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Said and Done for November/December 2012

Digest of humanities, arts and social sciences
The Listening Room
The Listening Room
Photo: Jon Sachs
Concourse student Jenny Selvidge '15
Concourse student Jenny Selvidge '15
Photo: Jon Sachs
Concourse student Abdi-Hakin Dirie '15
Concourse student Abdi-Hakin Dirie '15
Photo: Jon Sachs

Said and Done is the monthly, photo-rich publication from MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, integrating feature articles with news, research and events to give you a distilled overview of the school's endeavors. For the complete edition, visit Said and Done. A few of this month's highlights include:

Introducing The Listening Room | Sharing MIT's Music with the World

The finest music composed and performed by MIT's renowned Music faculty and student-musicians is now available in The Listening Room — an online collection that showcases the Institute's deep and longstanding engagement with music. The site launches with 64 recordings organized in four musical categories: Classical, Jazz, World, and Faculty Opus. "The arts at MIT are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking, and imaginative problem-solving," said Dean Deborah Fitzgerald. "The Listening Room now opens the doors for a worldwide audience to enjoy the MIT musical experience."
Listening Room Online | Story + Video

Beethoven | Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58
Arranged by Beethoven for chamber ensemble
Performed by David Deveau, Senior Lecturer, MIT Music


School within a School | MIT's Concourse learning community
In the Concourse program, MIT freshmen explore the sciences, humanities, and social sciences in a small, close-knit community. The single best thing about college for MIT MacVicar Faculty Fellow and Professor of History Anne McCants was "exploring ideas ravenously. It was," she says, "like being in a candy store for four years." Now, as newly appointed director of Concourse, a learning community for MIT freshmen, McCants' goal is to give today's students the same heady experience of intellectual adventure and discovery within the context of a supportive group. Jean Xin '14, a brain and cognitive sciences major, says of Concourse, "It offered me the opportunity to explore the broader significance of the technical knowledge I am learning at MIT."
Full story at MIT SHASS News

Mark Harvey's Aardvark Jazz Orchestra releases 40th anniversary recording
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra celebrates its 40th season with the release of a new CD, "Evocations," featuring original works by founder/music director Mark Harvey, of the MIT Music section. Downbeat Magazine says, "Aardvark Jazz Orchestra welcomed decade No. 5... in sleek form, belting crisp ensembles and uproarious, semi-disciplined raves."
Mark Harvey webpage | Tribute article at Downbeat Magazine

How E-Literature Revolutionizes Fiction | Interview with Nick Montfort
The Electronic Literature Organization, currently headed by Montfort, Associate Professor of Writing, was founded in 1999 "to foster and promote the reading, writing, teaching, and understanding of literature as it develops and persists in a changing digital environment." The Huffington Post recently interviewed Montfort about the origins of e-Lit and its evolution over the last few decades.
Interview at The Huffington Post


Economist Anna Mikusheva receives the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize
The prize, from the American Economic Association, recognizes outstanding young women in economics. Mikusheva joins two other recent MIT recipients of the Bennett Research Prize, Esther Duflo and Amy Finkelstein.

Political Scientist Roger Petersen wins Distinguished Book Award
The International Studies Association has awarded the Distinguished Book Award to Roger Petersen's Western Intervention in the Balkans, The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Petersen is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at MIT.

Anthropologist Stefan Helmreich wins Rachel Carson prize
Stefan Helmreich's book Alien Ocean, Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas, has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Book Prize, given by the Society for the Social Study of Science. Alien Ocean (University of California Press, 2009) has received two earlier significant prizes: the 2010 Gregory Bateson Book Prize, and the 2010 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society.


