MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

History Section


Associate Professor Christian Appy; William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor Pauline Maier; Professor Bruce Mazlish; Professor Peter C. Perdue; Associate Dean Harriet Ritvo; Associate Professor Douglas J. Forsyth; and Assistant Professors Heather Cox Richardson and Elizabeth Wood participated in the joint Ph.D. program in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology, by teaching graduate seminars, supervising general exams, or conducting tutorials. Luce Professor John W. Dower and Dean Philip S. Khoury advised advanced graduate students at Harvard in Japanese and Middle Eastern history, respectively.

Enrollments in history courses were 445 in Fall, 1994 and 488 in Spring, 1995. Eight students majored and nine students minored in history. Two students completed senior theses in history [Emanuela Binello, "Muscovite Politics and Culture in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Through the Eyes of Foreign Travelers" and Amy Schneider, "Patriots or Slackers? Major League Baseball During World War I"].

The most popular subjects included: 21H102 Emergence of Modern America (30), 21H132 The Vietnam War (28), 21H152J Introduction to Black Studies (44), 21H301 Ancient World: Greece (55), 21H302 Ancient World: Rome (64), 21H433 The Age of Reason (31), 21H522 Japan in the Age of the Samurai (29), 21H541J Industrial Competition in U.S. and Asia (41), 21H546 World War II in Asia (33), 21H921J Ideas of the World Order (64).

Two faculty led freshman advisor seminars on History of Cosmology and Conflict and Peace in the Contemporary Middle East. Professor Dower, Professor Forsyth, Assistant Professor Jon E. Lendon, Assistant Professor Anne E. C. McCants, Professor Perdue, and Professor Ritvo supervised UROP projects.


Professor Mazlish won the Kayden National University Press Book Award for The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines and lectured on his book in Moscow at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Associate Dean Ritvo published several articles, including "Classification and Continuity in The Origin of Species"; "Possessing Mother Nature: Genetic Capital in Eighteenth-Century Britain"; "Animals in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Complicated Attitudes and Competing Categories." She also led a NEH Summer seminar, "Ordering Nature", at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina. The fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II aroused great public debate, especially focused on the design of the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian. Professor Dower gave public addresses on this topic as part of his analysis of the memorialization of World War II in the Pacific in many places, including the annual conference of the Organization of American Historians and the MIT Fifth Annual J. Herbert Hollomon Memorial Symposium on Technology and Culture. He summarized his views in an article, "How a Genuine Democracy Should Celebrate Its Past", published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In it, he argued for the vital importance of critical reinterpretation of major historical events in the light of new evidence and new perspectives and strongly opposed current efforts by politicians to suppress independent inquiry with ideologically motivated campaigns.

Professor Appy completed an article, "We'll Follow the Old Man: Sentimental Militarism and the Cold War Culture", to be published in Peter Kusnick and James Gilbert, eds., Cold War Culture. Professor Lendon continued work on his manuscript, "Principles of Roman Foreign Policy"; Professor McCants worked on revisions to her manuscript, "Comfort us Out of Your Surplus: Capitalism, Risk, and the Provision of Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam"; Professor Wood neared completion of her manuscript, "Gender and Politics in Soviet Russia." She gave the keynote speech at the Conference on Social Identities in the History of the Soviet Union at New York University.

Professors Maier and Merritt Roe Smith are two of four historians preparing a book-length account of American history that will integrate the history of science and technology with mainline developments. This project has received sponsorship from the Sloan Foundation. Professor Maier also worked on completing her manuscript, "Declarations on Independence: Congress, the People, and Thomas Jefferson."

Professor Perdue published "Technological Determinism in Agriculture" in a volume edited by Professors Smith and Leo Marx, Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism, published by MIT Press. Dean Khoury published "The Syrian Muslim Brethren" in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World.


Dean Ritvo was appointed to the Arthur Conner Professorship effective July 1, 1995. Professor McCants was appointed to the Class of 1957 Career Development Chair. She and Professor Lendon were promoted to Associate Professor, effective July 1, 1995. Assistant Professor Robin Kilson will be leaving MIT to accept an appointment at the University of Texas, Austin. Her departure deprives the department of its one African-American faculty member and leaves us unable to continue her course on Introduction to Black Studies next year, but we will search actively during the next academic year to find a replacement.


Professor Lendon served on the Committee on the Undergraduate Program during the fall with Professor McCants taking his place in the spring. Professor McCants chaired the Truman Selection Committee. This year for the first time an MIT student, Edward A. Miguel, succeeded in winning this prestigious U.S. Government fellowship, which provides support for graduate education for students interested in careers in public service. Professor Wood was MIT's representative on the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies. Professor Appy served on the Committee on Curricula. Associate Professor William B. Watson chaired the ROTC Committee and the Housemasters' Council. Associate Dean Ritvo served on the Committee on Animal Care, the Faculty Policy Committee, and chaired the HASS-D Overview Committee. Professor Maier continues to serve as Affirmative Action Officer. MIT began its International Science and Technology Initiative [MISTI] this year with a focus on China. Professor Perdue organized the MISTI China Forum to bring speakers to campus to address the MIT community about current issues in China.


Professor Appy directed the Kenan Sahin lecture series, inviting lecturers on "Guatemala: Conquest and Oral Tradition", "Producing Consumer Culture: Women in the American Beauty Industry", and "Native Americans and the Retelling of American History." Professor Mazlish again jointly ran the History and Literature Workshop series, and Dean Khoury directed the Bustani Seminar of Middle Eastern Studies. During IAP, Visiting Lecturer Stephen Shutt showed a series of films on China.

Peter C. Perdue

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95