MAY 2023


Graduate student Abdullahi Tsanni. Photo by Jon Sachs.

Encouraging a scientific habit of the mind
"Science is too important to leave only to scientists, so we need to really communicate that to the wider public,” says Adbullahi Tsanni. “That is what the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT is helping me to do: to understand how to interpret and explain science to the wider public using a broad range of media.”
Story at MIT News


Senior Victor Damptey. Photo by Jodi Hilton.

Using language skills to bridge gaps in health care
Senior Victor Damptey brings his Spanish-speaking abilities to bear as he works toward becoming a physician-scientist.
Story at MIT News


Graduate Student Chloe Wittenberg. Photo courtesy of Chloe Wittenberg.

Pathways to Persuasion
"The American political system is founded on the notion of an informed, engaged public, so we should strive to understand both what citizens think and how they come to these conclusions,” says Political Science PhD student Chloe Wittenberg.
Story at MIT Political Science


News coverage that shows long voting lines may discourage people from voting
Americans who see news showing lines at polling places rather than elections running smoothly are significantly less likely to vote in future elections. That's according to an update from an ongoing study out of MIT's Election Data + Science Lab.
Story at MIT Election Lab

Games with frontiers 
MIT scholar Mikael Jakobsson’s new book examines the not-so-subtle worldview contained in many prominent board games.
Story at MIT News

How a new sound hit center stage
Joshua Bennett’s latest book chronicles how the spoken-word poetry movement took hold in America.
Story at MIT News

Championing health workers to lead vaccination efforts in Uganda
A survey to measure who was getting vaccinated against Covid-19 in Uganda finds health workers had an important role to play.
Story at MIT News | Read the paper



In a time of war, a new effort to help
MIT-Ukraine is part of MISTI, the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives, an international education program that usually sends students abroad on internships with host companies. But that is not feasible in Ukraine while the country is enveloped in war. Instead, the MIT-Ukraine program is implementing other types of projects to help Ukrainians, including working with those who have been displaced by the invasion, inside and outside the country.
Story at MIT News

José Maria Neves, president of Cape Verde, visits MIT
President José Maria Neves of Cape Verde visited MIT, meeting with the campus community and conducting a public event about e-governance in Africa, which highlighted the ways technology has helped his country. The forum was part of the MIT x TAU series focusing on various aspects of sustainable development in Africa.
Story at MIT News

3 Questions: Global Languages at MIT
Per Urlaub spoke with the SHASS Communications team to discuss the impact of Global Languages on the undergraduate experience and his vision for the future for language education at MIT.
Story at MIT SHASS

Honoring Your Native Language with Prof. Michel DeGraff
On the latest episode of Chalk Radio, a podcast from MIT's OpenCourseWare, DeGraff discusses how colonization shaped the perception of Haitian Kreyòl and how it continues to shape the lived experiences of learners today. 
Listen to the episode of Chalk Radio


Benjamin Mangrum, assistant professor of literature, wins the 2023 Levitan Prize in the Humanities
This award, presented each year by a faculty committee, empowers a member of the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) faculty with funding to enable research in their field. With an award of $30,000, this annual prize continues to power substantial projects among the members of the SHASS community.
Story at MIT News

Min-Min Liang, global languages lecturer, honored with classroom innovation award for Chinese language instruction
Liang has also been chosen for the 2023 MAFLT LCTL Innovation Award, in the Classroom Innovation Category, offered by the National Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) Resource Center at Michigan State University. 
Story at MIT News

MIT student Malhaar Agrawal named 2023 Truman Scholar
Agrawal, who is majoring in humanities and science, joins the 61 other new Truman Scholars who were selected from 705 candidates nominated by 275 colleges and universities. 
Story at MIT News

MIT's Global Languages 2023 CLTL Innovation in Language Pedagogy Grants awarded
The recipients are: Takako Aiwaka for "Use of AI Chatbot for Language Instruction"; Emily Goodling for "Resistance and Solidarity: a Module for German-Ukranian Artistic Responses to the War in Ukraine"; Masami Ikeda and Wakana Maekawa for "New Curriculum Development for Japanese I through IV: Optimizing learning efficiency by meeting diverse student needs"; and Hee-Jeong Jeong for "Designing the Collaborative and Interactive Learning Environment in Metaverse".

Richard Samuels delivers the John Whitney Hall Memorial Lecture at Yale 
The Director of MIT's Center for International Studies delivered the lecture on March 31, 2023.

Arnaud Costinot elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 
The MIT economist is among the nearly 270 members elected in 2023, drawn from academia, the arts, industry, policy, research, and science.
Story at MIT News


Clothing brand helps give survivors of sexual violence a path forward
The Congo Clothing Company, founded by Milain Fayulu SM ’22, funds job training for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fayulu came to MIT in 2020 to pursue a lifelong interest in political science while also leveraging the Institute’s entrepreneurship resources to get CCC off the ground.
Story at MIT News



If tech is driving the 'productivity bandwagon' it's time to hit the brakes 
That’s the starting point of Power and Progress, an upcoming book by MIT economists Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson, to be published in May.
Story at Financial Times

Banking crises are preventable, but human nature gets in the way 
David Singer, who studies crises and heads MIT’s department of political science, says “the recipe for stability is to have well-capitalized, risk-averse banks..."
Story at Bloomberg

3 Nuclear Superpowers, Rather Than 2, Usher in a New Strategic Era
M. Taylor Fravel, a professor at MIT, who studies China’s military: “China wants to remove any shadow of a doubt in the minds of the United States about its deterrent.”
Story at The New York Times

Is Time Travel Possible?
SHASS Dean and Professor of Philosophy Agustin Rayo offers perspective on time travel and the grandfather paradox.
Story at Scientific American


2022-23 Morison Prize and Lecture with danah boyd

Made, Not Found: Grappling with the Vulnerabilities of Data

Monday, May 8, 4 pm

Wong Auditorium (E51-115)

The U.S. census is a piece of data infrastructure upon which countless programs, policies, and decisions depend. In fact, many data produced in the 21st century ripples through complex sociotechnical systems, shaping actions far from the point of data production and collection. This is particularly visible when it comes to the development of artificial intelligence systems. By understanding how data are made, we can start to appreciate the various work that goes into ensuring that data are resilient.

In this talk, danah will draw on lessons learned studying the construction of 2020 U.S. census data to grapple with the ways in which political forces shape data in order to shape the systems that depend on those data. This talk will weave through discussions of differential privacy, statistical repairwork, and epistemic contestations about what makes data “real” to showcase the invisible layers of data that we all take for granted.

SHASS events calendar

Published by SHASS Communications
Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
May 4, 2023
Michael Brindley, Director of Communications

Stephen Oakes, Media Relations Manager