Said and Done

November | December 2012 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences




"The MIT mission is to serve humanity, and the arts provide a powerful way for our students to grow in knowledge and understanding of the human condition."

— Marcus Thompson, MIT Professor of Music


Introducing The Listening Room | Sharing MIT's Music with the World 

The finest music composed and performed by MIT’s renowned Music faculty and student-musicians is now available in The Listening Room—an online collection that showcases the Institute’s deep and longstanding engagement with music. The site launches with 64 recordings organized in four musical categories: Classical, Jazz, World, and Faculty Opus. “The arts at MIT are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking, and imaginative problem-solving," said Dean Deborah Fitzgerald. "The Listening Room now opens the doors for a worldwide audience to enjoy the MIT musical experience."

Listening Room Online

Story + Video 

Beethoven | Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 
Arranged by Beethoven for chamber ensemble
Performed by David Deveau, Senior Lecturer, MIT Music   




Economist Anna Mikusheva receives the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize  

The prize, from the American Economic Association, recognizes outstanding young women in economics. Mikusheva joins two other recent MIT recipients of the Bennett Research Prize, Esther Duflo and Amy Finkelstein. 

Political Scientist Roger Petersen wins Distinguished Book Award
The International Studies Association has awarded the Distinguished Book Award to Roger Petersen's Western Intervention in the Balkans, The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011)Petersen is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at MIT.   

Anthropologist Stefan Helmreich wins Rachel Carson prize
Stefan Helmreich's book Alien OceanAnthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Book Prize, given by the Society for the Social Study of Science. Alien Ocean (University of California Press, 2009) has received two earlier significant prizes: the 2010 Gregory Bateson Book Prize, and the 2010 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society.  


L to R: Anna Mikusheva; cover of Stefan Helmreich's book, Alien Ocean; Roger Petersen



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

Mapping a Democracy | Christopher Warshaw
There is a place for each of us on Christopher Warshaw's geopolitical map of the United States. The recently appointed Assistant Professor of Political Science can figure out people's political preferences down to the congressional district, city and town. 

Jonathan Gruber's path to the center of healthcare policymaking
MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber helped shape both the national Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts health care reform program. Cited in 2006 as the best young health economist in the nation, Gruber is now at the center of health-care policy making in Washington. 
Story at MIT News

MIT Game Lab explores the potential of games and play 
MIT has established new game research facilities in the Karl Taylor Compton Laboratories, where the Institute's first computer game was developed 50 years ago. The Game Lab inaugurated its premises with a September symposium.  
Symposium | Story at MIT News | Game Lab




Sally Haslanger Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique 
Of this book, philosopher Elizabeth Anderson writes, "Haslanger's book provides the definitive account of what 'social construction' amounts to and what work it can do.  [Her] chapters on this subject are models of analytical rigor, while also accessible to a much wider audience than metaphysicians alone." Haslanger is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program. 
Book at Oxford University Press | Haslanger webpage


Heather Paxson | The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America 
In her story of how artisanal craftwork has become a new source of cultural and economic value for producers as well as consumers, Paxson helps rethink the politics of food, land, and labor. Paxson is an Associate Professor of Anthropology.
Book at University of California Press | Paxson webpage

Nazli Choucri | Cyberpolitics in International Relations 
Choucri investigates the implications of cyberpolitical reality for international relations theory, policy, and practice. Choucri is Professor of Political Science at MIT, Associate Director of MIT’s Technology and Development Program, and Director of GSSD (Global System for Sustainable Development).    
Book at MIT Press  | Choucri webpage

Natasha Dow Schüll | Addiction by Design: Gambling in Las Vegas 
Drawing on 15 years of field research, Schüll shows how electronic gambling games are designed to pull players into a trancelike state called the "machine zone"—a state in which the aim is not to win but simply to keep playing. Schüll is an Associate Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, 
Story at MIT News | Book at Princeton University Press | Schüll webpage


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


Chomsky's Linguistics | Special Edition Collected Works of Noam Chomsky
This collection, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of MIT Linguistics, chronicles some of the most important research in generative linguistics, works that have inspired generations of researchers, and formed the foundation of much work in linguistics today. 
About the book | MIT Linguistics

