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Jacobs receives Levitan Prize in the Humanities

Meg Jacobs
Meg Jacobs
Photo / Donna Coveney

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, the Kenan Sahin Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, has announced that the 2007 James A. (1945) and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities has been awarded to Associate Professor Meg Jacobs of the history faculty.

Jacobs received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia in 1998 and joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1999.

Jacobs will complete research for her book, "Panic at the Pump: How Conservatives Used the Energy Crisis to Start a Revolution." In "Panic," Jacobs will explain "how and why conservative reformers, from the young Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, Irving Kristol and others used the energy crisis of the 1970s to launch a deliberate campaign to discredit the power of the federal government to regulate and revitalize the American economic life," she said.

Jacobs' 2005 book, "Pocketbook Politics: Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America," analyzed how "reformers organized social movements to build the New Deal order. 'Panic at the Pump' will explore another age, when reformers, once again, mobilized citizens, but this time to dismantle the liberal state," she said.

The $25,000 Levitan prize was established through a gift from the late James A. Levitan, a 1945 MIT graduate in chemistry, who was also a member of the MIT Corporation and of-counsel at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom of New York City. The prize, first awarded in 1990, supports innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities by faculty members in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 11, 2007 (download PDF).

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