MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2016 Activities by Category - Politics and Social Sciences

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American democracy and civic virtues

Brian Aull, EECS '85

Jan/26 Tue 07:00PM-08:30PM 4-261

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: None

The dysfunction of democracy in the United States has been getting increasing attention.  We see corrupted legislative and electoral processes, partisan bickering, restriction of choice by the major parties, and pervasive media bias. As a result, there is civic disengagement and widespread distrust of government.  This is happening at a time of major domestic challenges such as widening disparity between social classes, rising racial tension, soaring public debt, failing school systems, mass incarceration, and crumbling infrastructure.

Brian Aull leads a discussion based on the insights of his book, The Triad: Three Civic Virtues That Could Save American Democracy.  More information about the book is found at

but familiarity with this is not a prerequisite.

He explores the key role of renewed civic engagement in restoring healthy democratic life in the U.S.  He makes the case that this engagement needs to be rooted in a spirit of service, a non-adversarial approach to deliberation, and the building of civic relationships that bridge traditional divides such as race and class.  He presents case studies of local initiatives where these virtues contributed to successful outcomes.

Contact: Brian Aull, Lincoln-LI-127C, 857-998-9724, BFAULL@MIT.EDU

CITY OF THORNS: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp

Ben Rawlence, author

Jan/09 Sat 11:00AM-12:00PM MIT Coop Bookstore, 325 Main St., Cambridge

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

Book talk and signing

Sponsor(s): Center for International Studies
Contact: Laura Kerwin, 253-8306,

Contemporary Military Topics (series)

Joli Saraf

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Contemporary Military Topics (series of five sessions)

Sponsor(s): Center for International Studies, MIT Security Studies Program
Contact: Elina Hamilton, 253-7529,

Owning the Invisible: Electronic Warfare

Jan/14 Thu 10:30AM-12:00PM E40-496, Lucian Pye Conference Rm

Electronic Warfare (EW) represents the most versatile and advanced capability to execute national security objectives in an increasingly technical battlefield. Robust awareness, utilization, denial, and exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum is central to offsetting capabilities in the future battlespace. We cover EW history & future, EW & stealth, and Electronic Attack capabilities in the USAF & other US forces.


Jason Eckberg

Identity Intelligence

Jan/19 Tue 01:30PM-03:00PM E40-496, Lucian Pye Conference Rm

Identity Intelligence: Removing the Anonymity Behind the Threat

Overview of challenges facing the US & allies, as well as methods & capabilities to reduce/eliminate threats.  We  address hybrid warfare, terrorism, use of anonymity to protect assailants' or organizations' identity, & US & Alliance countermeasures via use of all-source intelligence, forensics, cyber, etc, to identify/target the source of the threat.   


Stephen Gabavics

The USSC in Jerusalem

Jan/21 Thu 10:30AM-12:00PM E40-496, Lucian Pye Conference Rm

Supported by the Quartet Powers (US, EU, UN, Russia), Sec'y Rice in '05 announced creation of the US Security Coordinator (USSC) in the US Consulate in Jerusalem to oversee rebuilding of the Palestinian Security Forces (PASF) into a gendarmerie-like force to help meet objectives of the Road Map to end the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. We focus on role & organization of the USSC &  the training milestones of the PASF. 

Jeff McCoy

The USMC and Special Operations Forces

Jan/26 Tue 02:00PM-03:30PM E40-496, Lucian Pye Conference Rm

Presentation on US Marine Corps & Special Operations Command roles, missions, capabilities, and how these forces facilitate & support each other in global operations.  Guest speaker presentation with Q&A followed by static displays of USMC and Special Operations personnel, weapons, & equipment.  


Joel Schmidt

Overview of The Navy's Newest Destroyer

Jan/27 Wed 10:30AM-12:00PM E40-496, Lucian Pye Conference Rm

The Navy's newest and most advanced warship, DDG-1000 is about to enter the fleet and its array of sensors, weapons and stealthy engineering makes it the most technologically advanced warship that has ever sailed the oceans. From guns that can shoot a projectile over 80 miles to a radar that can detect objects at extraordinary ranges, DDG-1000 will be a powerful force multiplier for the United States Navy.


John Krisciunas

Coolhunting and Coolfarming through Swarmcreativity

Peter Gloor

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/11
Limited to 30 participants
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

“I can calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” Isaac Newton - after having lost a substantial amount of money investing into the South Sea Bubble.

