Said and Done

April 2013 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences




"Meeting great challenges requires technical and scientific creativity, and an understanding of the world’s complexities — political, cultural, and economic. The MIT SHASS disciplines empower young engineers and scientists, with multi-dimensional perspectives and critical thinking skills—so their vital innovations, and their lives, can succeed."

— Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences 



Emma Teng awarded MIT's highest undergraduate teaching honor
Teng has been named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, along with Linda Griffith (Engineering), Rob Miller (Engineering), and Laura Schulz (Science). The MacVicar Faculty Fellows Program honors MIT's best teachers and mentors, who have made outstanding contributions to undergraduate education. Teng teaches classes in Chinese culture and history, Asian American history, East Asian culture, and women’s and gender studies. 
Story | Teng Webpage

Re-imagining the MIT Classroom 
MacVicar Day is an annual event held to celebrate the new MacVicar Faculty Fellows, and to commemorate Margaret MacVicar '64, ScD '67, MIT’s first dean for undergraduate education and founder of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. This year’s event was a symposium titled “Reimagining the MIT Classroom: Experiments With Digital Learning.”
Story | Video of MacVicar Day Seminar



Emma Teng
T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations, and Associate Professor of Chinese Studies


Research Portfolio 
Research is the engine for the School's capacity to help meet the world's great challenges. To name just a few areas of impact, MIT SHASS research helps alleviate poverty, safeguard elections, steer economies, understand the past and present, inform health policy, assess the impact of new technologies, understand human language, and create new forms at the juncture of art and science.
Research Portfolio


The research of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences appears principally in the form of books and publications, and music and theater productions. These gems of the School provide new knowledge and analysis, innovation and insight, guidance for policy, and nourishment for lives.  
Take a look 


Breaking news from the 14th century | Arthur Bahr’s first book reveals a surprise 
While reading online, do you sometimes find yourself going from reading articles on, say, politics to poetry to humor? If so, your experience is rather medieval, says Arthur Bahr, an associate professor of literature at MIT whose first book, Fragments and Assemblages: Forming Compilations of Medieval London was just released by University of Chicago Press. 




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



Helping students master data
Today, data is everywhere. But how can people learn to make sense of it? One intensive economics course, 14.33 (Research and Communication in Economics) is built around doing just that, giving students a chance to think critically about the methods of economics and to turn topics into research questions.


3 Questions with Jeffrey Ravel | Nature and Technology in French History 
"An influential mid-20th-century group of French historians called the Annalistes taught that history was driven by long-term changes between human populations and the natural environment, a remarkably prescient insight in a discipline previously characterized by the stories of great men and the formation of nation-states." 


L to R: 17th-century hydraulic fountains at Versaille; big data; construction of the Eiffel Tower 



MIT UNDERGRADUATES | Enter by April 16
SHASS to award $800 prize for best MIT undergraduate essay(s)
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.
News Story | Learn more + apply  


MIT UNDERGRADUATES | Apply by April 16
Kelly-Douglas Traveling Fellowships 
The Kelly-Douglas Fund supports travel outside MIT to pursue an independent project in an HASS field, or to collaborate in a humanitarian project. All MIT sophomores, juniors, and seniors wishing to travel during IAP or Summer to deepen their understanding of a field in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, or to contribute to a humanitarian project are eligible to apply. 
Learn more + apply



Junot Díaz on The Colbert Report | March 2013
The Pulitzer prize winner and MIT Professor of Writing discusses Freedom University, and teaching writing at MIT. 



                     "Writing at MIT?  
                      Isn’t that like teaching engineering at Juilliard?"

                           — Steven Colbert, mock-grilling Junot Díaz, MIT Professor of Writing

                      Having earned a degree in writing from MIT,
                      I heartily endorse taking EE at Julliard!  

                            — MIT Alumni Dean Miller, SB '91 

                      More MIT alumni responses to Colbert's quip  




Concert on 27 April | 8pm | Kresge Auditorium
Celebrating 50 Years of Jazz at MIT | World Premiere of Corea work
MIT Music and Theater Arts observes the golden anniversary of its jazz program this spring with an exhibit in the Lewis Music Library, panel discussions, and a gala concert at which the Festival Jazz Ensemble will perform the world premiere of a work by Chick Corea, commissioned by the Council for the Arts at MIT.
Story + Concert Information  | Listen: FJE playing Dizzy Gillespie 


11 April | 7pm | 10-250
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. 

April 11, 12, 13 | Kresge Little Theater | 8pm
Elektra, after the play by Euripedes
Presented by MIT Theater Arts and Dramashop. Adapted and directed by Jay Scheib, MIT Associate Professor of Theater. 
Tickets at Dramashop

Through April 28 | Central Square Theater 
Operation Epsilon | by Alan Brody, MIT Professor of Theater
It’s the close of World War II. The Allies have captured Germany’s top ten nuclear scientists and sequestered them at a lavish English estate. Based on transcripts of recorded conversations, playwright Alan Brody's play illuminates the ethical complexity of pursuing scientific discovery at the risk of unleashing catastrophic consequences.
More information + Tickets | Reviews 


Spring 2013
CAST | Spring Sound Series 
20 leading sound artists.  4 world premiere concerts. 13 lectures and demos.  CAST presents a series in celebration of the new: new compositions, new instruments, new groups and musical styles. 
Concerts + Performances | Lectures + Demonstrations  | Spring Classes

L and R: scenes from "Operation Epsilon," by Alan Brody. Center: scene from "Elektra," after Euripides,
adapted and directed by Jay Scheib; performed by MIT Dramashop students



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Rhythm-A-Ning | by Thelonious Monk
performed by the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble

The Listening Room 
MIT's finest music online