Welcome New Faculty


Appointments commencing July 1, 2009



Vivek Bald

Dave Donaldson
Eric Goldberg
Martin Hackl
Jens Hainmueller
Christopher Leighton
Mihai Manea
Julia Markovits
Ben Ross Schneider
Kathleen Thelen



Vivek Bald
Assistant Professor,
Writing and Humanistic Studies

Vivek Bald is a documentary filmmaker and scholar whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. His current work, which examines the desertion and settlement of Indian Muslim merchant sailors in U.S. port cities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, is the basis for a forthcoming book, Bengali Harlem and the Hidden Histories of South Asian New York, and a documentary film, "In Search of Bengali Harlem."

 


Dave Donaldson
Assistant Professor, Economics

Dave Donaldson joined the MIT faculty this Fall as an Instructor in the Department of Economics. He holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics, a Master’s degree in Economics from the LSE, and an undergraduate degree in Physics from Oxford University. Donaldson was born and raised in Canada. He has held Oxford’s McKeown Scholarship (1997-2001) for overseas undergraduates, the Royal Economic Society’s Junior Fellowship (2006-2007), and LSE’s Bagri Fellowship (2008-2009), and is currently a Junior Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

Donaldson’s research is concerned with the role of trade in the process of economic development. His PhD thesis work digitized and assembled millions of records of economic activity in colonial-era India in order to quantify the extent to which India’s vast railroad network promoted development. Donaldson is also examining the role played by railroads in mitigating famine in India, and in spreading contagious diseases, and making an estimation of the health impacts of climate change in India.

 


Eric Goldberg
Associate Professor, History

Eric Goldberg received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Virginia. He specializes in the history of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, and his research focuses on the politics and culture of the Frankish and Anglo-Saxon worlds. His first book, Struggle for Empire: Kingship and Conflict under Louis the German, 817-876 , offers a reinterpretation of the reign of Charlemagne's grandson, Louis the German (840-876). He is currently working on a second book titled "Hunting and the Birth of Europe," about hunting and aristocratic culture during the Early Middle Ages. His interests also include the history of the Church, monasticism, historical writing, warfare, the Vikings, and the Byzantine empire. Professor Goldberg has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Counsel for Learned Societies, the Medieval Academy of America, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and he has been the recipient of the Medieval Academy of America's Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize. He was a professor at Williams College before coming to M.I.T. in 2009.

 


Martin Hackl
Associate Professor,
Linguistics and Philosophy

Martin Hackl joined the MIT faculty this fall as Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. Hackl completed his Ph.D. in Linguistics with a minor in Cognitive Science at MIT in 2000. He spent the next two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Lab at the University of Maryland, and served from 2002 to 2009 as Assistant and Associate Professor at the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Pomona College.

Hackl's research investigates formal aspects of the language faculty that are involved in the representation of meaning and how those aspects interact with other systems of the mind/brain. The main thrust of his NSF supported research is in the area of quantification and gradability. His contributions range from the formal characterization of the ontological underpinnings of quantity and degree constructions to the development of novel experimental methods. These methods allow researchers to investigate the extent to which specific properties of quantity and degree expressions affect the workings of language external systems of the mind that are engaged in verification and problem solving tasks.

 


Jens Hainmueller
Assistant Professor,
Political Science

Jens Hainmueller joined the MIT faculty this fall as Assistant Professor in Political Science. Jens received an MSc in International Political Economy (with Distinction) from the London School of Economics and a MPA and a PhD in Government from Harvard University that was awarded the Sumner Prize. Hainmueller's research focuses on statistical methods and empirical questions in political economy. His methodological research interests include causal inference and experimental design. His applied research interests include money in politics, trade, immigration, and representation. His work has appeared in venues such as the Journal of the American Statistical Association, International Organization, Political Analysis, Electoral Studies, and the Journal of Statistical Software. Current statistical projects include work on reweighting methods and estimation in cross-over trials. Current empirical projects include a variety of topics, ranging from a study that investigates the investments of Members of Congress to field experiments in Ghana and the US to examine the effects of fair trade certification.

