News Archive

News Archive

Graham Jones "Paranormal Machines" class featured in Arts at MIT Video "MIT CAST: Cross-Disciplinary Classes"

Arts at MIT Newsletter

February 9, 2023

"A class like Paranormal Machines complements the educational mission of the Institute by giving students an opportunity to reflect critically and creatively on what science and technology do in these students lives." - Graham Jones

2022 GAD New Directions Awards: Christine J. Walley wins Honorable Mention

Amercian Anthropological Association Communities | Katie Nelson

August 25, 2022

2022 NEW DIRECTIONS AWARD - GROUP CATEGORY | Honorable Mention: Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project (SECASP)

Christine J. Walley, Director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The recently launched Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project (SECASP) (  is an online collaborative venture. It highlights materials donated to the all-volunteer Southeast Chicago Historical Museum by the multiracial working-class residents who historically settled in this former steel mill region. The website uses residents' saved objects – and the stories they told about them – to bring to life everyday experiences of work, immigration, job loss, and environmental contamination from the point of view of residents themselves.


The GAD Awards Committee acknowledges the creativity, innovation, and broad dissemination of anthropological insights of SECASP, a collaborative digital project that exposes the public to the history and material culture of Chicago's ethnically diverse working-class neighborhoods.


MIT Anthropology's Prof. Graham Jones among 2022 Bose Grant awardees

Aaron Braddock | Office of the Provost | MIT News

June 13, 2022

MIT Provost Cynthia Barnhart has announced three Professor Amar G. Bose Research Grants to support bold research projects across diverse areas of study including biology, engineering, and the humanities.

Among this year's recipients are Graham Jones of the Anthropology Section and Arvind Satayanaryan of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Their “Magical Data Visualization” proposal uses performance magic to create new visualizations that are responsive to the users’ intent, potentially impacting how misinformation spreads. 


Manduhai Buyandelger among inaugural MCSC Seed Award Recipients

Molly Chase | Climate and Sustainability Consortium | MIT News

May 23, 2022

The MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium (MCSC) has awarded 20 projects a total of $5 million over two years in its first-ever 2022 MCSC Seed Awards program. The winning projects are led by principal investigators across all five of MIT’s schools.

The goal of the MCSC seed awards is to engage MIT researchers and link the economy-wide work of the consortium to ongoing and emerging climate and sustainability efforts across campus. The program offers further opportunity to build networks among the awarded projects to deepen the impact of each and ensure the total is greater than the sum of its parts.

Social dimensions and adaptation

  • Anthro-Engineering Decarbonization at the Million-Person Scale, Manduhai Buyandelger, professor in the Anthropology Program; Michael Short, Class of ’42 Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering


In Memoriam | Arthur Steinberg, 1937-2022

Writers: Frederica Steinberg and Jean Jackson, Professor of Anthropology emerita | Edited by MIT SHASS Communications

May 12, 2022


Arthur Richard Steinberg, a nationally recognized educator  and professor emeritus of anthropology at MIT, died April 3, 2022. He was 85. A cofounder of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology as well as the founder of an innovative interdisciplinary program for MIT’s first-year students, Steinberg had been a faculty member at the Institute for 38 years when he retired in 2002.

Living Climate Futures Event Shows a Holistic Way Forward in Climate Fight

article by Stephanie M. McPherson

May 2, 2022

The sun shone bright and warm on the Dertouzos Amphitheater at the Stata Center this past Earth Day. A banner stating “Our Future is Fossil Free — Divest Now” waved from between two trees as a panel of Indigenous leaders and thinkers from across the country talked about their experiences with climate activism and their worldviews that place humanity as one with the rest of the Earth.


Read the full story here

Amy Moran-Thomas receives the Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications | Senior Writer: Kathryn O'Neill | Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand

April 26, 2022

MIT anthropologist Moran-Thomas “stands out in this field by bringing a humanistic approach into dialogue with environmental and science studies to investigate how bodily health is shaped by social well-being at the community level and further conditioned by localized planetary imbalances." 
— from the Edgerton Award Selection Committee statement


Amy Moran-Thomas, the Alfred Henry and Jean Morrison Hayes Career Development Associate Professor of Anthropology, has received the 2021-22 Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award in recognition of her “exceptional commitment to innovative and collaborative interdisciplinary approaches to resolving inequitable impacts on human health,” according to a statement released today by the 2019-20 Edgerton Award Selection Committee.

"Culture is a meaning-making practice" - Heather Paxson in "Said and Done"

Heather Paxson | SHASS "Said and Done" Magazine | photo by Allegra Boverman

April 15, 2022

Series: Points of View | On Culture

In this ongoing series sponsored by the Office of Tracie Jones, MIT SHASS Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, faculty and staff in MIT's humanistic fields share ideas, stories, and research-based commentary on the nature of culture and their experiences as part of the MIT community. We are honored that this inaugural commentary for the series is from Heather Paxson, the William Kenan Professor of Anthropology, head of MIT Anthropology, and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. In this commentary, Professor Paxson provides some foundational thinking about how her field of anthropology — the scientific study of humanity including societies, behavior, cultural meaning, norms, and values — understands the concept of culture. 

"Expanding imagination for a livable future" - A conversation with Bettina Stoetzer in "Said and Done"

Interview by MIT SHASS Communications | MIT SHASS Said and Done Magazine

March 9, 2022

Series: Solving Climate | Humanistic Perspectives from MIT

In this ongoing series, MIT faculty, students, and alumni in the humanistic fields share perspectives that are significant for solving climate change and mitigating its myriad social and ecological impacts. Bettina Stoetzer is the Class of 1948 Career Development Associate Professor of Anthropology at MIT; her research combines perspectives on ecology and environmental change with an analysis of migration, race, and social justice. Here she shares insights from anthropology and from her forthcoming book, Ruderal City: Ecologies of Migration and Urban Life in Berlin (Duke University Press, 2022).


