Mens et Manus America Initiative
Exploring current social, political, and economic challenges in the U.S.
 

"This initiative is something that is right at the heart of what MIT stands for. We believe in solving important problems, contributing collectively wherever we can."

— Thomas Kochan, George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management


 

ABOUT


This non-partisan MIT initiative convenes research-informed lectures and discussions to explore major, long-term social, political, and economic issues in the U.S. We are asking: What can MIT do to help address these challenges and bolster the health of our democracy? How can we use research to inform our decisions about engagement, both as citizens and as leaders of organizations? Join us as we frame the issues and generate ideas for making a positive impact.
 



FORTHCOMING EVENTS


New events are in planning and information will be published shortly. You are invited to join us for forthcoming MMA events. Lunch or dinner is provided at each gathering, so please click on the event title to register for free tickets, and for more information.

Mens et Manus America is sponsored by the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences with the MIT Sloan School of Management.
 



PREVIOUS EVENTS



Tuesday, November 7
Taking on the Divide: Shared Prosperity in Rural America
Insights from four leaders working to revitalize rural areas

Rural America is often stereotyped as a set of regions left hopeless by economic forces beyond their control. This month, an MIT audience was asked to suspend such stereotypes and listen as four community development leaders painted a more nuanced portrait of America’s rural areas. "There’s an enormous amount of innovation across this country and a lot of strength," said Barbara Dyer, Senior Lecturer and Executive Director, Good Companies, Good jobs Initiative, at the MIT Sloan of Management.

Story + Video + Links to Organizations
 



________________________________________________________


Wednesday, November 1
US Tax Reform: Options and Impediments
Insights from MIT professors James Poterban and Michelle Hanlon

MIT faculty members helped demystify the U.S. tax system and illuminate its possible restructuring on November 1 in a talk titled “U.S. Tax Reform: Options and Impediments.” The event took place just one day before GOP leaders in Washington unveiled a sweeping new tax reform bill. “The politics of tax reform are extremely difficult, especially if you are trying to do it in a revenue-neutral way,” said James Poterba, the Mitsui Professor of Economics in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS). “The devil is in the details.”

Event Story + Video

President Reif's Letter regarding federal tax proposals and the MIT community
"To the members of the MIT community: The tax legislation now pending in Congress contains several provisions that could have damaging impact on members of our community and the Institute as a whole. Because the situation is complex and fluid, I write to offer our current assessment of which provisions concern us the most and why, and to let you know that MIT is actively following developments in DC and striving to achieve a better outcome. If you share our concern, you can express your views to Congressional leaders."
 

________________________________________________________


Tuesday, October 17
Data, Technology, and the Integrity of Elections
Insights from Charles Stewart III and Eitan D. Hersh

Various concerns about the security of U.S. elections have arisen over the past two decades, some more significant that others. While many studies have shown that voter fraud, for instance, is vanishingly rare in the U.S., what about the state of electoral administration, lost votes, and cyber attacks? On Oct. 16, two experts teamed up at MIT to share insights from their research on what is and isn't working in America's electoral system.

Event Story
 



"The number of votes lost during collection and counting has been cut in half since 2000. 'A lot of good things have happened," Stewart said — including better voting machines, modernized registration systems, and an increase in the professionalization of election administration."

________________________________________________________
 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Breaking Through Gridlock: The Power of Conversation in a Polarized World
A conversation with Jason Jay, Senior Lecturer, MIT Sloan School

Think of the last time you tried to talk to someone about social, environment, or political issues where you didn't already agree. How well did it go? These conversations are critical for our families, organizations, and democracy, but too often get stuck. MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Jason Jay will hold an interactive workshop based on his new book Breaking Through Gridlock, giving personalized guidance on how to get unstuck. Join us if you are ready to go beyond "preaching to the choir" and lead change across the lines. 

Event Story



________________________________________________________
 

Monday, May 1, 2017
Can We Solve the Politics of Misinformation?
A Conversation on their research with Ezra Zuckerman Sivan and Adam Berinsky
Moderator: Agustín Rayo, Professor of Philosophy

Why do voters believe lies and questionable political claims? 
In the wake of recent elections, both in the US and abroad, many observers have questioned why voters place their trust in candidates who disregard the facts and the truth. Berinsky’s recent research provides striking evidence that voters on either side of a partisan divide are apt to interpret their candidate’s false statements as true. Zuckerman’s recent research demonstrates that when voters feel that the political process is unjust, they appreciate lying demagoguery as symbolic protest.

