News Archive

News Archive

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.”

MIT Anthropology Speaks Out — and Teaches — against Racism

MIT Anthropology

August 25, 2020

In the midst of Covid-19’s unfolding and unequal death tolls and of ongoing police, state, and everyday violence against Black, Brown, Asian, and Indigenous communities in the United States and elsewhere, we in MIT Anthropology stand against racist white supremacy, believing, with anthropologist Leith Mullings, that "anthropology is uniquely positioned to make a decisive contribution to the critical interrogation of contemporary racism...

 

The Meaning of Masks: Masks can reveal new possibilities

MIT SHASS, photo credit: Lauren Bonilla

August 7, 2020

"In shamanic rituals and in computer-mediated virtual reality, a mask conceals one identity to reveal new possibilities. Seen in this light, virus protection masks offer an opportunity to replace a visage of fear with a public expression of strength as a community."

Manduhai Buyandelger, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Teaching With Digital Technology Award winners recognized for their innovations

MIT Open Learning

August 3, 2020

Graham Jones and Stefan Helmreich are two of the thirty-one MIT instructors awarded.

The Meaning of Masks: Masks As Transformation

MIT SHASS, artwork by Jose-Luis Oliveras

July 3, 2020

The mask is one of the most important human artifacts in all of anthropology. It is a tool of transformation that allows its wearers to transcend themselves, taking on timeless roles in ritual dramas. Repositories of power, masks are sacred objects, crafted with ingenuity.

Associate Professor Amah Edoh receives Baker Award for undergraduate teaching

MIT News

June 3, 2020

Amah Edoh, associate professor in anthropology, has received the Everett Moore Baker Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Post-doctoral Fellow Héctor Beltrán is interviewed for Data & Society's series, "#unsettle: Strategies for Decolonizing Tech Research"

Rigoberto Lara Guzmán and Natalie Kerby with Héctor Beltrán | Data & Society: Points

December 20, 2019

Post-doctoral Fellow Héctor Beltrán is interviewed for Data and Society's series, "#unsettle: Strategies for Decolonizing Tech Research".

Associate Professor Amy Moran-Thomas receives a Ruth A. and James Levitan Prize

December 20, 2019

Associate Professor Amy Moran-Thomas is the recipient of a 2020 James A. and Ruth Levitan Prize. The prize is awarded to instructors in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) in recognition of their outstanding contributions to research.

Associate Professor Amy Moran-Thomas featured on MIT News

December 20, 2019

Associate Professor Amy Moran-Thomas' research is featured on MIT News. Her research on the global diabetes epidemic is the focus of her new book, Traveling with Sugar (Univ. of CA Press).

Graham Jones' new class, "Paranormal Machines" is featured on MIT News and SHASS News

November 4, 2019

Associate Professor Graham Jones and Seth Riskin, Manager of the MIT Museum Studio and Compton Gallery, are offering a new class, Paranormal Machines: Technologies of Enchantment in Science, Art, and Culture. The class "explores the human experience of the disconcerting and the uncanny in relation to technology" and how "people and cultures build stories and beliefs around out-of-the-ordinary experiences".

Professor Heather Paxson is interviewed for the series, "Computing and AI: Humanistic Perspectives from MIT"

September 26, 2019

Professor Heather Paxson shares her thoughts on why anthropological methods are "uniquely suited for studying the effects of automation and digital technologies in social life".

Class of 2019 Anthropology major, Ankita Reddy, works on globally deployed diagnostic devices

June 11, 2019

Ankita Reddy, a graduating double major in Anthropology and Biology, will begin her post-graduation life as a researcher at the start-up E25Bio continuing the work on a globally deployed diagnostic device for mosquito-borne illnesses that she worked on as an undergraduate.

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