Recent News

Recent News

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.