This 3-day course provides an in-depth tutorial to analyzing online social networks. It employs the easy-to-use but powerful software tool Condor that analyzes online social networks such as Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogs, Facebook, as well as e-mail. It gives the “big ideas” as well as step-by-step instructions. It explains how to use Condor to visualize, monitor and manage brands, products, and topics on the Internet, and to analyze organizations through their e-mail networks. It gives a wealth of practical examples of how to apply social network analysis for prediction of trends by combining Condor analysis with KNIME machine learning. It also illustrates how to improve organizational performance by optimizing collaboration using e-mail.


learn how 

- the radical innovation process in small teams works

- to find trendsetter and trends on the Internet and social media

- to predict trends using SNA und statistical forecasting techniques

- how to increase organizational efficiency and creativity through a virtual mirror created of organizational e-mail archives

This is a condensed version of a distributed course, which has been taught for the last 10 years at MIT, Aalto/Helsinki, U. Cologne, SCAD, IIT. (

Sponsor(s): Sloan School of Management
Contact: Peter Gloor, E94-1504D, 617 253 7018,

Introduction to Swarmcreativity

Jan/13 Wed 02:00PM-05:00PM E51-057, bring your laptop

The first part introduces the basics of Collaborative Innovation Networks (COINs) - cyberteams of intrinsically motivated people who work together over the Internet to turn a crazy idea into a disruptive innovation that changes the world. It also introduces the basics of our dynamic semantic social network analysis tool Condor. If you want to play with Condor, we recommend to previously install it on your laptop.

Peter Gloor

Virtual Mirroring - Coolhunting I

Jan/14 Thu 02:00PM-05:00PM E51-057, bring your laptop

In this part we look at organizational and team-level networks by analyzing e-mail archives. Through six inter-personal variables of honest communication: 'strong leadership', 'rotating leaders', 'balanced contribution', 'fast response', 'honest sentiment' and 'shared language' that Condor calculates, we measure and optimize creative teams. We also learn the basics of Coolhunting, finding COINs on Twitter, Blogs, etc.

Peter Gloor

Coolhunting II & Coolfarming

Jan/15 Fri 02:00PM-05:00PM E51-057, bring your laptop

Using Condor, we analyze Twitter, Blogs, Wikipedia, and Facebook to find the attributes of a trend and the most influential people talking about it, and measure its impact though machine learning with KNIME. We also look how to promote these trends through Coolfarming - viral marketing on the Web, and how to create COINs inside organizations by boosting organizational consciousness through social quantum physics.

Peter Gloor

Dying to Forget: Oil, Power, Palestine, and the Foundations of US Policy in the Middle East

Irene L. Gendzier, author

Jan/21 Thu 04:30PM-06:00PM E40-496, Lucian Pye Conference Room

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

BOOK TALK AND SIGNING: Dying to Forget: Oil, Power, Palestine, and the Foundations of US Policy in the Middle East

with author Irene L. Gendzier.

Contact: Laura Kerwin, E40-444D, 253-8306,


Jo Ivester '77

Jan/12 Tue 05:45PM-07:15PM 3-133

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/12
Limited to 50 participants

 The 1960s South was a time of turmoil, change, and struggle for equality.

In 1967, when MIT alum Jo Ivester ('77) was ten years old, her family moved from Boston to a small, all-black town in the Mississippi Delta, where her father ran a clinic, her mother taught at the local high school, and Jo was the only white student at her junior high.

Simply by being there - one of only two white families and the only Jews - they had a unique, front-row view of racism in America and were pulled into the heart of the civil rights movement.

In this half-hour talk, Jo will share anecdotes and perform readings from her new book, The Outskirts of Hope, which chronicles her family's experience.

She writes, "My story presents a moment in our history. Unfortunately, racial relations today are still an issue and we all have to do our part to make a difference."

To register:

Sponsor(s): Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program -UPOP
Contact: Kate Moynihan, 1-123-B, 617 253-0041, KATEJM@MIT.EDU

Explore the Emirates

Tuka AlHanai, Research Assistant in Computer Science, Nouf AlMubarak, Student of Law and Diplomacy, Abdulla AlHajri, Research Assistant in Nuclear Engineering

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Limited to 20 participants
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: Open mind, open heart, and a sweet tooth.

When you think of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) what is the first image that comes to mind? This discussion based class explores the multi-faceted perceptions of the nation lead by the local citizens/residents. Participants will explore current topics of the UAE while enjoying some local delicacy.

