Said and Done

Summer 2013 Edition
Published by the Office of the Dean
MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences





"Studying music is like lifting weights.  It makes your mind more fluid and gives you the ability to shift perspective." 

— Elena Ruehr, Composer, MIT Music Faculty



MIT and UC Berkeley launch energy-efficiency research project | Michael Greenstone
The E2e Project aims to give decision-makers real-world evidence on the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy and emissions. Cutting energy has lots of potential to help us save money and fight climate change,” says Michael Greenstone, a leader of the project, MIT's 3M Professor of Environmental Economics, and a member of MITEI’s Energy Council. “It’s critical to find the local, national and global policies with the biggest bang for the buck to use governments’, industry’s and consumers’ money wisely while slowing climate change.” 

Story | Michael Greenstone | E2eProject 



How to answer the question:  
What policies will help reduce energy consumption and close the energy efficiency gap?
A well-known form of experimental research, Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) are the gold standard for evaluating the effectiveness of programs in a wide variety of fields, including medicine, marketing, and social programs. For more information, see E2e's brief primer.



Visible Men | Essay by Helen Elaine Lee | New York Times Book Review
In "Visible Men," MIT Professor of Writing Helen Elaine Lee writes of her experience visiting a Massachusetts prison to lead a longterm writing workshop.  
Read the essay | New York Times Book Review | Profile: Helen Elaine Lee 




"Every few months for twelve years, I have visited a Massachusetts prison to teach creative writing to a group of locked-up men.... It is not my job to unravel the skein of their guilt, to judge or absolve. I am here as a witness. I am here in the name of story and its power to transform."  

— Helen Elaine Lee, MIT Professor of Writing 




Dean Fitzgerald announces promotions of twelve MIT SHASS faculty members
The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the Spring faculty promotions, effective July 1, 2013.   
Announcement + Photographs

Heather Paxson wins 2013 Forsythe Prize for The Life of Cheese 
Calling Paxson's new book "a stunning ethnographic foray," the Society for the Anthropology of Work awarded the Forsythe prize to Paxson for The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America  (University of California Press, 2012). 
About the award | About the book


Ghachem and James win the 2013 Lewis Award | Caribbean Studies Association
The honor was given to Associate Professor of History Malick Ghachem and Associate Professor of Anthropology Erica Caple James by the Caribbean Studies Association for the best books published in the past three years in a field of Caribbean Studies. The award citation notes the broadly interdisciplinary quality of the books, the quality of the writing, and the important contributions they make to the field of Caribbean Studies. 
More about award | Malick Ghachem | Erica Caple James

Jens Hainmueller wins Best Paper award American Political Science Association 
The award was presented to Hainmueller by the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the ASPA for his paper, "The Hidden American Immigration Consensus: A Conjoint Analysis of Attitudes toward Immigrants." The Award committee cited the paper as "exemplary in terms of its theoretical contribution, design, analysis, and practical importance."  
Jens Hainmueller


 L to R: Erica Caple James, Associate Professor of Anthropology; Malick Ghachem, Associate Professor of History; Jens Hainmueller, Assistant Professor of Economics 

CIS, Wilson Center receive NSF grant for synthetic biology research
The MIT SHASS Center for International Studies and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars have received a $233,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help realize potential benefits and to address potential ecological effects of synthetic biology. 
Story at MIT News 

Turkle receives Harvard's Centennial Medal; also named a Literary Light
Sherry Turkle, The Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT and the founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, has recently received the honor of "Literary Light" from the Associates of the Boston Public Library, and The Centennial Medal from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.   


Christia wins 2013 Luebbert Best Book Award | American Political Science Association
The Luebbert Book Award is given for the best book in the field of comparative politics published in the previous two years. Christia receives the award for her acclaimed book, Alliance Formation in Civil Wars (Cambridge University Press 2012).  
Story about book at MIT News | Fotini Christia 


Stalnaker elected as Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy 
Robert Stalnaker, the Laurance S Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy at MIT, has been elected as a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy for the humanities and social sciences.  
British Academy | Robert Stalnaker



2013 PhotoGallery | MIT SHASS Commencement Reception 
Congratulations again to all our 2013 Graduates. Our annual PhotoGallery, featuring graduates, friends, and families at the School's Commencement Reception, is available for viewing and downloads. 

2013 Commencement PhotoGallery 




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 

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 

The long history of 'Eurasian' identity | Emma Teng 
Emma Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and an Associate Professor of China Studies, says she hopes her new book, Eurasian, will help people think critically about the assumptions we still make today when discussing ethnicity and identity. 
Story at MIT News  | Profile: Emma Teng


Diversifying your online world | Ethan Zuckerman 
In his new book, Rewire, MIT Professor Ethan Zuckerman encourages us to overcome the Internet’s sorting tendencies and create tools to make ourselves "digital cosmopolitans." It's easy, he says, to feel comfortable on the Internet, among people with similar backgrounds, opinions, and likes. Perhaps too comfortable.  
Story at MIT News |  Story at Harvard Gazette 


Taking full account of the past | Melissa Nobles
“All societies periodically have to do soul-searching,” states Nobles, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, and Head of Political Science. In her research, Nobles has developed a deep understanding of how different nations go about the process of self-examination, confront histories of injustice, and attempt to right the wrongs of the past.  
Story and Profile at MIT News


L to R: covers for: "Rewire" by Ethan Zuckerman, Director, Center for Civic Media; "Eurasian" by Emma Teng, Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations; "Inherited Responbility and Historical Reconciliation in East Asia," ed. Melissa Nobles, Professor of Political Science, and Head, MIT Political Science 


Study estimates extent to which pollution shortens human lives | Michael Greenstone 
A high level of air pollution, in the form of particulates produced by burning coal, significantly shortens the lives of people exposed to it, according to a study co-authored by MIT economist Michael Greenstone, 3M Professor of Environmental Economics. “Everyone understands it’s unpleasant to be in a polluted place," says Greenstone. "But to be able to say with some precision what the health costs are — and what the loss of life expectancy is — puts a finer point on the importance of finding policies that balance growth with environmental quality.”  
Story at MIT News | Story at New York Times | Michael Greenstone

Why can't America be Sweden? | Daron Acemoglu
"MIT economist Daron Acemoglu has ignited a firestorm by arguing that contemporary forces of globalization bar the United States from adopting the liberal social welfare policies of Scandinavian countries... Acemoglu and his colleagues write that it is 'the more ‘cutthroat’ American society that makes possible the more ‘cuddly’ Scandinavian societies based on a comprehensive social safety net, the welfare state and more limited inequality.”
Acemoglu Paper  | Edsall commentary in New York Times 


Do we live in a counterrevolutionary age? 
In his new book, Strange Rebels, journalist and MIT fellow Christian Caryl recounts the epoch-shaping political, religious and economic upheavals launched in the year 1979.
Story by Peter Dizikes, MIT News

Playing with Einstein | OpenRelativity 
MIT Game Lab releases "OpenRelativity," a game-development tool to help developers and educators experiment with the effects of special relativity.
Full story



The Heart of the Matter AAAS Report on the Humanities and Social Sciences 
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has released The Heart of the Matter, a major report (and a film of the same name) on the significance, role, and status of the humanities and social science disciplines in American higher education.  
Report |  Film 

Some Thoughts on Teaching at MIT | Ta-Nahesi Coates 
Teaching science and engineering kids, and why toughness might be the most important quality in a writer. Coates is a Visiting Scholar at MIT, a contributing editor at The Atlantic, and a recent recipient of a National Magazine Award.   
Read commentary at The Atlantic


What is the Premium From a College Degree? Michael Greenstone 
The rate of return on that investment in school “exceeds the historical return on practically any conventional investment, including stocks, bonds, and real estate,” says MIT Economist Michael Greenstone.
Commentary in The New York Times


"Slot machines: a lose lose situation" | Natasha Schull
"Once seen as a harmless diversion, hi-tech slot machines now bring in more money than casinos – and their players become addicted three times faster than other gamblers." An extended feature about Schull's research in The Guardian.  
Article in The Guardian


L to R: Ta Naheshi Coates, Author, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic Magazine, and MIT Visiting Scholar;  Building 10; Natasha Schull, Assistant Professor, Program in Science, Technology, and Society 


Rave reviews for Rockport Music | David Deveau
The Rockport Music Festival is led by David Deveau, Senior Lecturer, MIT Music Faculty.  
Review at the Boston Globe  | Boston Classical Review  | 2013 Festival Schedule | David Deaveau


"The March" debuts on PBS August 27, 2013
MIT Visiting Artist John Akomfrah's new documentary "The March" tells the story of the 250,000 people who gathered on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 1963 to call for civil rights. The film debut coincides with the 50th anniversary of the historic march. 
More at PBS | John Akomfrah at MIT


Ian Condry on NPR's All Things Considered
How a Japanese song topped the charts in 1963. Ian Condry is an MIT Professor of Media Studies, and Head of Foreign Languages and Literatures.  
Listen at NPR  | Ian Condry

Music Resounding | MIT Spectrvm issue on the Arts at MIT
The latest issue of MIT Spectrvm shows the power of music and other arts in the MIT mission: leading new technologies, criss-crossing disciplines, building community, and fueling creative intelligence across all fields.  
More at Spectrum | Article: In One Voice 


Shalin Lui Performance Center, home of the Rockport Music Festival, Rockport, Massachusetts,
led by David Deveau, Senior Lecturer, MIT Music. Deaveau was instrumental in the creation

of the acclaimed Shalin Lui Center. (Photocredit: Theater Consultants Collaborative)




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The Listening Room 
MIT's finest music online 

Selected Recording:

In Praise of MIT
A great jazz arrangement 
by John Harbison, starts quietly, then...