Event Story



________________________________________________________


March 23, 2017
Strangers in Their Own Land
A Conversation with Arlie Russell Hochschild
11:30am - 1pm | Bartos Theater

Hochschild, Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, discussed her new book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. The talk was followed by discussion and a book signing. One of the most influential sociologists of her generation, Hochschild is the author of nine books, including The Second ShiftThe Time BindThe Managed Heartand The Outsourced Self.
About the book | New York Times review

Event Story | Event Video
 

“In her attempt to climb over the ‘empathy wall’ and understand the emotional lives of her political adversaries, Arlie Hochschild gives us a vital roadmap to bridging the deep divides in our political landscape and renewing the promise of American democracy.”

— Joan Blades, co-founder, Living Room Conversations
________________________________________________________


February 16, 2017
Launch Event | Exit Zero Screening 
Documentary Film + Discussion

Event StoryFilm Trailer
 

“If we really want to understand why there is this expanding class inequality in the United States, one of the places we have to look is the long-term impact of deindustrialization. We have to think historically about how we got into this position and how we can come out of it.”

— Christine Walley, MIT Professor of Anthropology


 

OPPORTUNITIES

 


Mens et Manus America Summer Action Learning Opportunity


Mens et Manus America, Sloan Good Companies Good Jobs Initiative, and the Action Learning office are pleased to announce a summer internship opportunity focused on social impact, economic development, and jobs in de-industrialized/rural regions of the U.S.
 
Follow this link for further details and write to Chris Kelly (ckelly@mit.edu) or Barbara Dyer (bdyer@mit.edu) with any questions.
 



HOW YOU CAN PARTICIPATE


Beyond attending events and participating in the discussions, you can become engaged as a member of the Mens et Manus America steering committee, or by serving as a project partner.
 

The Steering Committee consists of a small number of faculty, staff, and students who:
— Design and execute the speaker series based on input from faculty and students
— Design and execute the discussions
— Support logistics and communication efforts driven by the SHASS Dean’s Office and Sloan Student Life
— Continue to develop new ideas as the initiative progresses
— Join in weekly planning sessions

Project Partners receive periodic updates from the Steering Committee and serve as evangelists for the initiative and its programs and events. They may also serve as extra hands to support the initiative’s efforts in other ad-hoc ways as needed. They may be asked to contribute ideas or feedback to the Steering Committee. Project Partners are not expected to commit to attending regular meetings.

To join the Steering Committee or to become a Project Partner, contact: 
MIT SHASS Associate Dean Agustín Rayo: arayo@mit.edu
 



LEADERSHIP

 

Sponsored by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (MIT SHASS) and the Sloan School of Management (Sloan), the initiative is led by Ezra Zuckerman Sivan, Deputy Dean of Sloan, and Agustín Rayo, Associate Dean, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, with participation by many MIT students and members of the Sloan and MIT SHASS faculties and staff. 

Agustín Rayo
Professor of Philosophy, Associate Dean, MIT SHASS

Ezra Zuckerman Sivan
Siteman Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Deputy Dean, MIT Sloan

Catherine Gamon
Director, MIT Sloan Student Life Office

Communications
Office of the Dean, MIT SHASS
 


 

 

Suggested links

 

21st Century Citizenship: MIT Resources for Understanding and Engagement

Report from the Brennan Center at NYU about "vote fraud"
"It is important to protect the integrity of our elections. But we must be careful not to undermine free and fair access to the ballot in the name of preventing voter fraud... [E]xamination after examination of voter fraud claims reveal fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators."

Op-Ed: How to declare war on coal’s emissions without declaring war on coal communities
"The move to clean energy is imperative. In the long run, that transition will create more jobs than it destroys. But that is no comfort to families whose livelihoods and communities have collapsed along with the demand for coal. We owe something to the people who do the kind of dangerous and difficult work my grandfathers did so that we can power our modern economy."

3Q: Maria Zuber, daughter of coal country
MIT’s vice president for research describes how growing up in eastern Pennsylvania shaped her views on climate policy.
 



Communications prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand; Senior Writer: Kathryn O'Neill; Associate Designer: Andrea Golden
Office of the Dean, MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences