Said and Done
MIT SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES, ARTS, AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
“My MIT SHASS classes have been invaluable for gaining the context to understand society’s most pressing issues, such as climate change, and racial and economic inequality.”
— Fiona Chen, SB '21 in Economics and Math
Gallery | Voices of the MIT Class of 2021
Celebrating some of the many MIT 2020 students who studied deeply in both the humanistic and scientific/technical fields at MIT. In this gallery, 31 students reflect on the value of their dual expertise education at MIT — and their visions for the future.
Visit the Gallery
"In engineering, we often try to isolate an issue's scientific components and assume that we are objective problem-solvers. WGS has helped me to remember that every problem we see has a history and societal implications that also need to be considered."
— Abena Peasah, SB '21 in BioEngineering; Minor in Women's & Gender Studies; en route to a PhD and advocacy for marginalized communities
PROFILES | NEW GRADUATES
ECONOMICS + MATHEMATICS
The larger social context | Fiona Chen '21
What I care about is understanding issues in a larger social context," says Chen, who received SB degrees in Economics and Math.
Story by Sandi Miller via MIT News
BIOLOGY + COMPUTER SCIENCE + WOMEN'S & GENDER STUDIES
A framework for understanding the world | Natasha Joglekar '21
“WGS studies helped give me a framework for understanding the world in the same way my Physics and Math classes did."
ANTHROPOLOGY + BIOLOGY
Health care equity | Lia Hsu-Rodriguez '21
"At MIT, Lia pushed herself into challenging scenarios as she strove to first understand and then to help correct some of the profound inequalities embedded in the U.S. heath-care system."
Story by MIT SHASS Communications
Lia Hsu-Rodriguez, photo by Liz Wahid
“With Bio I’m learning the scientific basis and with Anthro, I’m discovering how to approach illness and disease from a social science perspective — a perspective that is grounded in the lives of people and our cultural and social structures.”
— Lia Hsu-Rodriguez '21, SB degrees, Anthropology and Biology
Insurance Era | Caley Horan
In Insurance Era: Risk, Governance, and the Privatization of Security in Postwar America (University of Chicago Press, 2021), Horan shows that "the rise and dissemination of neoliberal values...were the result of a project to unsocialize risk, shrinking the state’s commitment to providing support," which has had the effect of laying burdens on people who are often the least capable of bearing them.
About the book | 3Q with Horan on insurance and cultural transformation
MIT DIGITAL HUMANITIES + PUBLIC BOOKS
The Digital Humanities at MIT | A Four-Part Series
"In this moment of global reckoning, some of the top thinkers in DH ask how digital media and methods challenge, harm, sustain, and liberate." Series developed and edited by Stephanie Ann Frampton, MIT Associate Professor of Literature, and Carolyn Dever, Professor of English, Dartmouth College.
Explore the Series
We invite you to browse books and new works by MIT's humanities, arts, and social science faculty. Music CDs and podcasts are also tucked on the shelf!
Visit the MIT SHASS Bookshelf
Gabriel Magnus Nahmias, PhD student, MIT Political Science
What prompts people to get engaged in civic action? | Gabriel Nahmias
"Connecting with somebody at a personal level is how you get people engaged," says Nahmias. So why is this approach so rare? PhD candidate Nahmias is identifying how to mobilize civic efforts on behalf of more equitable societies.
Story by Leda Zimmerman for Political Science
UNDARK MAGAZINE | KNIGHT SCIENCE JOURNALISM AT MIT
Countering disinformation in the public square
The goal of many disinformation campaigns is to create a fog of competing facts so that people give up and think: “Who’s to say what’s true or false?” To counter such campaigns, experts recommend testing information sources with distilled versions of fact-checker strategies, including this four moves approach.
Story at Undark
MIT announces Fast Forward: Climate Action Plan for the Decade
In May 2021, MIT shared a new, decade-long plan aimed at fighting climate change and helping to decarbonize the economy by 2050.
Read the Plan Online | Download the Plan | MIT SHASS climate engagement
POLITICAL SCIENCE + URBAN STUDIES
Closing the gap | Parrish Bergquist '19
Both left- and right-leaning Americans support policies to slow climate change. So why don't more of these policies pass as legislation?
Podcast on TIL:Climate
HISTORY | 21H.187
Podcasts by MIT history students illuminate environmental issues
What is the history behind the current US climate justice movement? What does the historic DDT panic tell us about "beepocalypse"? Students in "US Environmental Governance" answer such questions via illuminating — and beautifully produced — podcast segments that surface historical context relevant for tackling current environmental issues.
Listen to the Podcast Segments
Solving Climate | Humanistic Perspectives from MIT
Rising stock wealth does boost spending/employment | Alp Simsek
Simsek's study brings new data to a longstanding question with findings policymakers can apply. The boost is found almost entirely in nontradable industries, where location matters. The restaurant industry, construction, and many services are nontradable, for example, while much manufacturing activity is tradable.
Story by Peter Dizikes for MIT News | Paper
MAKING A JUST SOCIETY
Image via Undark magazine
Oximeters used to be designed for equity. What happened? | Amy Moran-Thomas
Moran-Thomas's research during the pandemic drew attention to the racial bias built into pulse oxes. In a new article, she says that calls to create a fairer device are missing one thing: It once existed. This is the story of how oximeters of the 1970s that worked equitably were somehow mostly erased from medical history.
Commentary in Wired magazine
UNDARK MAGAZINE | KSJ AT MIT
Book Review: Unlocking the World of Autism
In An Outsider’s Guide to Humans, Camilla Pang uses science and her own experience to explore life on the spectrum.
Making A Just Society
Ongoing Series from MIT SHASS
Study reveals mixed reactions about Covid-19 health disparities | Evan Lieberman
Upon learning they are more impacted by Covid-19, Black Americans favor more government intervention. Most White Americans agree, but not all. The disparities suggest some new approaches for public health messaging.
Story by Peter Dizikes, on MIT News
Is immunity a ticking clock? | Carolyn Johnson '04
Step one: To identify what level of immunity is too low to protect people. An overview article on current thinking, research, and plans for Covid-19 booster shots. Johnson '04, is an MIT Science Writing alumna, and a health/science reporter for The Washington Post.
Article in The Washington Post
MIT MUSIC AND WRITING
Diary of a Pandemic Year | World premiere at MIT Commencement 2021
Composed by Jamshied Sharifi ’83 and conducted by Frederick Harris, Jr., Director in MIT Music and Theater Arts, the virtual performance features seven MIT musical groups. The lyrics are based on poems written during the pandemic by six students, complied and edited by poet Erica Funkhouser, who teaches in the the Writing program.
Watch video | List of performers | Composer note
FOR MORE SCHOOL NEWS
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A handy portal to all the School's publications and channels
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Directory: MIT SHASS Newsletters + Channels
Handy portal to all the School's publications and channels
Browse the Directory
Making a Better World: Impact and Research
Browse 12 sectors
Making a Just Society
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MIT Climate Portal
A major source of research, innovation, and discussion
Published by SHASS Communications
Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Editor and Designer: Emily Hiestand
Publication Associate: Alison Lanier
Published 10 June 2021