COMPARATIVE MEDIA STUDIES | MIT Game Lab explores the potential of games and play
MIT has established new game research facilities in the Karl Taylor Compton Laboratories, where the Institute's first computer game was developed 50 years ago. The Game Lab inaugurated its premises with a September symposium.
Story | Game Lab

ECONOMICS | Jonathan Gruber's path to the center of healthcare policymaking
MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber helped shape both the national Affordable Care Act and the Massachusetts health care reform program. Cited in 2006 as the best young health economist in the nation, Gruber is now at the center of health-care policy making in Washington.
Story at MIT News

PHILOSOPHY | Sally Haslanger | Resisting Reality: Social Construction and Social Critique
Of this book philosopher Elizabeth Anderson writes, "Haslanger's book provides the definitive account of what 'social construction' amounts to and what work it can do." Haslanger is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program.
Book at Oxford University Press | Haslanger webpage

ANTHROPOLOGY | Heather Paxson | The Life of Cheese: Crafting Food and Value in America
In her story of how artisanal craftwork has become a new source of cultural and economic value for producers as well as consumers, Paxson helps rethink the politics of food, land, and labor. Paxson is an Associate Professor of Anthropology.
Book at University of California Press | Paxson webpage

POLITICAL SCIENCE | Nazli Choucri | Cyberpolitics in International Relations
Choucri investigates the implications of cyberpolitical reality for international relations theory, policy, and practice. Choucri is Professor of Political Science at MIT, Associate Director of MIT's Technology and Development Program, and Director of GSSD (Global System for Sustainable Development).
Book at MIT Press | Choucri webpage

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY | Natasha Dow Schüll | Addiction by Design: Gambling in Las Vegas
Drawing on 15 years of field research, Schüll shows how electronic gambling games are designed to pull players into a trancelike state called the "machine zone" — a state in which the aim is not to win but simply to keep playing. Schüll is an Associate Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society,
Story at MIT News | Book at Princeton University Press | Schüll webpage

LINGUISTICS | Chomsky's Linguistics | Special Edition Collected Works of Noam Chomsky
This collection, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of MIT Linguistics, chronicles some of the most important research in generative linguistics, works that have inspired generations of researchers, and formed the foundation of much work in linguistics today.
About the book | MIT Linguistics

PHILOSOPHY | Robert Stalnaker | Mere Possibilities
Of Stalnaker's book, Timonthy Williamson (University of Oxford) writes, it "is a subtle, nuanced exploration of the metaphysical basis for talk of possible worlds and its...relation to the version of formal semantics known as 'possible worlds semantics,' both of which have been immensely influential in recent decades. Robert Stalnaker has been one of the major players in debates on these matters." Stalnaker is Professor of Philosophy in the MIT Departmennt of Linguistics and Philosophy.
About the book | Stalnaker webpage

POLITICAL SCIENCE | Fotini Christia | Alliance Formation in Civil Wars
Christia finds that many civil wars, though often described as manifestations of ancient sectarian conflicts, are fought between factions whose leaders are more pragmatic — possibly suggesting that these wars can be resolved if the right incentives are in place. Christia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science.
Story at MIT News | Christia webpage


Apply by December 1, 2012
2013 Burchard Scholars Program | For MIT sophomores and juniors
The Burchard Scholars Program brings together distinguished members of the faculty and promising MIT sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated excellence in some aspect of the humanities, arts, or social sciences. The format is a series of dinner-seminars with discussions on research topics. All sophomores and juniors in good standing are eligible to apply.
More + Application

Nominate by December 14
Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching
Students, you can help reward a great professor, instructor, or teaching assistant in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Send a simple email nomination for the Levitan Award for Excellence in Teaching.
More information

Apply by December 18
Palitz Fellowship for Summer Study in the Hague | For MIT Undergraduates
The 6-month term as a Palitz Fellow includes the Spring semester in preparation with a faculty supervisor, followed by summer study in The Hague. Areas of study can include any aspect of culture, art, or history in the Dutch and Flemish Golden Age, for example: history of science, horticulture, or cartography; the art market; economic history; or the technologies of print making and book production.
Learn More + Apply

Complete edition: Said and Done | November-December 2012

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