Said and Done

September 2018
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
 



QUOTABLE

“The threat from foreign actors has profound implications for the future of voting and obliges us to re-examine both the conduct of elections in the U.S. and the role of the federal and state governments in securing our elections."

— about "Securing the Vote," co-authored by MIT political scientist Charles Stewart III



RESEARCH


ELECTION LAB
Expert panel calls for sweeping election security measures | Charles Stewart III
A National Academies report co-authored by MIT political scientist Charles Stewart calls for fundamental changes to the U.S. voting system to increase security.
Story at the National AcademiesPDF of the Report | MIT Election Lab


POLITICAL SCIENCE
New database shines a bright light on Washington lobbying | In Song Kim
The launch of Kim’s LobbyView.org makes it simple to follow the path of money in politics. LobbyView.org has 1.2 million public records of congressional lobbying, and a flexible interface to help citizens and researchers understand how U.S. legislative policy making works.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News | In Song Kim | LobbyView.org


COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES
How "fake news" was born at the 1968 convention | Heather Hendershot
In the network era there was a deeply held belief that news could (and should) be neutral. The tumult of the 1960s tore apart that notion.
Commentary at Politico


COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES
3 Questions: Sasha Costanza-Chock on the “#MoreThanCode” report
Study of 188 practitioners distills key recommendations about using technology to advance social justice and the public interest.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News



THEATER ARTS
MIT Performing launches: a platform for research-based performance practices
“The inaugural season of MIT Performing approaches theater as a dynamic platform for research-based performance practices,” says Professor Jay Scheib. "It is the perfect opportunity to welcome artists and audiences to W97, MIT's extraordinary new performing arts building."
About


J-PAL NORTH AMERICA | DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS
J-PAL NA announces three new state/local government partnerships
State and local partners in California, Minneapolis, and New Mexico have been selected to work with J-PAL NA and its academic researcher network to develop randomized evaluations of programs and policies.
Story at MIT News


J-PAL GLOBAL | DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS
J-PAL launches sector to research private firms
The new "Firms" sector represents J-PAL’s commitment to bring rigorous evidence to bear in understanding how to generate private firm growth and how growth affects workers, their families, and the broader economy.
Story at J-PAL Blog


"Income differences between countries can be explained largely by differences in firms’ productivity. Identifying policies that are effective in stimulating productivity growth can have important consequences for poverty alleviation and social mobility."  J-PAL Blog



RESEARCH | SIX NEW BOOKS

 

POLITICAL SCIENCE
Why the “solid South" was not so solid | Devin Caughey
Associate Professor Caughey shows why the supposedly solid South of mid-century U.S. politics was not a unitary bloc: Battles within the Democratic Party in the region served as a proxy for for national battles between the two major parties.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News
 

COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES / WRITING
Dispatches from Planet 3 | Marcia Bartusiak
The galaxy, the multiverse, and the history of astronomy are explored in this engaging compilation of cosmological “tales” by multiple award-winning science writer Marcia Bartusiak, Professor of the Practice in our Writing program.
AboutStory by Peter Dizikes at MIT News
 

GLOBAL STUDIES AND LANGUAGES
Paris and the Cliché of History | Catherine E. Clark
Focusing on one of photography's birthplaces, Paris and the Cliché of History tells the story of how photographs came to be imagined as documents of the past, influencing both how Parisians thought about their city's history and how they reconstructed it romantically. 
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News
 


COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES
Life in the Age of Drone Warfare | Lisa Parks
Parks and other contributors explore the historical, juridical, geopolitical, and cultural dimensions of drone technology and warfare. They show how drones generate particular ways of visualizing the spaces and targets of war while acting as tools to exercise state power.
Story at MIT News
 

KNIGHT SCIENCE JOURNALISM AT MIT
The Poison Squad | Deborah Blum
In her new book, Pulitzer prize-winner and New York Times bestselling author Deborah Blum tells the dramatic, true story of how food was made safe in the U.S. and of the heroes who brought about that change. 
Review at Science Magazine


SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY
The Mobile Workshop | Clapperton Chakanetsa​ Mavhunga
Mavhunga examines how the presence of the tsetse fly turned the forests of Zimbabwe and southern Africa into an open laboratory. The knowledge that Africans formed there has been the basis for all subsequent efforts to control the insect.
Story at MIT News


For all recent publications, visit our Online Bookshelf.
 



