Recent News

Recent News

Heather Paxson named associate dean for faculty of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Michael Brindley | School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

April 19, 2024

MIT professor Heather Paxson has been named associate dean for faculty of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), effective July 1.

Agustin Rayo, the Kenan Sahin Dean of SHASS, describes Paxson as a leader of exceptional vision.

“As section head, she has positioned Anthropology as a key player in the issues of our day and has implemented an exemplary model of mentorship for junior faculty. She is an essential advisor to the school, and I cannot think of a better person to reimagine SHASS's efforts to create an inspiring and equitable working environment for our faculty and staff,” says Rayo.

In the new interdisciplinary course 21A.513 (Drawing Human Experience), students look within themselves for artistic inspiration.

Article: Nicole Estvanik Taylor | Photo: Allegra Boverman | School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences | MIT News

January 29, 2024

On the first Friday in November, the students of 21A.513 (Drawing Human Experience) were greeted by two unfamiliar figures: a bespectacled monkey holding a heart-shaped message (“I’m so glad you are here”) and the person who drew that monkey on the whiteboard: award-winning cartoonist and educator Lynda Barry, whose “Picture This” was a central text on the new interdisciplinary course’s syllabus.

As the afternoon’s guest speaker, Barry welcomed each arrival, her long gray braids swinging, pens dangling from her neck. Within minutes, she had everyone — even the course’s instructors, anthropologist Graham Jones and visual artist Seth Riskin — settled around tables with their eyes closed, drawing giraffes.

Associate Professor Bettina Stoetzer receives 2024 Ruth A. and James Levitan Prize

November 21, 2023

The Levitan Prize was inaugurated in 1990 and is awarded annually as a research fund to support innovative and creative scholarship in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Awarded for "Unsettling Refuge: Disrupted Mobilities in Multispecies Worlds"

Stoetzer’s proposal promises to broaden and deepen the fieldwork underpinning her exciting second book project on multispecies worldmaking.

Southeast Chicago Archive and Storytelling Project announced as SVA Film & Media Festival 2023 Winner in Best Interactive Media

SVA Film Media Festival

November 15, 2023

Winner: Best Interactive Media - Recognizes media work—including VR installations, iDocs, websites, games, podcasts—that best embodies the creative and collaborative spirit of multimodal anthropologies.

The Southeast Chicago Historical Museum is located in a single room in a park fieldhouse on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was founded in the early 1980s by community volunteers. The region had once been part of one of the largest industrial corridors in the world. But, as the local steel mills began to close, residents felt their history slipping away. They donated an astonishing array of artifacts to the Museum. These materials offer a unique window onto everyday life in an industrial community from the vantage point of residents themselves.

See the award-winning website at

Writing code, and decoding the world - MIT News on Héctor Beltrán's new book “Code Work: Hacking Across the U.S./México Techno-Borderlands”

Peter Dizikes | MIT News | Photo: Allegra Boverman

November 14, 2023

MIT Anthropology Class of 1957 Career Development Assistant Professor Héctor Beltrán is the author of the new book, “Code Work: Hacking Across the U.S./México Techno-Borderlands,” published by Princeton University Press.

Congratulations to Manduhai Buyandelger on winning 2022 Onon Prize from MIASU, University of Cambridge

October 25, 2023

Professor Manduhai Buyangelger was presented the 2022 Onon prize at the October 2nd, 2023 Onon Lecture at Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit of University of Cambridge, UK.


Congratulations to Bettina stoetzer on winning the 2023 Diana Forsythe Prize for her book Ruderal City!

Svetlana Borodina | CASTAC Co-Chair

September 28, 2023

Bettina Stoetzer’s Ruderal City is an imaginative and beautifully written ethnography of how Berlin’s forests, gardens, peripheries, and blasted landscapes and rubble fields (now obscured but not disappeared) have become, post-World War II and again post-1989, an uncanny home for heterogeneous lives and world-making. Ruderal City re-reads Berlin’s famous forests and gardens as spaces of exclusion, where refugees inhabit the uncanny ruins of the socialist built/forested landscape.

Welcome + Congratulations to MIT Anthro's Visiting Professor Sonya Atalay on launching her NSF Science and Technology Center for Braiding Indigenous Knowledges and Sciences (CBIKS)

Jared Sharpe | UMASS News

September 7, 2023

"We envision a new generation of students, scientists and Indigenous community members with the skills and training to conduct research ethically using braided methodologies and to apply the results to improve quality of life through a healthier planet." - Sonya Atalay, Provost Professor of Anthropology at UMASS, Visiting Professor at MIT Anthropology and Director of CBIKS

Stefan Helmreich’s new book examines the many facets of oceanic wave science and the propagation of wave theory into other areas of life.

Peter Dizikes | MIT News

August 30, 2023

Ocean waves are easy on the eyes, but hard on the brain. How do they form? How far do they travel? How do they break? Those magnificent waves you see crashing into the shore are complex.


“I’ve often asked this question,” the eminent wave scientist Walter Munk told MIT Professor Stefan Helmreich several years ago. “If we met somebody from another planet who had never seen waves, could [they] dream about what it’s like when a wave becomes unstable in shallow water? About what it would do? I don’t think so. It’s a complicated problem.”