Said and Done

April 2014 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences




“The future of our species depends on better policies for energy and climate issues — and that progress requires an informed public.” 

— Philip Hilts, Director, Knight Science Journalism Fellowships


Mens  Manus  Fortis
Over the past week,  MIT paused to observe the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and the death of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in service to our community. In her moving remarks at a ceremony of remembrance, Sara Ferry, an MIT graduate student who knew Collier, said, “Sean’s life was lost, but his spirit remains and has been amplified a hundredfold. This community has been strengthened by countless new bonds of friendship and support.” 
Stories at MIT News  |  MITStrong  | Collier Fund  The Run: 24.8 Kilosmoots   

Photograph, Dominick Reuter, MIT News



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 SHASS scholar Heather Anne Paxson, an Associate Professor of Anthropology.  
Story  |  Gallery: The SHASS MacVicar Faculty Fellows

April Julich Perez receives 2014 MIT Excellence Award
Perez, Associate Director of MISTI, a program of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been honored for her extraordinary leadership with a 2014 MIT Excellence Award.  

Bruno Perreau awarded 2014-15 Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship
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.

L to R: Heather Paxson, Associate Professor of Anthropology; April Julich Perez, Associate Director, MISTI program; Bruno Perreau, Associate Professor of French Studies 





KSJ Bootcamp cites communications as key to progress on climate change 
The distinguished presenters at the KSJ Bootcamp on Energy and Climate Change 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 climate change crisis is no longer primarily a scientific problem. At this stage, it is a communications issue," said Scott Denning, Monfort Professor of Atmosphere Science at Colorado State University. In his remarks, Philip Hilts, director of the KSJ program said “The future of our species depends on better policies for energy and climate issues — and that progress requires an informed public.”  

KSJ Tracker raises the bar for science media
3 Questions with Paul Raeburn, chief media critic for the KSJ Tracker




MIT Chamber Music Society celebrates its 40th year 
Of the anniversary, Marcus Thompson, Professor of Music, and Director of the CMS says, “MIT has gone from being a tech school to being a place that prepares people to take a leadership role in society. For leadership, you have to understand the human condition, ambiguity, how peoples’ thoughts and feelings are shaped, communities that are different from your own. These abilities are all cultivated by the discipline of music.”
Story |  MIT Chamber Music Recordings  


Elena Ruehr receives 2014 Guggenheim Award 
Ruehr, a lecturer in MIT Music, said the award will help her write an opera for "Roomful of Teeth," an eight-voice a cappella group that visits MIT his fall. Ruehr said that when she discovered she had been awarded a Guggenheim, "I wrote a little song. It's such an honor to get this validation."
Story  |  Website  |  MIT Spectrum: Music Resounding

"Operation Epsilon" production receives four IRNE Awards | Alan Brody
The Independent Reviewers of New England awarded the Nora Theater Company's production of MIT Professor of Theater Alan Brody's play "Operation Epsilon" with four awards in the midsize theater category: Best New Play, Best Set Design, Best Ensemble, and Best Director.  
Story  |  Brody website 

J-PAL, Duflo, and Banerjee receive the 2014 Albert O. Hirschman Prize 
From the Hirschman commendation: "Like Hirschman, [Duflo and Banerjee] have been committed to the idea of producing new social scientific knowledge and so expanding frontiers of discovery while also confronting deep practical and ethical issues."
Commendation | J-PAL website 

Political Scientist Danny Hidalgo wins Kellogg/Notre Dame Award
Hidalgo and his co-author, Simeon Nichter (UCSD) have won the 2014 Kellogg/Notre Dame Award for the best paper in comparative politics, “Voter Buying: Shaping the Electorate through Clientelism,” awarded by the Midwest Political Science Association. 
Profile  |  Paper: Voter Buying

Adam Berinsky and Chris Warshaw receive MITEI Seed Grant Award
MIT political scientists Berinsky and Warshaw have been awarded a 2014 MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) Seed Fund grant, to measure public opinion on an array of state-level energy policies. Their findings will provide new insights into the politics of U.S. energy policy. 
Story at MITEI website  |  Berinsky profile  |  Warshaw profile 

