Said and Done

January 2018

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


“The traditional way we thought about innovation and technology was as if it’s dropped on us, like manna from heaven. [But] technology can respond to the social and economic environment. There are policies which can be used to spur the creation of new technologies.”

— John Van Reenen, Professor of Economics


Innovation, meet organizationJohn Van Reenen
“Technology can respond to the social and economic environment,” says Van Reenen, Professor of Economics. “There are policies which can be used to spur the creation of new technologies.”
Story by Peter Dizikes

Bridging the gap between citizens and scientists
Alumni of the SHASS Graduate Program in Science Writing engage the public in critical issues ranging from medical breakthroughs to climate change.
Story by SHASS Communications

Investment and democratic revolution in EgyptDaron Acemoglu
A new study, co-authored by MIT economist Acemoglu, finds a connection between the market performance of Egyptian companies and the crowd size of pro-democracy protests.
Story by Peter Dizikes

Seth Mnookin on the fallacy of “both sides” journalism
“Journalists are supposed to be dispassionate about the subjects they cover, but we’ve seen too many journalists confuse not taking sides with not calling out liars and frauds or giving too much credence to fringe or extreme views.”
Interview by SHASS Communications



What do MIT SHASS students make?
Take a look at what students are making in MIT's humanities, arts, and social science fields — from better health care services to music composed from big bang energy to tools for a more responsive democracy.
Watch the 3-minute video

Ask MIT students what they are making. They'll have infinite answers. Take a look.


SHASS announces 10 Research Fund recipients for 2018
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 ten recipients for 2018: Nikhil Agarwal, Charlotte Brathwaite, Sarah Brown, Lerna Ekmekcioglu, Malick Ghachem, Frederick Harris, Jr, Mark Harvey, Sabine Iatridou, Seth Mnookin, and Ariel White. 


To see all featured SHASS media stories, visit the complete In the Media, January 2018.

Revisting Dido and Aeneas | Ellen Harris
“We can no longer say with certainty in what year the opera was written, where it had its premiere, who performed it or even what the original score contained — the very things that normally provide the foundation for our understanding of a piece of music.” This article and a new, 2nd edition of Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, by Ellen Harris, were published on the thirtieeth anniversary of the original book.
Commentary at the New York Times

Is the US covering up civilian deaths in Iraq?John Tirman
Tirman, executive director at MIT's Center for International Studies and author of the book, The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars, says: “I think it's the unwillingness to confront the horror of what has occurred on the ground that creates this turning away and indifference, basically.”
Story + Video

The peril of taxing elite higher educationN. Gregory Mankiw
The GOP tax legislation “combines some badly needed reforms with various messy provisions seemingly designed to keep accountants and tax lawyers fully employed,” writes Mankiw, PhD ’84. “But the part of the bill that most disappoints me is a small, simple change in policy: a new tax on large university endowments … If inclusive prosperity is our goal, the tax on university endowments is a step in the wrong direction.
Story at the New York Times

The cheese stands aloneHeather Paxson
“The story of Keehn’s Cypress Grove Cheese is a quintessential telling of the California dream,” writes Paxson, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Anthropology. “Cypress Grove’s heroine embodies characteristics that could describe the American artisan cheese industry as a whole: scrappy, innovative and unapologetically indebted to European tastes and know-how.”
Story at The Conversation

Humboldt Fog chèvre, T.Depaepe, CC BY-ND


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Said and Done is published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Editor and Designer: Emily Hiestand, Director, SHASS Communications
Publication Associate: Daniel Evans Pritchard, SHASS Communications
Published 11 January 2018