M. Amah Edoh's innovative course 21A.S01 makes University World News: "Global MIT reparations course takes open learning to new level"

Sharon Dell | University World News

November 12, 2021

“Education benefits when people with diverse backgrounds and different personal experiences are drawn into the conversation.”

That’s the premise posited for what has been described as an “audacious educational experiment” to be offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology anthropology Professor M Amah Edoh.

The goal, according to MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) Digital Publication Specialist Peter Chipman, who takes credit for this story’s opening statement, is to make open education “a two-way street” in which “the educational resources that emerge from classroom conversations at MIT are informed by the knowledge and experiences of people beyond the institute’s walls”. ... Chipman describes Edoh’s course format as a “first” for OCW. For 20 years, MIT’s OCW has been sharing content from some of the world’s top academics on its platform, openly and freely.

3 Questions: An anthropologist and a filmmaker on working-class lives in Chicago

Peter Dizikes | MIT News Office

September 22, 2021

The steel industry in the U.S. shrank dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s, with profound effects on the country’s industrial workforce. Suddenly, blue-collar workers who had spent their careers in the mills — often as part of multigenerational steelworking families — found themselves unable to earn a living as communities around them suffered and people lost the middle-class lives they had been fashioning. That process was chronicled in MIT anthropologist Christine Walley’s 2013 book “Exit Zero,” a case study of her own father’s travails as a southeast Chicago steelworker whose employer shut its mill in 1980. Walley’s husband, Chris Boebel, a filmmaker by training and media development director for MIT Open Learning, directed a documentary by the same name.

Anthropology student Lia Hsu-Rodriguez '21 "Meet the MIT Bilinguals: Health Care Equity" for MIT SHASS Said and Done

Staff Writer: Alison Lanier | MIT SHASS Communications Office Said + Done Magazine | Photo: Liz Wahid

June 14, 2021

"At MIT, Lia pushed herself into challenging scenarios as she strove to first understand and then to help correct some of the profound inequalities embedded in the U.S. heath-care system."

Flipping the Ship: Ocean Waves, Media Orientations, and Objectivity at Sea

Stefan Helmreich | Media+Environment | Image: Stefan Helmreich

June 11, 2021

This article offers an anthropologically informed media studies account of work on The FLoating Instrument Platform (FLIP), as the author reports on working ethnographically alongside wave scientists in this Escheresque environment, a setting that often sees scientists shifting between aspirations to steady objectivism and moments of fleeting but motivating wonder. Placing FLIP in a longer history of physical oceanography, the author also argues that what wave scientists take ocean waves to be has been strongly imprinted by the techniques and technologies—mathematics, photography, spectral analysis, wave tanks—through which waves have been studied and come to be known.

Oximeters Used to Be Designed for Equity. What Happened?

Amy Moran-Thomas | WIRED Magazine | Image Credit: Amy Moran-Thomas

June 8, 2021

The gray oximeter sitting on my kitchen table looks like a record player. A product of the 1970s, its alarm for low blood oxygen levels is set by analog dial. I bought it on eBay late last year, after writing a story about the racial bias built into oximetry for the Boston Review. A professor of medicine at Yale, Meir Kryger, reached out afterward with a suggestion: I should also look into the models predating contemporary pulse oximeters, specifically one made by Hewlett-Packard. It’s a technological dinosaur, but in certain ways, its inner workings are more advanced than many devices that measure blood oxygen in hospitals today.

Keeping humanity central to solving climate change

Kelley Travers | MIT Energy Initiative Publication Date: April 22, 2021 | Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures

April 26, 2021

MIT scholars are helping to solve the economic, cultural, and political dimensions of the world’s energy and climate challenges.


Announcing Relata - A Critical Search Tool

February 25, 2021

What might scholarly search look like if it privileged values of pluralism and critique? Relata, an experimental search tool based at MIT and developed in cooperation with Society for Cultural Anthropology, centers not individual works but the analytical moves or relations between them.

Amy Moran-Thomas "On planetary change and human health"

SHASS News | Image: Hurricane Hattie Belize, by Delvin "Pen" Cayetano, 1996, Oil on Canvas

December 8, 2020

MIT anthropologist Amy Moran-Thomas reflects on the deep connection.

“When I think of health now, I think of the disarray in bigger ecosystems and infrastructures that is also landing in human bodies.”

Case studies show climate variation linked to rise and fall of medieval nomadic empires

Alice McBride | EAPS News | Photo Credit: Bernd Thaller

November 30, 2020

Coverage of the virtual lecture "Climate, History, and Nomadic Empires: Case Studies and Questions of Method," co-sponsored by MIT Anthropology, History. and EAPS

Guest Lecturer: Nicola Di Cosmo, featuring Anthropology Program Head Heather Paxson, an introduction by MIT History's Tristan Brown, and commentary from co-discussants David McGee and Manduhai Buyandelger.


Work Of The Future | 3Q: Christine Walley on the evolving perception of robots in the US

MIT News | MIT Task Force On Work of the Future

November 23, 2020

Christine J. Walley, professor of anthropology at MIT and member of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, explores how robots have often been a symbol for anxiety about artificial intelligence and automation. Walley provides a unique perspective in the recent research brief “Robots as Symbols and Anxiety Over Work Loss.”