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

Mens et Manus America Initiative
Exploring current social, political, and economic challenges in the U.S.

"This initiative is something that is right at the heart of what MIT stands for. We believe in solving important problems, contributing collectively wherever we can."

— Thomas Kochan, George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management



March 23, 2017
Strangers in Their Own Land
A Conversation with Arlie Russell Hochschild
11:30am - 1pm | Bartos Theater
RSVP for tickets + lunch at the March 23 event



In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, it is clear that there are major long-term social, political, and economic issues in America that require close attention. In response, members of the MIT community have launched Mens et Manus America, a non-partisan initiative that is convening a series of research-informed lectures and discussions to explore these issues.

We are asking: What can MIT do to help address current challenges in the U.S., and bolster the health of our democracy? How can we use research and rigor to inform our decisions about engagement, both as citizens and as leaders of organizations?

Join us as we frame the issues and generate ideas for making a positive impact!



Events In Planning | 2017
Vote on questions to explore + add new questions:
Mens et Manus America: Wiki Survey Page

Strangers in Their Own Land | March 23, 2017
A Conversation with Arlie Russell Hochschild
11:30am - 1pm | Bartos Theater
RSVP for tickets + lunch at the March 23 event

Hochschild, Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss her new book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. The talk will be followed by a light lunch, discussion, and a book signing. One of the most influential sociologists of her generation, Hochschild is the author of nine books, including The Second Shift, The Time Bind, The Managed Heart, and The Outsourced Self.
About the book | New York Times review


“In her attempt to climb over the ‘empathy wall’ and understand the emotional lives of her political adversaries, Arlie Hochschild gives us a vital roadmap to bridging the deep divides in our political landscape and renewing the promise of American democracy.”

— Joan Blades, co-founder, Living Room Conversations



Launch Event | Exit Zero Screening | February 16, 2017
Documentary Film + Discussion
Story | Film Trailer

“If we really want to understand why there is this expanding class inequality in the United States, one of the places we have to look is the long-term impact of deindustrialization. We have to think historically about how we got into this position and how we can come out of it.”

— Christine Walley, MIT Professor of Anthropology



Beyond attending events and participating in the discussions, you can become engaged as a member of the Mens et Manus America steering committee, or by serving as a project partner.

The Steering Committee consists of a small number of faculty, staff, and students who:
— Design and execute the speaker series based on input from faculty and students
— Design and execute the discussions
— Support logistics and communication efforts driven by the SHASS Dean’s Office and Sloan Student Life
— Continue to develop new ideas as the initiative progresses
— Join in weekly planning sessions

Project Partners receive periodic updates from the Steering Committee and serve as evangelists for the initiative and its programs and events. They may also serve as extra hands to support the initiative’s efforts in other ad-hoc ways as needed. They may be asked to contribute ideas or feedback to the Steering Committee. Project Partners are not expected to commit to attending regular meetings.

To join the Steering Committee or to become a Project Partner, contact:
MIT SHASS Associate Dean Agustín Rayo:




Sponsored by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS) and the Sloan School of Management (Sloan), the initiative is led by Ezra Zuckerman Sivan, Deputy Dean of Sloan, and Agustín Rayo, Associate Dean, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, with participation by many MIT students and members of the Sloan and MIT SHASS faculties and staff. 

Agustín Rayo
Professor of Philosophy, Associate Dean, MIT SHASS

Ezra Zuckerman Sivan
Siteman Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Deputy Dean, MIT Sloan

Catherine Gamon
Director, MIT Sloan Student Life Office


Suggested links

Story: Mens et Manus America launches with film documentary

Wiki:  Mens et Manus America: Wiki Survey Page

21st Century Citizenship | MIT Resources for Understanding and Engagement

Op-Ed: How to declare war on coal’s emissions without declaring war on coal communities
"The move to clean energy is imperative. In the long run, that transition will create more jobs than it destroys. But that is no comfort to families whose livelihoods and communities have collapsed along with the demand for coal. We owe something to the people who do the kind of dangerous and difficult work my grandfathers did so that we can power our modern economy."

3Q:  Maria Zuber, daughter of coal country
MIT’s vice president for research describes how growing up in eastern Pennsylvania shaped her views on climate policy.

Communications prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences