Said and Done
May 2013 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
"Today, unprecedented numbers of incoming students — 80 percent — arrive at MIT with deep experience in the arts, especially in music. In that context, the arts have never been more integral to the life of MIT nor more deserving of our focus and attention."
— Rafael Reif, President of MIT
The Brahms Requiem at MIT | A Community Gathering for Remembrance and Healing
In the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon tragedies, hundreds of voices from the area's choruses joined the MIT choral groups in singing the Brahms "German Requiem" to honor the fallen, help heal the wounded, and give hope for peace. Among those remembered was MIT's own much-loved and admired Patrol Officer Sean A. Collier.
Honoring MIT Officer Sean Collier
MIT SPECTRVM | SPRING 2013
The stories and images in the latest issue of MIT Spectrvm register a watershed moment — illuminating why the arts are such a powerful agent in the MIT mission: leading new technologies, criss-crossing disciplines, transcending bias, building community, and fueling creative intelligence across all fields.
Spectrum | Article: In One Voice
PBS to broadcast "Awakening"— first ever MIT music documentary—on May 31, 2013
"Awakening: Evoking the Arab Spring through Music," will air on WGBH Boston, Friday, May 31 at 10:30pm. The 30-minute film features the MIT world premiere of "Awakening," a three-movement work by MIT alumnus and New York-based composer Jamshied Sharifi, performed by the MIT Wind Ensemble, led by Dr. Frederick E. Harris, Director of the ensemble, and Lecturer in Music and Theater Arts.
Story | Video Preview
RESEARCH FEATURE | MAKING FACTORIES SAFER
Richard Locke | goverments and private sector must collaborate for safe factories
Locke has made hundreds of visits to factories around the world, heading a team of researchers. His conclusion, detailed in a new book, The Promise and Limits of Private Power: private oversight by multinational firms is not enough to eliminate workplace dangers and inequities. governments must uphold better factory standards as well. Protecting workers involved in the global supply chain will require three things: actions by firms themselves; long-standing supply-chain relationships, and government effort.
Story at MIT News | Article at Boston Review
Why you shouldn't stop buying from Bangladesh
Work by MIT's Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo among others, suggests that for people in the developing world, a steady paycheck is better than small-scale farming, or microenterprise, or scraping by in the informal sector—just as it is preferred by most in the rich world.
Story at Bloomsberg
After Rana Plaza | The New Yorker
Commentary based on research by MIT political scientist Richard Locke
The New Yorker
HONORS AND AWARDS
Stephanie Frampton awarded The Rome Prize 2013
Assistant Professor of Literature Stephanie Ann Frampton has been awarded the Rome Prize by the American Academy in Rome. The award will provide funding for Frampton to spend 11 months living and working at the academy, a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. Frampton will spend her time in Italy researching the history of writing in the ancient Roman world.
Graham Jones receives the 2013 Edgerton Award
The MIT Faculty has presented Assistant Professor of Anthropology Graham Jones with the Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award for his commitment to excellence and his embodiment of the values espoused by the legendary MIT Professor Harold E. Edgerton.
Shankar Raman awarded $25K Levitan Prize in the Humanities
Raman, Associate Professor of Literature, has received the 2013 James A. ('45) and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities. The $25,000 prize is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities. he prize will support Raman's development of his manuscript-in-progress, Before the Two Cultures: Literature and Mathematics in Early Modern Europe.
L to R: Graham Jones, Shankar Raman, Stephanie Frampton
New SHASS leaders announced
Deborah Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has announced the appointment of eight faculty members to new leadership roles.
Suzanne Berger receives MIT's Gordon Y. Billard Award for service of outstanding merit
Berger is the Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science. She co-chairs the new Production in the Innovation Economy project, and directs the MIT-France program in the MIT Science and Technology Initiatives.
Berger Webpage | Billard Award
LEVITAN AWARDS | 2013
Seven SHASS educators receive Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Dean Fitzgerald has announced the recipients of the 2013 James A. and Ruth Levitan Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Warmest congratulations to these seven educators and colleagues, who represent the very best academic leadership in the School.
SHASS RESEARCH FUND | 2013
Eight faculty receive SHASS Research Fund grants
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.
COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES/WRITING
Coates wins National Magazine Award
Author, Atlantic Senior Editor, and MLK Visiting Scholar Ta-Nehisi Coates has won the National Magazine Award for his article "Fear of a Black President," in The Atlantic (October 2012).
Essay at The Atlantic | Conversation with Coates | Blog at The Atlantic
MIT Science Writing Alum wins Pulitzer Prize
Lisa Song ’08, SM ’09 won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, along with two other writers working for InsideClimate, a web-based news organization that covers energy and environmental science.
