT education. "Having attended just the dinners this semester," Thakkar said, "I have learned so much! I love the program, and it is such a fantastic way for me to meet my peers who have similar interests, and to expand my humanities knowledge."   More

seth shulman

Seth Shulman, former Vannevar Bush Fellow and Dibner Writing Fellow, receives 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship  

Historian of science, Seth Shulman, a Vannevar Bush Fellow in 1985-86, and the inaugural Dibner Science Writing Fellow in 2004-05, has received a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship award in support of his forthcoming book project on Thomas Edison's role creating in the electric automobile. More

Daron Acemoglu

Acemoglu on inequality and the financial crash

This excellent podcast interview with Daron Acemoglu, Charles P. Kindleberger Professor of Economics, examines the role of income inequality in the financial crash.  More

radiation check, March 2011, Japan

CIS Starr Forum examines Japan's nuclear crisis and governmental response

Special forum on March 16, 2011, co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies and the MIT Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering.  Three MIT experts discuss Japan's nuclear past, present, and future from a political and engineering perspective. The presentation includes an eyewitness account of the crisis and the Japanese government's response.  More + Video of the Forum

Why Japan relies on nuclear power | CNN interview with Richard Samuels 

Japan has more than 50 nuclear power plants and had planned to build two dozen more by 2030, according to Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science, and director of MIT's Center for International Studies, who has written on Japanese energy and security policy.   More

vanished game

Smithsonian and MIT/CMS launch online mystery game

The Smithsonian Institution and MIT's Comparative Media Studies program have announced the April 4, 2011 launch of vanished, an 8-week online/offline environmental disaster mystery game for middle-school children, designed to inspire problem-solving and collaboration through science. More

Q&A with David Pesetsky 

Why is the idea of Universal Grammar controversial?  What does linguistics tell us about how we think? — Q&A with David Pesetsky, Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

David Pesetsky

Pesetsky named 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 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Five other members of the MIT community have received this distinction as well. 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.” More

Kaiser and Alexander create books for MIT's 150th anniversary   

MIT150 and MIT Press have partnered to bring out two books for MIT's sesquicentennial year—both works authored by members of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. David Kaiser, Professor in Science, Technology and Society, is the editor of Becoming MIT: Moments of Decision. Philip Alexander, of the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, is the author of  A Widening Sphere: Evolving Cultures at MIT.   More

George Frideric Handel

Handel and Haydn Society perform "Israel in Egypt" for MIT's 150th 

Colloquium and concert on February 19, 2011 to celebrate the Arts at MIT. Premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society in 1859 (and last performed by the Society in 1974), this monumental work depicts the biblical story of Exodus. It recounts in detail the ten plagues, and celebrates the extraordinary parting and crossing of the Red Sea. More

Amanda Mok ’11 wins 2011 MITSO Concerto Competition | Q&A

The MIT Music section is pleased to announce that Amanda Mok ’11, a double major in Biological Engineering and Music, is the 2011 winner of the MIT Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. Mok will perform the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with MITSO, on March 11, 2011. A classic, multi-talented MIT student, Amanda is a successful scholar and accomplished musician, and deeply engaged in the Institute community. Joya Abbott-Graves had a chance to sit down and talk with Amanda recently, to learn more about her musical life, and what comes next. More

book cover

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.  More

Kresge Auditorium

Economics Symposium launches MIT's 150th celebration | From Theory to Practice to Policy

This symposium, organized by the School's Department of Economics and the Sloan School of Management, celebrated the role of MIT’s faculty and students in advancing the fields of economics and finance, in putting the latest developments into practice, and in contributing to the design of public policy. A series of six panels, which included Nobel laureates, policy makers, and academic and industry experts, addressed three broad questions:  • What are the key recent scientific developments and the major unresolved issues of economics and finance?  • What are the central challenges in economic policy?  • How can one assess the contributions of, and limitations of, recent advances in financial economics? Story + On Demand Videos

precis newsletter logotype

précis published 

précis, the newsletter from the School's Center for International Studies, covers the wide range of Center activities and tracks the accomplishments of faculty, researchers and affiliates. Features from the current issue include an excerpt from Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti by Erica Caple James.   Go to précis