 TOP: L to R: Elena Ruehr, Composer, MIT SHASS Music Program; Alan Brody, Playwright, MIT Professor of Theater; Aberjit Banerjee, Ford Professor of Economics, and Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation & Development; Banerjee and Duflo are founders/directors of J-PAL.
BOTTOM: L to R: Daniel Hidalgo, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Adam Berinsky, Professor of Political Science; Christopher Washaw, Assistant Professor of Political Science 


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

3 Questions: John Tirman on the warming U.S.-Iran relationship
"The United States and Iran have many overlapping interests on which they could find agreement. Part of it is an interest in bringing stability to the region....Iran has for the most part shown an interest in stability. One way to encourage that is an agreement on diplomatic relations, and then to get the nuclear deal done, which I think is quite feasible."
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

What’s next for Ukraine?
The political conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to evolve. At MIT, experts discuss the long-term implications of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea, and suggested that the path forward is fraught with hurdles 
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News  | Related: Commentary by Jim Walsh at WBUR

A scholar who thinks globally and acts locally | David Singer 
Political scientist David Singer produces innovative research on international financial policy. "As a political scientist, my goal is to try to explain why governments make the decisions that they do, and why outcomes seem to happen,” Singer explains. “If we can come up with some explanation for why some banking systems are more resilient than others, we need to get it out into the broader discussion.”
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News


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. 

SHASS research stories by the MIT News Office team
Archive of recent and past SHASS research and feature stories by the MIT News writers 

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 


May 6, 2014, 5pm Wong Auditorium, E51-115
Carlos Prieto, SB '58 gives the 2014 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award Lecture 

Acclaimed cellist Carlos Prieto is the recipient of the 2014 Muh Award, presented bienially by MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Prieto will give a lecture entitled "The Adventures of a Cello," and will also perfom an excerpt from J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009. The lecture and performance will be followed by a public reception.  
Story and full information



Dance of the Elementary Particles | David Kaiser
A commentary from David Kaiser, MIT Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, on the recent news about the detection of primodial gravity waves. 
Article at London Review of Books Blog | Kaiser web profile 

Artists in Conversation | Interview with MIT theater director Jay Scheib
"There is this sense of structured mayhem [in your plays]...some of which seem tied to plot and character, and some of which seem almost ad hoc...That distribution of energy between what seems structured and what seems out of control—is that something you think about?"
Interview | Jay Scheib website | MIT Profile 

MIT OpenCourseWare celebreates National Poetry Month Poetry 
In honor of National Poetry Month, the OCW Blog presents a terrific selection of MIT'S poetry-related courses.
Poetry at MIT OCW

Is the American middle class losing out to China and India?
Entering the fray, three economists — David Autor of MIT, David Dorn of the Center for Monetary and Financial Studies in Spain, and Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego — have analyzed the employment consequences of globalized trade and technological advance.
Story at The New York Times



Bookmark this page: the SHASS channel on the re-designed MIT News site: 
SHASS Channel on MIT News   


Fed of 1970s shows capacity clues may mislead: cutting research
Democracy encourages economic reform, increases human capital investment such as primary schooling, raises the capacity of public services like health care, and reduces social unrest, according to the study's authors, who included Daron Acemoglu of MIT, and James A. Robinson of Harvard University. 
Story at Bloomberg Businessweek 


How "Home Plate" lives up to its name | Abe Stein 
Home plate is not so much a station as it is a threshold or boundary. Most obviously, it defines the strike zone through which the ball must pass to be called a “strike,” a fundamental part of the contest between pitcher and batter.
Essay in The Atlantic 

One of my favorite classes | MIT Admissions Student Blogger Allan K. '17
"One of my favorite classes this year is CMS.100, Introduction to Media Studies, taught by Ian Condry. He's a cultural anthropologist; his latest book The Soul of Anime, examines the notion of "collaborative creativity" in the context of Japanese anime production and propagation through worldwide fan communities."
Commentary in full

The Ukranian paradox | Jim Walsh
The popular view, that the U.S. must punish the wrongdoers, is one part sanctimony and one part naiveté says Walsh. He argues that acting on justified moral offense rather than clear-eyed strategic interest, is more likely to increase the price we all pay. 

The Scientist as Storyteller 
How do scientists draw on the humanities and arts for their research? In this video, geologist Kip Hodges (PhD'82) shares how the literary arts help shape and sustain his research. Hodges is an MIT alumni, former MIT Professor of Geology, and recipient of MIT's highest recognition for teaching excellence. He is currently the Foundation Professor of Geology and a Founding Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. 



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