More at Slice of MIT
Elizabeth Wood essay cited for influence
MIT historian Elizabeth Wood's essay "Performing Memory: Vladmir Putin and the Celebration of WWII in Russia," has been named one of the ten most read/influential Slavic journal articles of 2012.
Article free online through 1 July, 2013
Jay Scheib receives MAP Fund grant
Writer, director, and designer of plays, operas and installations, and winner of a 2012 Obie, Jay Scheib, Associate Professor of Theater Arts, was awarded a MAP Fund grant to support a production of Platonov, or the Disinherited.
COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES/WRITING
OpenDocLab receives National Endowment for the Arts grant
The Open Documentary Lab, a program of SHASS Comparative Media Studies/Writing, has received an NEA ArtWorks grant for the development of an online, curated database of interactive documentaries.
More | OpenDocLab artists/affiliates
MELLON POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS
Two new Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows join the MIT community
With the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, the School awards up to three fellowships each year to promising young scholars working at the intersection of humanities disciplines, or between humanities and other disciplines. We are delighted to welcome our two new Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows for 2013-2015 — Meredith Schweig and Maria Vidart-Delgado.
Center: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Senior Editor, The Atlantic; and MIT Visiting Scholar
FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES
John G. Mikhael ’13 wins the Isabelle de Courtivron Prize
Math major Mikhael received the prize for his essay, “Lost in Translation,” which explores Mikhael’s experience growing up—first in the United States and then in Lebanon—and his return to the States to study at MIT. The prize, which includes a $400 award, honors cross-cultural fluency — an ability key to leadership and success in today's global world.
Six MIT undergraduates win Kelly-Douglas Traveling Fellowships
The Kelly-Douglas Fund awards fellowships that provide up to $1,000 in funds to support travel beyond MIT to pursue a project in a HASS field, or to collaborate in a humanitarian project.
LITERATURE | WRITING
Three MIT undergraduates win Kelly Essay Awards
SHASS is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 Kelly Essay Award: Alicia Singham Goodwin '14, and Michelle Dion '13 are co-winners of the Kelly Essay Prize; Caitlin Mackey '15, has received the Honorable Mention. The Kelly Essay Award, which honors outstanding achievement in writing by MIT undergraduate students with two prizes of up to $800 each, is one indication of the high value MIT places on excellent communication skills.
L to R: Kelly Essay Prize winners Alicia Singham Goodwin 14, Michelle Dion '13, Caitlin Mackey '15
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.
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
Sandy Alexandre | The Properties of Violence
In her first book, The Properties of Violence (University Press of Mississippi), MIT professor Sandy Alexandre studies the literary record to give new ways to discuss and understand the history of violence against blacks in the United States—revealing in particular the territorial impacts of lynching, including the capacity to uproot blacks and dispossess them of property, while also denying black Americans access to particular places.
Story at MIT News
Robert Townsend | Deep in the Field: The Townsend Thai Project
For 20 years, MIT economist Robert Townsend has explored the links between household finances and economic growth in rural Thailand. His new book, Chronicles from the Field, based on one of the most extensive datasets in the developing world, provides a template for policies that can help alleviate poverty.
Story at MIT News
How Medicaid affects adult health
MIT study shows that health insurance helps lower-income Americans avoid depression, diabetes, major financial shocks, but does not appear to reduce the prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Story at MIT News
L and R: Cover details, from Chronicles From The Field, by Robert Townsend
DeGraff catalyzes MIT/Haiti joint agreement to promote Kreyol-language STEM education
The idea that more Haitian education should occur in Kreyòl is a longtime belief of MIT linguistics professor Michel DeGraff, a native of Haiti. The initiative is being funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and by MIT.
JAMEEL-POVERTY ACTION LAB
J-PAL Review research featured in Science
"The Challenge of Education and Learning in the Developing World," characterizes the challenges to improving learning outcomes in developing countries. This is "the first time J-PAL's cost effectiveness analysis of programs that aim to improve student learning has been released, and to the best of our knowledge, this is the first analysis of its kind," says J-PAL policy analyst Conner Brannen.
More | Article in Science
Standing ovation for John Harbison's opera "Gatsby"
"Harbison’s remarkably polyglot score captures the Jazz Age insouciance and gaiety immortalized by Fitzgerald’s novel, but also the hollowness beneath its glittering facades, the darkness at the heart of this parable, the strength of its moral undertow."
Review at The Boston Globe
L and R: scenes from new production of Harbison's opera "Gatsby"; Center: John Harbison
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Selection from the Listening Room
MIT's finest music online
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Performed by David Deveau, MIT Senior Lecturer in Music