Beijing at night

MIT strengthens connections with China | Quanta Chair in Chinese Culture established 

The Institute has embarked on a major, long-term effort to promote intellectual and technological exchange...A major part of the Institute’s effort will also be the expansion of the study of China at MIT. A new chair in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, The Quanta Professorship in Chinese Culture, has recently been established thanks to a $5 million donation.    Full story at MIT News

Nobel Prize in Economics

Peter Diamond receives Nobel at ceremony in Sweden

Institute Professor Peter Diamond PhD ’63 will collect the Nobel Prize in economics on Friday, Dec. 10, during a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall in Sweden. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen of Northwestern University and Christopher A. Pissarides of the London School of Economics won the prize for their analysis of “markets with search frictions,” which roughly equates to any setting in which buyers and sellers don’t easily find one another.  More

David Kaiser

David Kaiser elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society

David Kaiser has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, following nomination by the APS's Forum on the History of Physics. The citation reads: "For his outstanding publications that combine technical mastery of twentieth-century physics with a deep knowledge of recent developments in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science." More

Alexander Huang

Huang awarded the MLA's 2010 Scaglione Prize — 
Chinese Shakespeares cited as a "landmark" book 

Alexander C.Y. Huang, Research Affiliate in the School's Literature section, and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Penn State, has won the MLA's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies for Chinese Shakespeares (Columbia University Press, 2009). Huang's book is called a "landmark" in comparative literary studies. With Peter Donaldson, Ford Foundation Professor Humanities at MIT, Huang is also the co-founder and co-editor of two open-access digital video archives, Global Shakespeares and Shakespeare Performance in Asia.   More

Burchard Scholar Jennifer Lai wins Rhodes Scholarship                                              

"Jennifer Lai, a senior who is majoring in biological engineering and music and theater arts, has received a Rhodes Scholarship to study next year at Oxford University. Lai, 21, of Honolulu, joins a distinguished company of 43 former MIT recipients who have won the prestigious international scholarships since they were first awarded to Americans in 1904."  More

US Constitution

Maier's Ratification delivers new knowledge about the adoption of the US Constitution, the most consequential debate in American history

"A stunning examination of... 'the beginning of American national politics' — the debate that explains the way we Americans govern ourselves, resolve disputes, conduct diplomacy, choose leaders and protect our freedoms."  More

MIT students expand horizons as Burchard Scholars

The Program brings together MIT sophomores and juniors and distinguished faculty from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences for eight elegant dinner-seminars at MIT’s Faculty Club. Recently, for example, Professor of History Craig Wilder led the Burchard Scholars in an examination of a series of controversial paintings commissioned in the 1930s. Then, over a memorable dinner, the students and faculty discussed the implications of dueling imagery in the historic murals.  More

Fox Harrell

Harrell convenes thought-leaders to catalyze new research informed by science, humanities, and arts disciplines 

Bringing together the resources of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is no easy task, but newly appointed Associate Professor D. Fox Harrell recently succeeded in leading a joint workshop focused on research informed by both arts and science disciplines. 55 thought leaders gathered in September 2010 to explore the goal of using technology to better understand society—and using the humanities and arts to build creative computational systems. More

Ben Ross Schneider awarded a Ford Foundation International Chair  

Ben Ross Schneider has been awarded a Ford Foundation International Chair, making him Ford Foundation International Professor of Political Science as of January 1, 2011.  More

Amy Finkelstein

Economist Amy Finkelstein wins Presidential Early Career Award

On Friday, Nov. 5, President Barack Obama named Amy Finkelstein, Professor of Economics, and six other researchers from MIT as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.  More

Peter Diamond

Economist Peter Diamond wins the Nobel Prize 

Peter A. Diamond PhD '63, Institute Professor and professor of economics at MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for 2010. Diamond has received the award along with two co-winners, Dale T. Mortensen of Northwestern University and Christopher A. Pissarides of the London School of Economics. Full story and profile

mary fuller

Fuller receives 2010 Levitan Prize in the Humanities 

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, has announced that the James A. and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities has been awarded to Mary Fuller, Professor of Literature. The $25,000 Levitan Prize, a gift from the late James A. Levitan, a 1945 MIT graduate in chemistry, is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities.  •  More

cultures of war cover

Dower's Cultures of War is 2010 National Book Award finalist

Over recent decades, Pulitzer-winning historian John W. Dower has addressed the roots and consequences of war from multiple perspectives. Here he examines the cultures of war revealed by four powerful events—Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, and the invasion of Iraq in the name of a war on terror.  More

Jessie Little Doe Baird

Alumni Baird, Saez win MacArthur "genius" grants 

Two alumni of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences — linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird SM ’00, who is working to revitalize a long-silent Algonquin language, and economist Emmanuel Saez PhD ’99, who studies the relationship between income and tax policy — have been named 2010 MacArthur Fellows. The fellowships, awarded each year, carry a $500,000 purse. •       More

Stefan Helmreich wins Gregory Bateson Book Prize for Alien Ocean

Professor of Anthropology, Stefan Helmreich's most recent book, Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, has been chosen from a field of more than 80 entries, as the recipient of the distinguished Bateson Book Prize, awarded by the Society for Cultural Anthropology. Welcoming a wide range of styles and argument, the Bateson Prize honors work that is theoretically rich, ethnographically grounded, interdisciplinary, and innovative. • 

James Paradis

James Paradis named interim director of Comparative Media Studies 

“Jim is a first-rate scholar, a crack administrator, and a splendid identifier of emerging trends and new directions in humanities scholarship and activity. For many years he has been cultivating new faculty who are on the cutting edge of their fields in writing and media. He will be an excellent Interim Head and wise counsel to students and colleagues alike.” — Dean Deborah Fitzgerald Full story and profile

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mbiti, May, and Fox are 2010-11 MLK Visiting Scholars 

Two new MLK Visiting Scholars are joining the School community for the 2010-11 academic year: Isaac Mbiti in Economics, and Reuben Buford May in Anthropology. Following a year of inspiring teaching and acclaimed performances, Donal Fox, MLK Visiting Artist in Music and Theater Arts for 2009-10, will be continuing for a second year.   Profiles of the MLK Visiting Scholars

School offers courses for Studies in Energy Minor

Multi-disciplinary approach
MIT's new energy minor, launched in 2009, provides a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the policy, economics, science and technology of energy.  All MIT undergraduate students now have a new academic option available:  a minor in energy, which can be combined with any major subject. The new minor, unlike most energy concentrations available at other institutions, is inherently cross-disciplinary, encompassing all of MITs five schools. Courses from the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences include: Environmental Policy and Economics; Energy Economics and Policy; and Energy, Environment, and Society.  

Judith Jarvis Thomson

Conference on Normativity honors Philosopher Judith Thomson

Fundamental ethical questions were up for debate recently as distinguished moral philosophers gathered at MIT for a daylong conference on Normativity — a groundbreaking 2008 treatise by MIT philosophy professor emeritus Judith Jarvis Thomson. “Debate was vigorous, lively, and good humored — in all the ways that humor can be good!” said Professor Richard Holton, head of the Philosophy Section. More


Student Perspective: Why I am a history major at MIT

Excerpt from MIT Admissions Student Blog | Guest Blog by Dora '11, double major in course 8 and Ancient and Medieval Studies. She writes: "There are lots of people here who love the humanities, and who approach subjects in humanities with the same excitement and fervor that they approach their technical fields.... humanities at MIT carries a distinctly MIT feel: challenging, stimulating, and entirely fulfilling.  More

Girl drinking water

Global water issues call on humanities and social science research  

"Rethinking Water" workshop shows significance of research in the humanities and social sciences for meeting global water needs.  More

Sally Haslanger

Sally Haslanger receives two major awards: 
2011 Carus Lecturer, and Distinguished Woman Philosopher of 2010

Professor of Philosophy, Sally Haslanger, a scholar widely respected for her work on the metaphysics of gender and race, has received highest honors from two prestigious associations in philosophy. She has been named the 2011 Carus Lecturer, an honor presented bi-annually by the American Philosophical Association (APA), and she has been selected Distinguished Woman Philosopher of 2010 by the Society for Women in Philosophy. •  More

Clark Medal

Esther Duflo receives the John Bates Clark Medal

Esther Duflo PhD '99, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the School's Department of Economics, has been named winner of the 2010 John Bates Clark medal. Duflo whose influential research has prompted new ways of fighting poverty around the globe, is the second woman to be given the award, which ranks below only the Nobel Prize in prestige within the economics profession and is considered a reliable indicator of future Nobel consideration. The medal is awarded (now annually) to the American economist under the age of forty who is judged to have made the most significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge. More

Esther Duflo

The New Yorker publishes profile on Duflo, J-PAL

Please note that this is a subscription-only story; a precis is available without subscription. Story by Ian Parker appears in the May 17, 2010 edition of The New Yorker, p. 79. Connect to story in The New Yorker

Chiefs, Scribes, & Enthnographers

Howe documents native people’s initiative in their own anthropology

When Swedish anthropologist Erland Nordenskiöld went to study the Kuna people of Panama in 1927, their leader, Nele Kantule, essentially handed Nordenskiöld a record of his people’s customs, beliefs, and history. “Anthropology of the Kuna was started by the Kuna. And they continue to do it,” says Professor of Anthropology James Howe, who examines the relationship between the Kuna and their own enthnography in his new book.  More

rubble of Haitian earthquake

Rebuilding Haiti

Haiti’s past casts a long shadow over its future, according to four MIT scholars (all with strong personal ties to Haiti) who spoke at a Starr Forum held to explore the future of the country. Insights from Michel DeGraff, associate professor of linguistics, Erica James, associate professor of anthropology, Cherie Miot Abbanat, lecturer in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and Dale Joachim, a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab. Learn about the keys to Haiti's future


Critics call Ritvo's Dawn of Green "enthralling"    

The controversy in the 1870s over Thirlmere, a picturesque body of water in Britain’s Lake District, created a “template for subsequent environmental struggles,” writes Harriet Ritvo, the Arthur Conner Professor of History at MIT. Ritvo’s recent book, The Dawn of Green, published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press, explores this episode and its ongoing influence on the way we frame environmental discussions and debates. More


David Mindell on Obama’s NASA proposal

In an interview with MIT News, Mindell responds to the Obama administration’s recent budget proposal for NASA. The proposal would increase the agency’s budget but would cancel the Constellation program, which was intended to send humans to the moon by 2020, and would also rely on the commercial sector to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Full Story at MIT News


Haldeman receives science fiction community's highest honor    

Joe Haldeman, Adjunct Professor in the School's Program in Comparative Media Studies / Writing, has received the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master award for 2010 from the Science Fiction and Science Fantasy Writers of America. The Grand Master award is SFWA’s highest accolade and recognizes excellence for a lifetime of contributions to the genres of science fiction and fantasy. 

Natasha Schull examines technology and gambling addiction    

Natasha Schull, Assistant Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, observed that gamblers become transfixed for hours at video poker and slot machines. What, she wondered, kept them glued to machines until they lost all they had to lose? Schull is publishing her conclusions that proprietary mathematical algorithms and immersive technology are used to keep people gambling until they—in the industry jargon—"play to extinction." More


The Reluctant Traveler | A Travel Blog by Jay Keyser

"I have been to over 40 countries (Africa seven times) and have always come back a nervous wreck. The blog is drawn from journals that I write while traveling. These journals are to me what Prozac is to others." More


Mens et Manus et Mundus:
Global Council plan for international education at MIT

A September 2009 report from the MIT Global Council outlines an historic opportunity to deepen international learning at the Institute, and to make international education a core component of an MIT education.