New Faculty | Fall 2013
Welcoming a superb group of scholars 

The School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences is very pleased to present the newest members of the faculty. They come to us with diverse backgrounds and vast knowledge in their areas of research: history of South Asia and South Asian diasporas; comparative politics; French history and visual culture; history of law focusing on slavery, abolition, and the Atlantic revolutionary period; international law; and Classical Greek and contemporary rhetorical theory, and comparative media. 

Please join us in welcoming these excellent scholars into the School community.  




Sana Aiyar   


Sana Aiyar joins MIT's History faculty in the Fall of 2013 as an Assistant Professor. An historian of modern South Asia, Sana received her PhD from Harvard University in 2009. She held an Andrew Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University in 2009-10; from 2010-2013 she was Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her broad research and teaching interests lie in the regional and transnational history of South Asia and South Asian diasporas, with a particular focus on colonial and postcolonial politics and society in the Indian Ocean.

Her forthcoming book with Harvard University Press explores the interracial and extraterritorial diasporic political consciousness of South Asians in Kenya (c. 1895 to 1968) who mediated constructions of racial and national identity across the Indian Ocean. Sana's recent publications include “Anticolonial Homelands across the Indian Ocean: The Politics of the Indian Diaspora in Kenya c. 1930-1950,” (American Historical Review); “Empire, Race and the Indians in Colonial Kenya’s Contested Public Political Sphere from 1919-1923,” (AFRICA: Journal of the International African Institute); and “Fazlul Huq, Region and Religion in Bengal: The Forgotten Alternative of 1940-43,” (Modern Asian Studies).

Profile at MIT History




Regina Bateson

Political Science 

Regina Bateson joins the MIT as an Assistant Professor of Political Science after completing her PhD at Yale University. She studies comparative politics, with a particular interest in the political consequences of violence. Her dissertation examines the long-term legacy of civil wars, arguing that civilians' wartime experiences can shape postwar systems of vigilantism and social control. The dissertation is based on extensive field research in rural Guatemala.

Regina also studies the politics of crime, and her article "Crime Victimization and Political Participation" won the American Political Science Association's Heinz I. Eulau award for the best article published in the American Political Science Review in 2012. Regina's work combines qualitative and quantitative methods, and her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Tinker Foundation, and Yale University. Regina, who received her BA from Stanford University, was previously a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State.

Profile at MIT Political Science




Catherine E. Clark

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Catherine E. Clark joins the MIT faculty as Assistant Professor of French Studies in Foreign Languages and Literatures. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Southern California, an MA in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University, and a BA in History with High Honors from Swarthmore College.

Her current book project brings together her interests in French history and visual culture in a social and material history of the uses of photographs as historical documents of Paris since the late nineteenth century. Clark has received numerous grants for her research, including a Bourse Chateaubriand from the Embassy of France in the United States.

Profile at MIT Foreign Languages and Literatures




Malick W. Ghachem


Malick W. Ghachem joins the MIT faculty as an Associate Professor of History. He is a legal historian with a focus on slavery, abolition, and the Atlantic revolutionary period. He has taught at the University of Maine School of Law for the past three years. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he earned his PhD from Stanford University. He is the author of The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and numerous articles in French colonial and American legal history.

His new project is about the legal origins of bubble economics in the eighteenth-century North Atlantic. Ghachem will co-teach “How to Stage a Revolution” this fall and will offer courses on the histories of libertarianism and financial crisis in the spring. In what he says "passes as spare time," Malick writes on legal affairs and the Atlantic revolutionary tradition at

Profile at MIT History




Rich Nielsen

Political Science

Rich Nielsen joins the MIT faculty in Fall 2013 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science. He completed his PhD (Government) and AM (Statistics) at Harvard University, and holds a BA from Brigham Young University. His current work uses statistical text analysis and fieldwork in Cairo mosques to understand the radicalization of jihadi clerics in the Arab world.

Nielsen also writes on international law, the political economy of human rights, political violence, and political methodology. Some of this work is published or forthcoming in The American Journal of Political Science and International Studies Quarterly. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Profile at MIT Political Science




Edward Schiappa

Comparative Media Studies / Writing

Edward Schiappa joins the MIT faculty as Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies and Interim Head of Comparative Media Studies/Writing. Previously, Schiappa was at the University of Minnesota where he spent 17 years, the past seven of which he was Chair of the Communication Studies Department.

Schiappa’s research is in three areas: classical Greek rhetorical theory (where his interest is primarily in fifth century Sophists and the forth century “disciplining” of discourse by such figures as Isocrates, Plato, and Aristotle); contemporary argumentation and rhetorical theory (where his interest is in how we reason and think about definitions and interpretations); and comparative media studies (where he is interested in comparing textual analysis and audience reception of popular media texts and practices). Schiappa was the lead researcher who developed the Parasocial Contact Hypothesis that explores how TV and movies can influence attitudes toward minority populations.

Among other responsibilities at MIT, Schiappa will be contributing to the enhancement of MIT’s Communication Requirement.

Edward Schiappa's webpage | Profile at MIT CMS/Writing