Said and Done

September 2017
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences


“With a focus on making and creating, on fearless exploration and hands-on problem solving, the students and faculty of MIT's Theater Arts community pursue their aspirations with mind, hand, heart, body, and soul.”

— MIT President L. Rafael Reif


Hospitals that spend more on emergency care yield better outcomes | Jonathan Gruber
A new study co-authored by Jonathan Gruber, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT, finds that when hospitals invest more in inpatient care than in longer-term nursing facilities, they can reduce mortality rates.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

What does innovation mean from Africa? | Clapperton Mavhunga
In a new volume of essays edited and introduced by Associate Professor Clapperton Mavhunga, experts “maintain that the story of science, technology, and innovation in Africa is one of resilience and creativity. Innovation, the text repeatedly emphasizes, does not stem exclusively from laboratories.”
Review in Science


Making sense of nuclear threats | Vipin Narang
MIT political scientist Vipin Narang explains the strategies of new nuclear powers. “There is a very human side to this,” Narang says. “These are the most terrible weapons ever developed. The motivation to study it is so that they’re never used.” 
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News


The next act for MIT Theater Arts: a performing arts building
The new theater and performing arts building, W97, consolidates all theater activities under one roof and signifies the Institute’s strong commitment to the arts as an integral mode of exploration and discovery.
Story by Sharon Lacey and SHASS Communications

Photo by Jon Sachs

The building arrives at a time when the MIT Theater Arts program is experiencing exponential growth in stature, scope, and student engagement. Student enrollment has doubled since 2012, with more than 800 undergrads now taking theater classes each academic year.

Increasing equity through educational technology | Justin Reich
Assistant Professor Justin Reich aims to transform educational settings by equipping teachers with the technological tools they need to best serve all students. “New technologies have tremendous potential to improve student learning,” Reich says, “but many pieces in a complex system need to be working seamlessly to make this happen.”
Story by Elise Chen

It's time to make Afghanistan someone else's problem | Barry Posen
“For America, the perhaps-counterintuitive answer in Afghanistan may be that only by reducing its presence, or withdrawing completely, can it advance the full range of its strategic interests.”
Story at The Atlantic

Interview with Eric Heginbotham
Eric Heginbotham PhD '04, a leading political-military analyst of East Asia, is a principal research scientist at CIS. In this interview, he discusses US-China relations, US allies in East Asia, North Korea, and what brought him back to MIT.
Interview at précis

To stop violence, a Boston program pays to quit gangs and go to college
A new study co-authored by J-PAL North America researchers finds that College Bound Dorchester, a program to help gang members get to college, “shows it is possible to make a difference in the lives of older youth and even adults who might be at risk of committing crime and violence.”
Story at WBUR


Investigating the dynamics of war and peace
Erik Sand, third-year doctoral student in MIT’s Department of Political Science, brings a perspective shaped by eight years of service in the United States Navy to his research into international relations, grand strategy, deterrence, escalation control, and maritime issues.
Story by Dara Farhadi at MIT News

Photo by Ian MacLellan, courtesy of MIT News


Wyn Kelley receives a grant from the NEH
Wyn Kelley, Senior Lecturer of Literature and founding member of the Melville Society Cultural Project, has been awarded an NEH grant to be a lead faculty member for “Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age.”
Story at MIT Literature

Hidalgo, de Oliveira, and Canello win James Caporaso Best Paper award
“Can politicians police themselves? Natural experimental evidence from Brazil’s audit courts,” co-authored by MIT political scientists Danny Hidalgo, Renato Lima de Oliveira, and Julio Canello, has been selected for the James Caporaso Best Paper award for the best paper to appear in Comparative Political Studies in 2016.
Read the article

Jeremy Ferwerda PhD ’15 wins 2017 Gabriel A. Almond Award
Ferwerda is the winner of this year’s Gabriel A. Almond Prize for the best dissertation in the field of comparative politics. His research looks into the effects of European local governments’ discretion over redistributive policy over the past thirty years.
Story at Political Science Now


Roadmaps for students | Resources for advisors
These new resources will allow advisors to help students map out degree paths, plan a minor course of study, and identify subjects that qualify for HASS concentration credit. (Salute to Andrea Wirth, the SHASS Academic Administrator for developing these great new resources!)
Browse at the SHASS website

Roadmaps, worksheets, and other resources for advisors to help students plan SHASS majors and double majors, minors, and HASS transfer credit.


MIT ranked No. 2 university worldwide for Arts and Humanities
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Times Higher Education, a leading British education magazine. At MIT, two schools — the School of Architecture + Planning, and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences — as well as several centers, are home to the arts and humanities. 
Story by SHASS Communications

Glennerster named Chief Economist at UK Dept. for International Development
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced today that Rachel Glennerster, Executive Director of J-PAL, has been appointed its new Chief Economist. Dr. Glennerster will take an extended leave of absence from J-PAL starting on January 1, 2018 to serve in the role. 
Story at J-PAL

Announcing 9 new MIT-SHASS faculty
The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is very pleased to announce and welcome a new group of standout scholars. Meet our new colleagues.
Visit New Faculty Gallery for Bios

Top row: Martin Beraja, Dave Donaldson, Amah Edoh
Middle row: E. J. Green, Simon Jäger, Eric Klopfer
Lower row: Blair Justin Reich, Miriam Schoenfield, Lisa Parks

MIT History to host 44th annual New England Medieval Conference
Medievalists of all disciplines and specializations are invited to investigate the legacies, leftovers, and legends of the Carolingian empire in the central and later Middle Ages. The conference takes place at MIT on October 7.
Register online

Evan Lieberman debuts first Political Science course designed for edX
Lieberman, the Total Chair on Contemporary Africa and professor of political science, has made “Democracy and Development: Perspectives from Africa” the first MIT political science class produced exclusively for edX, the multi-university online education platform.
Story by Leda Zimmerman at MIT Political Science

Demo day showcases serious innovation in playful tech
As “playful” technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality become increasingly prevalent in the gaming world, MIT SHASS continues to support innovation and entrepreneurship in those areas.
Story by Rob Matheson at MIT News

A new major at MIT combines economics with computer and data science
The new major aims to prepare students to think at the nexus of economics and computer science, so they can understand and design the kinds of systems that are coming to define modern life. Think Amazon, Uber, eBay, etc.
Story by Alison Takemura at MIT News

“Computer science and economics offer complementary tools. For example, a computer science technique like machine learning can reveal patterns in data coming from a social platform. But economics helps pull back the curtain of why such patterns emerge by offering theories of how people strategized for these patterns to arise.”


To see all featured SHASS media stories, visit Complete Media September 2017.

Technology is transforming what happens when a child goes to school
How will technology change America’s classrooms? The Economist reports on research by J-PAL researchers Philip Oreopoulos and Andre Nickow. "In nearly all the 41 studies which compared pupils using adaptive software with peers who were taught by conventional means the software-assisted branch got higher scores.”
Story at The Economist

Would you doxx a Nazi?
“If you’re going to go out in public and advocate for Nazi ideas, you have to be prepared for people to say, ‘You’re a terrible person,’” says Sasha Costanza-Chock, Associate Professor of Civic Media at MIT.
Story at The Atlantic

Medicare advantage spends less on care, so why is it costing so much?
MIT economist Amy Finkelstein explains that while health care spending for enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans is lower than for comparable enrollees in traditional Medicare, “government payments to plans is far above their lower health care costs.”
Story at The New York Times


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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 September 14, 2017