 


Christopher Leighton
Assistant Professor, History

Christopher Leighton will join the MIT faculty as an Assistant Professor in History. His research interests are in modern Chinese history and deal with the social dimensions of political change. His dissertation explored the fate of capitalists in the early People's Republic of China, and showed how they became integral parts of the nascent socialist system. This unrecognized legacy of the 1950s has conditioned China's transition back to capitalism in the 1980s. He received his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard University. In 2009-2010, he will be a fellow at Stanford's Center for East Asian Studies.

 


Mihai Manea
Assistant Professor, Economics

Mihai Manea joined the MIT faculty as an Instructor of Economics. He specializes in Microeconomic Theory. Manea earned an A.B. from Princeton University in 2005 and completed his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2009. Manea's current research focuses on surplus division in networks, allocation and matching problems, and mechanism design with independent discrete types. His earlier work explored issues in decision theory and game theory.

 


Julia Markovits
Assistant Professor,
Linguistics and Philosophy

J
ulia Markovits joined the MIT faculty this fall as an Assistant Professor in Philosophy. Her research focuses on ethics, and, more specifically, on questions concerning the nature of moral reasons. What are moral reasons? In what way, if any, do they depend on our desires, or on what we care about? Do we all have reason to follow the same moral rules? What is it to do the right thing for the right reasons, and what can we learn from this about what makes actions right? How do reasons for action resemble reasons for belief? And can thinking about any of this help us reach agreement about moral matters, or help us decide what to do? Markovits also has interests in Kantian ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law.

Markovits completed a B.Phil and a D.Phil in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, where she was a Christ Church Senior Scholar. From 2006-2009 she was a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Her dissertation, which defends a loosely-speaking Kantian account of moral reasons, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

 


Ben Ross Schneider
Professor, Political Science

Ben Ross Schneider is a Professor of Political Science at MIT. Schneider received his BA from Williams College, Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University, and Phd from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining MIT in January 2009 Schneider taught at Princeton University and Northwestern University.

Professor Schneider's teaching and research interests fall within the general fields of comparative politics, political economy, and Latin American politics. His books include Politics within the State: Elite Bureaucrats and Industrial Policy in Authoritarian Brazil (Pittsburgh University Press, 1991), Business and the State in Developing Countries (Cornell University Press, 1997), Reinventing Leviathan: The Politics of Administrative Reform in Developing Countries (Lynne Rienner, 2003), and Business Politics and the State in 20th Century Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2004). He also has written on topics such as economic reform, democratization, technocracy, the developmental state, business groups, and comparative bureaucracy. Schneider's current research revolves around two longer term projects, the first on the politics of recent market reforms in education, and the second on the distinct institutional foundations of capitalist development in Latin America with particular attention to corporate governance, foreign investment, and worker training.

Schneider's research has received support from the Tinker Foundation, Fulbright Program, Inter-American Development Bank, Searle Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and Global Development Network.

 


Kathleen Thelen
Professor, Political Science

Thelen is Ford Professor of Political Science at MIT. She studies the origins and development of political-economic institutions in advanced capitalism. She recently completed an edited volume together with James Mahoney on Explaining Institutional Change: Ambiguity, Agency, and Power (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Other recent works include How Institutions Evolve (co-recipient of the 2005 Woodrow Wilson Prize and winner of the 2006 Mattei Dogan prize) and Beyond Continuity: Institutional Change in Advanced Political Economies (with Wolfgang Streeck). Her current research projects center on the politics of coordination in “coordinated market economies,” and the evolution of institutions of federalism in Germany and the United States. Thelen is a Permanent External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute in Cologne and a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University (Nuffield College). She was recently inducted into the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences.

Soundings, Fall 2009