MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

Anthropology/Archaeology Program

1994-95 was a quiet year for the Anthropology/Archaeology Program because three members were on leave: James Howe (Professor of Anthropology), Michael Fischer (Professor of Anthropology and Science and Technology Studies) during spring semester, and Hugh Gusterson (Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Science Studies), who continued his research on post-Cold War nuclear scientists in the U.S. and Russia. We welcomed back Professor Martin Diskin after a long illness.


The Program continued developing several initiatives in teaching and research in collaboration with other groups in the Institute; for example, we continued to participate in the graduate program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology, now completing its seventh year. We continue to collaborate with colleagues in Women's Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Engineering, jointly sponsoring talks and developing new subjects. A visit from a Latina filmmaker, co-sponsored by A/A and LUChA, the MIT undergraduate Mexican-American student organization, was extremely successful.

The Program's lecture series on "Peoples and States: Ethnic Identity and Conflict," co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies (CIS), with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the Office of the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science (SHSS) finished a sixth successful year and has scheduled eight speakers for what promises to be an equally exciting seventh year.

During the year we decided to concentrate solely on social anthropology, and will phase in several new subjects during the next two years with an eye towards emphasizing the growth areas of the field, including race and ethnicity, gender studies, and health care. For example, a new subject in "Medical Anthropology: Culture, Society and Ethics in Disease and Health" is targeted at the 20% of the undergraduate population who are enrolled in pre-med majors. Our two remaining archaeologists, Professor Heather Lechtman and Asociate Professor Dorothy Hosler, moved to the Department of Materials Science. The Humanities Visiting Committee wholeheartedly approved our efforts during their visit in March. Effective July 1, 1995, our name will be "Anthropology Program."


Five faculty members have books in various stages of completion. Professor Martin Diskin continued working on his manuscript on The Rural War in El Salvador for Westview Press; he received funds from the Dean's Office to complete this project. Professor Howe continued work on his manuscript, A People Who Would Not Kneel: Panama, the United States, and the San Blas Kuna. His The Missionary Memoirs of Father Leonardo Gassó was published by the University of Oklahoma Press. Professor Gusterson's Testing Times: A Nuclear Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War is scheduled for publication by the University of California Press for summer, 1995. Professor Jackson is making final revisions on her book manuscript Camp Pain: Building Community and Rebuilding Self in a Chronic Pain Center; a write-up of this research appeared in Spectrum. Professor Steinberg received a Wade grant to write a book on Venetian history and art.

Professor Gusterson's leave was supported by an Old Dominion and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Grant in the Program on Peace and International Security. He published two chapters on weapons scientists in books and has six items in press. Professor Jackson published two refereed articles and two book chapters, three dealing with indigenous rights mobilizing in Colombia, the fourth focusing on her chronic pain research. She also published a book review and has three book chapters in press. Martin Diskin published a peer-reviewed article on fieldwork in Latin America and has another one in press. Professor Fischer published a chapter dealing with science studies in an edited volume, two entries for an encyclopedia on the modern Islamic world, and has five pieces in press.

Anthropology faculty attended conferences and gave lectures in Atlanta, Irvine, Austin, Santa Fe, New Orleans, Chicago, Ithaca, Los Alamos, Stanford, Panama, Hawaii, Boston, Wellesley, New York City, Stockholm, and Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Professor Jackson joined the editorial board of two journals, American Ethnologist, and Journal of Latin American Anthropology. Professor Howe received a grant from the Provost's fund for his project (also supported by the Plumsock Mesoamerican Foundation and the Whiting Foundation) to rescue an historical archive belonging to the Kuna people of Panama.

Michael Fischer was awarded a Fulbright for Brazil, but decided to make two trips to India during his leave. He is also continuing to organize the joint MIT-Harvard Seminar in the Cultural Studies of the Biosciences and Biotechnologies.

One of our visiting scholars, Niels Braroe, is on his second NIMH fellowship supporting research on Cree Indian identity and Cree responses to the political activism developing among aboriginal peoples of North America. This project is part of a longitudinal study begun in 1963.


Professor Steinberg continues to hold his MacVicar Fellowship and to direct the Integrated Studies Program, or ISP, an alternative, comprehensive curriculum for the freshman year. He is also on the Council on Primary and Secondary Education. He supervised two UROP students. Professor Jackson was Coordinator of Latin American Studies.

Despite our reduced numbers, our enrollments remained strong, and our total number of registered concentrators rose to seventy-six.


Professor Steinberg served on two MIT committees. Professor Jackson served on five committees and on the editorial board for the MIT Faculty Newsletter. She and Associate Professor Stephen van Evera of the Department of Political Science are co-organizing the Burchard Scholars this coming year.

As the Anthropology Program we will continue to informally search for potential target of opportunity candidates, in particular in Latin American and Hispanic studies and Gender Studies; one was invited to give a talk in the "Peoples and States" seminar series.

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95