Said and Done

September 2014 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences





                   "I'm grateful for the blessing of attending an engineering
                   school whose humanities departments are as excellent as
                   they are expansive, a school where it's totally plausible to
                   be an EECS/Theater double-major, and a school whose
                   Comparative Media Studies (CMS) program sits at the
                   forefront of the field." 

                               —   Alan K. '17, Course 17, MIT AeroAstro 




Steriade elected a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America
The honor recognizes a lifetime of accomplishment and intellectual leadership. MIT Professor of Linguistics Donca Steriade is the fifth member of the MIT faculty to be named an LSA Fellow, joining her colleagues Irene Heim and David Pesetsky and Institute Professors emeritus Morris Halle and Noam Chomsky. Of the 110 LSA Fellows named since the honor was initiated in 2006, 30—slightly more than a quarter—are MIT PhDs. 
Announcement | Story on Steriade and Morris Halle, by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Wilder receives the 2014 Michael Harrington Book Award
The American Political Science Association (APSA) awarded MIT Professor of History Craig Steven Wilder the 2014 Michael Harrington Award, given for an outstanding book that demonstrates how scholarship can be used in the struggle for a better world. 
About the Award | 
Wilder webpage

Caughey wins dissertation award 
Assistant Professor of Political Science Devin Caughey is the co-winner of the American Political Science Association's (APSA) Walter Dean Burnham Dissertation Award for the best dissertation in Politics and History
Story | Caughey webpage 

Lieberman receives 2014 David Collier Award 
Evan Lieberman is the Total Chair on Contemporary Africa and Professor of Political Science. He conducts research in the field of comparative politics, with a focus on development in sub-Saharan Africa. 
Announcement | Lieberman webpage



Why study medieval literature at MIT? Reason #1: Time Travel. 
In this 3-minute video, Arthur Bahr, MIT Associate Professor of Literature, transports viewers into an earlier version of our world, recites Old English, and identifies sources that inspired Tolkein. 
Watch video






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, generate wise approaches to health, environment, water, and energy challenges, inform effective policy, assess the impact of new technologies, understand human language, and create new forms at the juncture of art and science.
Research Portfolio

The history man | Francis Gavin 
Nuclear security expert Francis Gavin brings the lens of history to the study of international politics. 
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Bringing big data to bear on international trade | In Song Kim 
MIT Assistant Professor of Political Science Kim finds that the way firms lobby government on trade policy—pushing for more protectionism or more liberalization—depends on how unique their products are.
Story by Eric Smalley

Making the case for Keynes | Peter Temin 
Temin's new book explains how the ideas of John Maynard Keynes relate to today's global economy, and makes the case that Keynesian deficit spending by governments is necessary to reignite the levels of growth that Europe and the world had come to expect prior to the economic downturn of 2008.
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Infrastructure: Metro station, Washington D.C.   


Study shows that city politicians do adapt to voters | Chris Warshaw
Urban politicians in the U.S. are responsive to voters’ views, regardless of the form of government. 
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Inspired readings | Arthur Bahr
MIT Professor of Literature Bahr makes medieval literature come alive. 
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News


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 


L to R: #! (pronounced "shebang"), by Nick Montfort, (Counterpath, 2014); Aboutness, by Stephen Yablo, (Princeton University Press, 2014)Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity, by Kathleen Thelen, (Cambridge University Press, 2014) 


Presenting the MIT Music & Theater Arts Fall Events Calendar 
Fall events include musical performances by Eviyan, the Jupiter Quartet, the Mysore Brothers, Seth Josel, the Ellipsis Trio, Welsh baritone Jeremy Huw Williams, the MIT Symphony Orchestra, and others, and a theater production of 


During a two-year residency at MIT, the chamber music ensemble Jupiter Quartet is performing Beethoven's foundational String Quartets — a rare opportunity for audiences to experience the whole cycle, which charts the growth of Beethoven's vision over a lifetime. Formed in 2001, the Jupiter consists of violinists Nelson Lee and Megan Freivogel, violist Liz Freivogel, and cellist Daniel McDonough.

