The Anthropology Program is dedicated to advanced research and publication in cultural anthropology; to undergraduate teaching that opens students to the fundamentals of cross-cultural understanding and social thought; and to graduate teaching in the history and social study of science and technology. Our undergraduate subjects cover a wide range, with special strengths in the study of the contemporary world and the social context of technology. The anthropology faculty maintains strong ties with other programs in the School of Engineering and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, including Women's Studies, Latin American Studies, Comparative Media Studies, the Technology Policy Program, the History Faculty, and Science, Technology, and Society.

Personnel and Administrative Changes

AY2002 began with the Anthropology Program reorganized and administratively separated from the Science, Technology, and Society Program, with Professor Susan Slyomovics continuing as head of the Anthropology Program and Rosemary Hegg serving as administrative officer. Susan LoGuidice joined the program as administrative assistant. On July 1, Susan Silbey, formerly professor of sociology at Wellesley College, joined the MIT Anthropology Program at the rank of full professor. The end of the year saw the retirement after 38 years of service to MIT of Professor Arthur Steinberg. An appreciation event with speeches by students and colleagues was held in his honor in April. A search has begun to find a junior faculty member who would begin in July 2003. In June of 2002, Professor Slyomovics completed her term as head of the Anthropology Program. She will be succeeded by Professors Jean Jackson (fall term) and James Howe (spring term).

Program Contributions to MIT and Outside Communities

The committees, boards, and task forces at MIT on which Anthropology Program members served this year include the Women's Studies steering and programming committees, Kelly-Douglas Prize jury, the Knight Fellowship selection committee, the Louis Kampf Writing Prize jury, the Advisory Board Program in Human Rights and Justice, the editorial board of the MIT Faculty Newsletter, the admissions and curriculum committees for CMS, the Committee on Academic Performance, and the steering committee of the doctoral program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology (HSSST). Professor Jackson chaired the SHASS Gender Equity Committee.

Professors Michael Fischer, Jackson, Howe, and Silbey, and Associate Professor Hugh Gusterson all play active roles in teaching, advising, and administration of the HSSST doctoral program, sponsored by the STS, History, and Anthropology programs. Professor Steinberg continued as director of the Integrated Studies Program until his retirement at the end of the year.

Outside MIT, Professor Slyomovics serves on four boards. Professor Gusterson was the program chair of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) Meeting, treasurer for the American Ethnological Society, and served on several committees for the National Science Foundation. Professor Silbey was appointed to the editorial board of the American Journal of Sociology. Professor Jackson continues to serve on the advisory board of Cultural Survival and the editorial board of the Journal of Latin American Anthropology.

Educational Activities

Anthropology classes continued to be popular among undergraduates. Thirty students in the class of 2002 completed HASS concentrations in anthropology. One student majored and three completed minors in anthropology. Course 21A (Anthropology) introduced two new subjects during AY2002, 21A.218 Identity and Difference and 21A.219 Law and Society, both taught by Professor Silbey. Law and Society was particularly well subscribed with 40 students completing the class. 21A.230 Contemporary American Family continued to be a popular choice with 40 enrollments, as did 21A.100 Introduction to Anthropology with 73 students. 21A.344 Drugs, Politics, and Culture enrolled 75 students.

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A small sampling of presentations by members of the Anthropology Program faculty during AY2002 gives some sense of the wide range of their research interests, as well as their shared viewpoint and focus. In April 2002, Professor Slyomovics gave a talk entitled "Prison Space in Morocco" at the Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to several talks at MIT and elsewhere, Professor Jackson gave a talk entitled "What the Hell Did I Do to Deserve This? Chronic Pain Sufferers' Search for Answers" at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Meeting in Washington, DC, November 2001. Assistant Professor Walley's paper "‘Our Ancestors Used to Bury Their Development in the Ground': Modernity and Meaning of Development within the Mafia Island Marine Park" was read in absentia at the Fifth Anglo-French Swahili Workshop, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, in London, September 2001. Assistant Professor Christine Walley gave a talk entitled "Sisi Tusiosoma (‘We, the Uneducated'): Post-Socialism and the Language of Class in Mafia, Tanzania" and was co-organizer of a panel entitled "Socialisms/Post-Socialisms: From the Margins" at the AAA Meeting in Washington, DC. Professor Fischer served on several panels and gave a presentation entitled "Science and Ethics in Biological Research—Research Integrity, Education, and Environmental Issues" to the National Academy of Sciences of Iran and US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Institute of Medicine, in Bellagio, April 2002. Professor Silbey's numerous presentations at colloquia and conferences have included presentations at the Yale Women Faculty Forum and New York Law School. She also gave a talk entitled "Resistance and Narrative" at the Law and Society Annual Meeting, in Budapest, July 2001.

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Professor Slyomovics's edited volume The Walled Arab City in Literature, Architecture and History was published by Frank Cass, in London, in fall 2001. Her article "Torture, Truth and Recovery in Morocco" was published in Experiments with Truth: Transitional Justice and the Processes of Truth and Reconciliation. Documenta 11," 2002. Professor Slyomovics also completed two translations.

Professor Jackson has a co-edited volume and five chapters and reviews in press.

Professor Silbey's articles included "Mutual Engagement: Sociology of Law and Criminology in Law, Crime and Social Change, 2001.

In the past year, Professor Gusterson published the articles "The McNamara Complex" in Anthropological Quarterly, "Elites: Anthropology of" in The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, "An Hour with Noam Chomsky" in Interventions, and "Tall Tales and Deceptive Discourses" in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

AY2002 saw three publications by Professor Fischer with one in press.

Professor Walley's article "Searching for ‘Voices': Feminism, Anthropology and the Global Debates over Female Genital Operations" appeared in Genital Cutting and Transnational Sisterhood: Disputing U.S. Polemics, edited by James and Robertson, University of Illinois Press, 2002.

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Other Program Accomplishments

Professor Walley, who was on leave during 2001-2002, is co-director and producer of "Exit Zero", a documentary, presently a work-in-progress, about a changing working class neighborhood on Chicago's Southeast side.

Professor Howe, who was on leave during the spring semester, has been involved in the study of indigenous scribes and their collaboration with outsiders to represent their society to the world. Professor Howe's project in collaboration with Kuna General Congress to microfilm a tribal archive is in its final stages.

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Grants, Honors, Awards

Professor Howe received a Wenner-Gren Foundation grant in support of ethnohistorical research. Professor Slyomovics was elected a fellow of the American Folklore Society.

Susan Slyomovics
Program Head
Professor of Anthropology

More information on the Anthropology Program can be found on the web at


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