Robert Stalnaker | Mere Possibilities
Of Stalnaker's book, Timonthy Williamson (University of Oxford) writes, it "is a subtle, nuanced exploration of the metaphysical basis for talk of possible worlds and its...relation to the version of formal semantics known as 'possible worlds semantics,' both of which have been immensely influential in recent decades. Robert Stalnaker has been one of the major players in debates on these matters." Stalnaker is Professor of Philosophy in the MIT Departmennt of Linguistics and Philosophy.
About the book | Stalnaker webpage

Fotini Christia | Alliance Formation in Civil Wars
Christia finds that many civil wars, though often described as manifestations of ancient sectarian conflicts, are fought between factions whose leaders are more pragmatic—possibly suggesting that these wars can be resolved if the right incentives are in place. Christia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science.  
Story at MIT News | Christia webpage


School within a School: MIT's Concourse learning community 
In the Concourse program, MIT freshmen explore the sciences, humanities, and social sciences in a small, close-knit community. The single best thing about college for MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellow and Professor of History Anne McCants was "exploring ideas ravenously.  It was," she says, "like being in a candy store for four years." Now, as newly appointed director of Concourse, a learning community for MIT freshmen, McCants' goal is to give today’s students the same heady experience of intellectual adventure and discovery within the context of a supportive group. 
Full story at MIT SHASS News

                                                                                                 MIT Concourse students 


                    “Concourse offered me the opportunity to explore 
                    the broader significance of the technical knowledge 
                    I am learning at MIT.” 

                                   — Jean Xin ’14, brain and cognitive sciences major



Celebrating the Golden Anniversary of MIT Jazz
50 years ago, the legendary jazz trumpeter Herb Pomeroy joined the MIT Music Program and brought the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble to national prominence. The 2012-2013 concert season will celebrate Pomeroy and others to mark the anniversary of formal jazz performance and study at MIT. 
More at MIT Music 

Mark Harvey's Aardvark Jazz Orchestra releases 40th anniversary recording
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra celebrates its 40th season with the release of a new CD, "Evocations," featuring original works by founder/music director Mark Harvey, of the MIT Music section. Downbeat Magazine says, "Aardvark Jazz Orchestra welcomed decade No. 5... in sleek form, belting crisp ensembles and uproarious, semi-disciplined raves."
Mark Harvey webpage  | Tribute article at Downbeat Magazine 




Collected Media Clips 
MIT SHASS in the national and international media 

"I Didn’t Write That" | Op-Ed by David Kaiser, MIT Professor of the History of Science
"The essay, which has been promoted on blogs across the Internet, is attributed to a person named David Kaiser. As it happens, my name is David Kaiser. We are not the same person." 
Op-Ed at The New York Times

How E-Literature Revolutionizes Fiction | Interview with Nick Montfort
The Electronic Literature Organization, currently headed by Montfort, was founded in 1999 "to foster and promote the reading, writing, teaching, and understanding of literature as it develops and persists in a changing digital environment." The Huffington Post recently interviewed Montfort about the origins of e-Lit and its evolution over the last few decades. 
Interview at The Huffington Post


Installation view of Noah Wardrip-Fruin's "Screen" from the Second Electronic Literature Collection


Apply Fall 2012
Kelly Douglas Teaching and Research Support | For SHASS Faculty 
The Fund will accept applications for IAP 2013 in the Fall of 2012. 
Learn More + Apply 

Apply by December 1, 2012
2013 Burchard Scholars Program | For MIT sophomores and juniors 
The Burchard Scholars Program brings together distinguished members of the faculty and promising MIT sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated excellence in some aspect of the humanities, arts, or social sciences. The format is a series of dinner-seminars with discussions on current research topics. All sophomores and juniors in good standing are eligible to apply.   
More + Application

Nominate by December 14 
Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching  
Students, you can help reward a great professor, instructor, or teaching assistant in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.  Send a simple email nomination for the Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching. 
More information

Apply by December 18
Palitz Fellowship for Summer Study in the Hague | For MIT Undergraduates
 The 6-month term as a Palitz Fellow includes the Spring semester in preparation with a faculty supervisor, followed by summer study in The Hague. Areas of study can include any aspect of culture, art, or history in the Dutch and Flemish Golden Age, for example: history of science, horticulture, or cartography; the art market; economic history; or the technologies of print making and book production.
Learn More + Apply


Center: Mauritshuis, Royal Picture Gallery; The Hague; the Netherlands



Forthcoming Events



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Great Ideas Exhibit 
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from the MIT Listening Room
Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D Minor
J.S. Bach, performed by Emerson Scholar, Terence Hsu '13, piano