New Faculty | Fall 2010 

Welcoming a distinguished group of scholars 

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is pleased to present the most recent new members of the School's faculty. They come with diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their fields: digital media, linguistic anthropology, economics, contemporary literature and media studies, French studies, and political science. We are very fortunate to have such a distinguished group of scholars join the School, and welcome them warmly into the community. 


Eugenie Brinkema


Eugenie Brinkema joins the MIT faculty as Assistant Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 from Brown University’s Department of Modern Culture and Media. Her research in film and media studies focuses on the intersection of ethics and aesthetics, analyzing violence, affect, and sexuality in texts ranging from the horror film to “New European Extremism” to the visual and temporal forms of terrorism. Abiding research interests include embodiment and sensation in ultraviolent film and literature, critical and cultural theory, literary theory, and psychoanalysis, while more recent areas of inquiry have explored French gastronomy, sound and color. Her manuscript in progress interrogates the relationship between form and grief, disgust, nostalgia, anxiety, and joy in film, critical theory, psychoanalysis, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century continental philosophy. • 

Fox Harrell

Writing and Humanistic Studies and Comparative Media Studies

Fox Harrell joined the MIT faculty this fall as an Associate Professor of Digital Media, in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, Comparative Media Studies Program, and in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). His research, at the intersection of digital media arts, cognitive science, and computer science, develops new forms of computational narrative, gaming, social networking, and related technical-cultural media. The National Science Foundation has recognized Harrell with an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation.” He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego. His other degrees include a Master's degree in Interactive Telecommunication from New York University, and a B.F.A. in Art, B.S. in Logic and Computation, and minor in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to joining MIT, he was an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology from 2007-2010, where he founded and directed the Imagination, Computation, and Expression (ICE) Laboratory. He has also worked as an interactive television producer and as a game designer. He is currently completing a book, Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression, under contract with the MIT Press.  • 

Graham Jones


Graham Jones is a cultural and linguistic anthropologist, whose research focuses on knowledge and rationality in practice, performance, and interaction. After studying literature at Reed College (BA, 1998) and anthropology at New York University (PhD, 2007), he was a postdoctoral member of the Princeton University Society of Fellows (2007-2010). Based on almost two years of field research, his first book explores the secretive subculture of entertainment magic in contemporary Paris, revealing how French magicians acquire the knowledge and skill necessary to produce their mystifying illusions. His related research explores the historical significance of magic in colonial spaces of intercultural performance, and the use of magic tricks as a medium for religious messages by Evangelical “gospel magicians” in the contemporary United States. He has also carried out extensive research on the linguistic dimensions of computer-mediated communication (particularly instant and text messaging), an area he continues to pursue. • 


Vipin Narang

Political Science

Vipin Narang joined the MIT faculty this fall as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government, Harvard University in May 2010. His dissertation project systematically explores the effect of nuclear postures in deterring conflict and develops a theory for their origins in regional nuclear powers; it was awarded Harvard’s Edward M. Chase prize. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering with distinction from Stanford University and an M. Phil with Distinction in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where he studied on a Marshall Scholarship. He has been a fellow at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, Harvard University and a predoctoral fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University. His research interests include nuclear proliferation, South Asian security, and general security studies. His work has appeared in several journals including International Security and International Organization. • 

Bruno Perreau

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Bruno Perreau is an Assistant Professor of French Studies at MIT. He received his MA in European Studies from Loughborough University and PhD in Political Science from Sorbonne University. He became a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in 2007. Prior to joining MIT, Perreau taught at Paris XII University and Sciences Po. Perreau’s research focuses on gender, sexuality and national identity in contemporary France. His forthcoming book Penser l’adoption (Presses universitaires de France, 2011) puts into question the institutional process for authorizing an adoption. It argues that institutions draw their authority from a heterosexual imaginary of the Nation, which is performed by means of a meticulous discursive control of the family. His other books include Homosexualité, Vingt questions pour comprendre, dix textes à découvrir (Librio, 2005), Homoparentalités, Approches scientifiques et politiques (with Anne Cadoret, Martine Gross and Caroline Mécary; Presses Universitaires de France, 2006), Le choix de l’homosexualité, Recherches inédites sur la question gay et lesbienne (EPEL, 2007), Cinquante ans de vie politique française, Le débat sur la fin de la 5e République (Librio, 2007) and Le Président des États-Unis (with Christine Ockrent, Dalloz, 2008). •

Daniel Posner

Political Science

Daniel Posner will be joining the MIT faculty in November 2011, after twelve years at UCLA, where he is currently Professor of Political Science. His work focuses on ethnic politics and the political economy of development in Africa. He is the author of numerous articles and two books: Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa (Cambridge 2005) and Coethnicity: Diversity and the Dilemmas of Collective Action (Russell Sage 2009; with James Habyarimana, Macartan Humphreys and Jeremy Weinstein), both of which won the Luebbert Prize for the Best Book in Comparative Politics. He is the co-founder of the Working Group in African Political Economy (WGAPE) and currently serves on the editorial boards of World Politics, PS, and the Annual Review of Political Science. Before joining the Political Science Department at MIT, Dan will spend the year as a visiting fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.  • 

Juuso Toikka


Juuso Toikka joined the MIT faculty this Fall as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics. He holds a PhD in Economics from Stanford University. Toikka specializes in microeconomic theory, in particular game theory and mechanism design. His research has focused on the role of private information in dynamic economic and social interactions. Toikka is a Finnish citizen and the proud father of three young boys. • 



Heidi Williams


Heidi Williams will join the MIT faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics. Her research is in labor and public economics, focused on studying the causes and consequences of technological change in health care markets. Her PhD thesis work examined how intellectual property rights on the human genome have influenced subsequent gene-related scientific research and product development. Heidi received her AB in mathematics from Dartmouth in 2003 and her MSc in development economics from Oxford in 2004, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She received her PhD in economics from Harvard in 2010, and is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). In 2010-2011, Heidi will be a Visiting Fellow in Aging Research at the NBER. •