The mission of the History faculty is to promote advanced research and undergraduate teaching in a broad range of fields, including American, Ancient, East Asian, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Russian history. The faculty includes joint appointments in Urban Studies, in Writing, and in Science, Technology, and Society, and it participates in the joint Ph.D. program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology.
Professor John Dower's Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II continued to receive numerous honors including the PEN/New England L.L. Winship Award for the year's best book with a New England author, the Mark Lynton History Prize from Harvard, and an American Library Association Notable Book award.
Associate Professor Jeffrey Ravel's The Contested Parterre: Public Theater and French Political Culture, 1680-1791 won the Barnard Hewitt Award for best book on Theater History, awarded by the American Society for Theater Research. Professor Harriet Ritvo published several articles, including "The Natural World," which appeared in The Victorian Vision: Inventing New Britain and "Animal Consciousness: Some Historical Perspective," in The American Zoologist. Professor Peter Perdue published, "Culture, History, and Imperial Chinese Strategy," in Warfare in Chinese History. Associate Professor Elizabeth Wood published, "The Trial of Lenin: Legitimating the Revolution Through Political Theater," in The Russian Review. Associate Professor William Watson published "Learning from Carlos: Ernest Hemingway the Apprentice Fisherman," in The North Dakota Quarterly. Assistant Professor Joshua Sosin published articles "Agio at Delphi" in The Numismatic Chronicle and "Ausonius' Juvenal and the Winstedt Fragment" in Classical Philology. Professor Bruce Mazlish published "The Art of Reviewing" in Perspectives. Professor Philip Khoury published "Current Developments and Future Directions in Middle Eastern Studies" in Frontiers: The Inter-disciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. Professor Pauline Maier has completed the first eight chapters of an innovative American History textbook that incorporates the history of science and technology. This project received funding from the Sloan Foundation. Professor Merritt Roe Smith is the project's director; the other authors are Alex Keyssar of Duke University and Daniel Kevles of Yale.
Professor Mazlish presented a paper on "A Global Elite?" at the New Global History Faculty seminar. Professor Perdue spoke on "China and Russia: Backing into The Future" at Haverford College. Professor Ritvo spoke on "Classification and its Discontents: Ordering Animals in the Nineteenth Century" at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenchaften, Vienna. Professor Maier presented a paper on "What Difference Did the Revolution Make? Patents, Corporations, and other Legislative Encouragements to Innovation" at the MIT-Cambridge Conference, England. Associate Professor Anne McCants presented a paper on "Global Trade Brought Home: the Consumption of Tea, Coffee and Porcelain in Middling and Poor Households in the 18th Century" at the University of California. Professor Ravel presented a lecture entitled "Pratiques et représentations du parterre au XVIIIe siècle" at the College de France in Paris, and continued work on a website project on French Theater in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Professor Khoury was the keynote speaker at the Conference on "Emerging Patterns of State and Non-State Relations in the Middle East" in Washington, D.C. Associate Professor Heather Richardson was the Keynote speaker at the British American 19th Century Historians Association annual meeting at Gregynog, Wales. Lecturer Mona Russell presented a paper entitled "Modernity, National Identity, and Consumerism: Visions of the Egyptian Home, 1805–1922" at Ben Gurion University, Israel. Professor Sosin presented a paper on "Reading, Writing, Rhetoric: Palaeography in the Documentary Papyri" at the University of Texas. Assistant Professor Meg Jacobs spoke on "The Politics of Inflation in the 20th Century United States" at Columbia University.
After an extensive national search, the History Faculty appointed Jonathan Zatlin as Assistant Professor in the field of 20th-century European history. He received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley for a dissertation on "The Currency of Socialism: Money in the GDR and German Unification, 1980–1990."
Professors Maier, Mazlish, McCants, Perdue, Ritvo, Richardson, Wood and Jacobs participated in the joint Ph.D. program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology by teaching graduate seminars, setting general examinations, and supervising dissertations. Professors Dower, Ritvo and Professor Khoury advised Harvard graduate students in Japanese, British, and Middle Eastern history respectively. Professor Ravel served on the Curriculum Committee of the graduate program in Comparative Media Studies.
Professor McCants, the current housemaster of Green Hall, is the first recipient of a chair for housemasters named "William and Betsy Leitch Associate Professor of History in Residence." Professor Perdue, was appointed the first holder of the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professorship in Asian Civilizations. Professor Sosin was awarded Provost's HASS Funds to support his project, "A Possession for All Time: Perpetual Endowments in the Ancient World."
History enrollments totaled 309 in the fall semester and 470 in the spring. Five History majors successfully completed their senior thesis projects: Kathleen M. Barron, "A Row in the Kitchen: Irish Domestic Servants and Their Employers in Boston, 1873," supervised by Professor Richardson; Jade Joan Hon, "How Edward II Transformed Two Centuries: Historical Scholarship on Edward II in Nineteenth-Century England," supervised by Professor Ritvo; Douglas L. Kriner, "Presidential Power: Kennedy, Johnson and the 88th Congress," supervised by Professor Jacobs; Laura McGrath Moulton, "Seeking a Third Way: Nasser Charts an Independent Course for Egypt, 1955–1956," supervised by Professor Khoury; Beverly A. Thurber (Major Departure in Ancient and Medieval Studies), "The Social Impact of Ice Skating in Viking Age Scandinavia and Medieval Europe," supervised by Professor McCants. Three seniors graduated with minors in History. Five new subjects were offered: 21H.342, The Royal Family (Ritvo); 21H.504, East Asia in the World (Perdue); 21H.206, American Consumer Culture (Jacobs); 21H.404, Economy and Society in the Ancient World (Sosin); and 21H.907, Trials in History (Wood).
Four faculty members led freshman advisor seminars: Professor Khoury on "Conflict and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East," Professor McCants on "A Brief History of Cosmology," Professor Ravel on "Bad Plays," and Professor Ritvo (in collaboration with MIT Museum Director Jane Pickering) on "Behind the Scenes at the Museum." Professors McCants, Ravel, and Ritvo supervised UROP projects.
Professor Maier served on the Faculty Policy Committee. Professor Perdue served as co-chair on the search committee for the S.C. Fang Chair in Chinese Language and Culture. Professor Ritvo was a member of the HASS Overview Committee. Professor Wood served as the Chair of the Ad Hoc Library Committee. Professors Wood and McCants participated in the Women's Studies Program. Professor Jacobs directed the Truman Scholarship Committee. Professor McCants served as president of MIT's Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Two historians were housemasters: Professor McCants of Green Hall, and Professor Watson of Baker House.
The Sahin Lecture Series for 2000–2001 included the following presentations: Roger Bagnall on "Social History and Social Archaeology: Launching a New Excavation in Egypt," Juha Siltala on "Flexible Minds at the Flexible Labor Market: The Emergence and the End of the Psychological 'Self,'" and Edward Cohen on "The Economic Cost of 'Manliness' in Classical Athens." Professor Mazlish, again, jointly organized the monthly meetings of the History and Literature Workshop, and Dean Khoury directed the Bustani Middle East Seminar.
More information about the History section can be found online at http://web.mit.edu/history/www/.