FEATURE | WORLD'S LEADING ECONOMIC HISTORIANS GATHER AT MIT


1,500 economic, business, and social historians traveled to MIT from around the world in August to discuss globalization, inequality, and economic growth at the 2018 World Economic History Congress (WEHC). 

Interview: Anne McCants, MIT economic historian and Chair of the 2018 WEHC
"This strikes me as exactly the moment when the work of economic historians is of greatest importance. The research presented speaks directly to the questions the whole world is asking at this moment."  Interview

Keynote: Thomas Piketty calls for policies to reduce income inequality
"If we cannot build coalitions between groups with different origins and backgrounds in order to reduce inequality, then there will always be politicians trying to exploit the frustration and build up the politics of hatred."  Story and Keynote Slides  +  Interview

 

"The big topics are the costs and benefits of global interactions; the pressing need for further development of nations that are home to the “bottom billion”; the sources of inequality in outcomes and opportunities; and the connections between political processes and the economy."

— Anne McCants, Professor of History; Chair, 2018 World Economic History Congress



STUDENTS + ALUMNI


SCIENCE WRITING
A leader in poverty alleviation addresses pollution | by Kendra Pierre-Louis '16
Superb reporting by alumna Pierre-Louis '16, climate reporter for The New York Times, making the connection between environmental justice, climate change, and poverty.

Story at The New York Times | Kendra Pierre-Louis '16

  
POLITICAL SCIENCE
Environmental regulation in a polarized culture | Parrish Bergquist
With an affinity for environmental issues and a knack for analysis, doctoral student Bergquist aims to clarify the ways in which changing political landscapes influence environmental policy outcomes.
Story at MIT News


ECONOMICS
The economics of being an early-career scientist | Ryan Hill
Doctoral student Hill studies factors that influence researchers’ professional paths, while lending his voice to support student families.
Story at MIT News
 

CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES | MISTI
Video: See how MIT students finish this sentence: "MISTI is ________."
Watch video




MIT’s pioneering international education program was created by members of our Political Science faculty and is based in the School’s Center for International Studies. Before traveling, MISTI students study the language, culture, and history of their host countries, an approach that prepares students for respectful in-country experiences and for leadership roles on global teams. Story by Peter Dunn
 



NEWS AND PROFILES
 

COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES / WRITING
William Corbett, longtime member of the MIT writing faculty (1942-2018)
We were sad to learn that Bill Corbett, poet, essayist, editor, publisher, and generous community-builder, has died at 76. Bill taught writing, catalyzed literary life, inspired students, and organized memorable readings at MIT for 22 years. 

About  |  In Memorium by Sarah Whiteside Slocum '11
 

GLOBAL STUDIES AND LANGUAGES
Profile of Bruno Perreau: Civil rights in a complex world
Bruno Perreau studies the intersection of personal identity and public institutions. He’s working on a book examining what he calls “minority democracy” — ensuring rights for minority groups “that do not require them to abandon who they are.”
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News


NEW FACULTY MEMBERS
Welcome to Laura Finch, Volha Charnysh, and Bernardo Zacka
Join us in welcoming three new faculty members to the School community this fall! Meet literary scholar Laura Finch and political scientists Volha Charnysh and Bernardo Zacka.
Meet our new faculty members

 


L to R: Laura Finch, Assistant Professor of Literature; Volha Charnysh, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Bernado Zacka, Assistant Professor of Political Science



IN THE MEDIA +  AWARDS

For all entries, visit In the Media + Awards.
 


Image via WBUR Cognoscenti


COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES / WRITING
How fiction makes the suffering of immigrants real | Anne Carleton
Though news reports remind us of the institutional indignities faced by immigrant communities ... deep reading can stretch our empathy and understanding in ways that other media cannot.
Commentary at WBUR Cognoscenti
 

CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
The origins of America's gun obsession | John Tirman

America's gun culture isn't only a product created by the NRA and gun lobby; the nation's penchant for firearms has its roots deep in colonial attitudes.
Commentary at WBUR Cognoscenti
 

COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES
Marjorie Liu becomes the first woman to win comic industry's top writing award
"Liu took home a Best Writer Eisner Award for her work on the epic fantasy Monstress. The novelist, comic book writer, and attorney expressed shock at being the first woman in the award’s 30-year history to win the writing prize."
Story at Time magazine
 


 

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Said and Done is 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 18 September 2018