MIT SHASS Economist Nancy Rose takes position in the DOJ
Expert in regulation and market competition will take leave to spearhead economic analysis for the US Department of Justice.  
Story by Peter Dizikes at MIT News

Welcome to 2014-15 Artists in Residence Coco Fusco and Marjorie Liu
A New York-based interdisciplinary artist and writer, Fusco will serve as a visiting associate professor in Comparative Media Studies/Writing. Marjorie Liu, an attorney and bestselling author of seventeen + novels, will teach the "Genre Writing Workshop" in Comparative Media Studies/Writing.  
More + brief biographies at CMS/Website


L to R: Nancy Rose, MIT economist; Marjorie Liu, author and attorney; Coco Fusco, interdisciplinary artist and writer 


The SHASS Guide to Innovation in Education  
This new four-part websection includes a trove of information and resources about teaching innovation in our School. The section is designed for use by SHASS faculty who are thinking about developing a new class, or a new approach in an existing class. Information includes funding sources, guidelines and timelines, awards given, and examples of successful endeavors.  

Explore the SHASS Guide to Innovation in Education



Very likely, the funniest hour you will ever spend listening to a discussion about normative philosophy
When MIT SHASS Associate Professor of Philosophy Caspar Hare appears on "Ask the Expert," hilarity ensues. Also a great deal of information about normative philosophy.

Tech Lessons from the "Dark Ages"
The so-called "Dark Ages" (476-1000 A.D) generated great technological advances. Wonder why? “Where we find centers of economic activity we see technological advances and vice versa,” says Anne McCants, an economic historian at MIT. “So, shipping technologies are the big story in 7th and 8th century North Sea centers inhabited by Vikings, Friesians and the like...What made all of that trade possible was really significant improvements in boat construction and sailing technology, advances that allowed for both greater cargo tonnages and fewer oarsmen or sailors per vessel.”
Article in Forbes Magazine

Medieval vessels: L to R: early Viking ship; kogge (or cog); trading vessel


Cloudcast on Wilder's Ebony and Ivy, with music by Marvin Gaye
Intelatin produces "Dialogues for a Multicultraul Society with Great Music Included." This audio program features MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder and others discussing his book Ebony and Ivy, accompanied by the music of Marvin Gaye.


How should we prioritize United Nation goals?
MIT international economics professor Abhijit Banerjee offers a roadmap: "The United Nations General Assembly has its work cut out. It must balance ambition with practicality. It must devise a tight agenda for the world to collectively strive toward — and remember that more ingredients do not always make the best cake."
Op-Ed in the New York Times

Something extraordinary is happening in Scotland.
Read MIT Political Science graduate student Tom O'Grady's pre-election report on the coming Scottish Referendum on independence.

Article in The Washington Post

Is time travel possible? What shape is the universe? What's the deal with wormholes? 
MIT historian of science and physicist David Kaiser anchors the inaugural "Ask Me Anything" column for Hippo Reads, an academia-centered online magazine.


Mosaic image, one of the largest ever taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, of the Crab Nebula, a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion; image courtesy of NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll, ASU




College Is More Valuable Than Ever, and That's Driving Income Inequality
“The growth of skill differentials among the ‘other 99 percent' is arguably even more consequential than the rise of the 1 percent for the welfare of most citizens,” wrote MIT SHASS economist David Autor in Science magazine.  
Story at Bloomberg Business Week

Strategy, Doctrine, Organizing Principle
MIT Professor of Political Science Barry Posen and Andrew Ross of the Naval War College capture the debate on U.S. intervention in times of crisis in a 50-page article in International Security, the most prestigious outlet in the field for rigorous analysis.
Story at The Huffington Post




SHASS Calendar
Forthcoming events

MIT SHASS social media
Facebook  |  Twitter

SHASS stories on MIT News
Bookmark this page

Subscribe for updates as news is posted 
RSS News | RSS Multimedia    

The Listening Room 
MIT's finest music online  

Explore MIT's humanities, arts and social science fields

SHASS Publications Directory
Online portal

Arts at MIT Calendar 
Concerts, theater, genre-defying works

The Power of the Humanities at MIT
Op-Ed by Deborah K. Fitzgerald, Kenan Sahin Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences