Recent News

Recent News

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.