MIT Reports to the President 1998-99


The Anthropology Program began the academic year 1998—1999 fully settled into our new offices in Building 16. Building 20 is no more, but we continue to feel nostalgic pangs when we walk past the rubble at Vassar and Main streets.

Our beloved colleague, Professor Martin Diskin, whose death occurred the previous year, was remembered in several scholarly and advocacy venues, most notably a memorial service at the Latin American Studies Association meetings in Chicago in September, during which a speaker series, in his name, sponsored by LASA and Oxfam, America, was announced.

Our newest faculty member, Professor Susan Slyomovics, (the first holder of the title "Geneviève McMillan-Reba Stewart Professor of the Study of Women in the Developing World) spent her first full year at MIT, and we are preparing our welcome for an even newer member, Christine Walley, who will join us in September as Assistant Professor of Anthropology. Dr. Walley finished her dissertation in May at New York University. Her research and teaching strengths lie in the areas of environmentalism, development, gender studies, transnationalism, and Africa.

We continue to offer a variety of subjects on anthropological theory and method, specific subject matters (e.g., Medical Anthropology, American Science: Political Decisions and Ethical Choices), and areas of the world (e.g., Latin America, the Middle East). Our links with STS, Women's Studies, Latin American Studies, and the Technology Policy Program in the way of co-sponsored events and jointly listed subjects remain strong. We are proud of our overall enrollments and numbers of concentrators.


Anthropology Program members served on a variety of MIT committees, boards and task forces this year: the Eloranta Awards Committee, the MIT Faculty Newsletter Editorial Board, the History and Social Study of Science and Technology graduate program's Steering and Admissions Committees, the Women's Studies Steering Committee, two job search committees, and as juror for the Kelley-Douglas awards. Several faculty members advise graduate students, here and at other universities.

Professors Michael Fischer, James Howe, Jean Jackson, and Associate Professor Hugh Gusterson all play active roles in teaching, advising, and administration of the HSSST program, sponsored by STS, History, and Anthropology faculties. Professor Arthur Steinberg is Director of the Integrated Studies Program; and Professor Jackson runs the speaker series, "Peoples and States: Ethnic Identity and Conflict, which completed its tenth year.

Outside of MIT, Professor Howe continues to serve on the board of the Center for the Preservation of Native Lands. Professor Jackson continues on the advisory board of Cultural Survival and the editorial board of the Journal of Latin American Anthropology. Professor Slyomovics serves on seven boards, including the editorial board of Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory.


Professor Howe's book, A People Who Would Not Kneel: Panama, the United States, and the San Blas Kuna was published by the Smithsonian Press in September. Professor Jackson's book, "Camp Pain": Talking with Chronic Pain Patients is scheduled for publication in November by University of Pennsylvania Press. She also published one article. A book Professor Gusterson co-edited, Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger was published by University of Minnesota Press. He also published five articles. Professor Gusterson is finishing the last chapter of a book titled Simulating Armageddon: Nuclear Weapons Science after the Cold War. Professor Slyomovics published four articles and reviews. She is the co-editor of a book in press (Pennsylvania) titled Gendering Culture and Politics in the Middle East, which contains two chapters she authored.

Professor Howe served as translator and spoke at two openings of the exhibit "The Art of Being Kuna" at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian, in Washington, D.C., and the Field Museum, Chicago. He also gave a paper at a symposium on the Kuna in New York City. Professor Gusterson gave talks on nuclear weapons laboratories at twelve widely dispersed institutions (in Georgia, Wyoming, North Carolina, Canada, California, and Lebanon). Professor Slyomovics gave five invited talks on Arab-Islamic women, political exile, photography, storytelling, and architecture. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and a grant from the American Institute of Maghrib Studies for research in Morocco this coming year. Professor Jackson gave papers at conferences in Williamsburg and Chicago, and co-organized a third at Harvard's David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies on "Indigenous Movements, Self-Representation and the State."

More information on the Anthropology program can be found on the World Wide Web at

Jean Jackson

MIT Reports to the President 1998-99