Sign-up Here

Sponsor(s): Scholars of the Emirates
Contact: Tuka Al Hanai, 32-G424, (608) 770-7637, TUKA@MIT.EDU


Jan/05 Tue 02:00PM-03:30PM 56-167
Jan/06 Wed 02:00PM-03:30PM 56-167
Jan/07 Thu 02:00PM-03:30PM 56-167

Finding Research Datasets in the Social Sciences

Katherine McNeill

Jan/26 Tue 09:30AM-11:00AM LIB: 14N-132 DIRC

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/26
Limited to 40 participants

Need data to answer a research question? Interested in analyzing raw datasets with micro-level records about individual respondents? This hands-on workshop will familiarize you with the resources of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the Harvard Dataverse Network, which provide access to datasets in the social sciences and related fields. Topics will include the structure of data files, finding and downloading datasets, and understanding data documentation.

Please register for this session.

Sponsor(s): Libraries
Contact: Katherine McNeill, E53-168c, x3-0787,

From Turbines to Tariffs: Technical and Regulatory Issues for Scaling Up Wind Energy

Chiao-ting Li & Michael Davidson, Postdoc & Ph. D

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Date: Jan. 25&26 (10:00am-12:00 noon)

Location: E51-085

In this two-part IAP session, we will discuss the fundamentals of wind energy and how it integrates with electricity systems and regulatory structures. These topics will provide an overview of major issues in scaling up wind energy significantly in existing electricity systems, and then we will present two case studies from our research focusing on challenges and opportunities in China.


Date / Time (Jan.25, 10:00am-12:00noon, 2 hours)

Session #1: Science and engineering of wind energy


Date / Time (Jan.26, 10:00am-12:00noon, 2 hours)

Session #2: Wind energy in political and regulatory context, with China applications

○      1. Study of technical and institutional causes of wind energy spillage in Northeast China

○      2. Optimizing wind/coal hybrid bases across northern China


Sponsor(s): Joint Program/Science and Policy of Global Change
Contact: Chiao-ting Li, E19-411, 617-715-5254,

GlobeMed-GHMHI Friday Seminar Series

Hussein Abdallah

Enrollment: Limited: First come, first served (no advance sign-up)
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

The MIT chapter of GlobeMed is an undergraduate organization dedicated to grassroots global health efforts that make real and actionable impact around the world. In the spirit of this goal, we are launching our first ever seminar series this IAP, in conjunction with the MIT Global Health and Medical Humanities Initiative (GHMHI). For the second, third, and fourth Fridays of IAP, we will be hosting speakers from different fields who will discuss the state of their work in a particular sector of global or domestic health. Sign up here for email reminders in January about the seminars.

Sponsor(s): GlobeMed
Contact: Hussein Abdallah, HMABDALL@MIT.EDU

The Politics of Autopsy

Jan/15 Fri 01:00PM-03:00PM 4-237

Dr. Ari Samsky is a Princeton-trained anthropologist who has written extensively about the politics of international drug donation programs. In this talk, he will compare an epidemiological intervention during 1930s Brazil to present-day industry-led drug donation programs for neglected tropical disease. He will discuss how these interventions reinforce political-scientific "unspoken orthodoxies" of disease control.

Madeline Jenkins

Next Generation Health Professionals

Jan/22 Fri 01:00PM-03:00PM 4-237

Dr. Michelle Morse is a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Clinical Instructor at Harvard Med School. Dr. Morse will talk about her work in building global health care professionals as founder of EqualHealth, an NGO that aims to inspire and support the development of Haiti's next generation of healthcare leaders through improving medical education and creating opportunities for health professionals in Haiti. 

Ankita Reddy

Hyperdiversity and Health Care Delivery.

Jan/29 Fri 01:00PM-03:00PM 4-237

Dr. Seth Hannah is a Harvard-trained sociologist who explores the social and institutional processes that generate racial and ethnic disparities in health care. He is a co-author and co-editor of Shattering Culture: American Medicine Responds to Cultural Diversity (2011). In this seminar, Dr. Hannah will be speaking about the notion of "hyperdiversity" and how it impacts the delivery of health care in the United States.

Hussein Abdallah

Hard at Work: Film Portrayals of Gender, Social Mobility, and Economic Insecurity in the 1970s

Renee Blackburn

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/28
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

How do we define 1970s America? Is it through watching dancing disco lovers at Studio 54? Is it through hearing Richard Nixon’s resignation speech? Is it through seeing the long lines of cars lining up at gas stations during the oil crisis? This four-film series brings to light the issues of gender, economic instability, and social mobility in the United States during that period. Each film provides an insight into the social and cultural America of the 1970s, pulling us through the decade’s insecurities, instabilities, and changes, only to emerge on the other side in a different decade with different views on gender, race, class and society.


During each session, we will watch a film and leave time afterward for an optional discussion. Additonally, there will be OPTIONAL, supplemental readings that accompany the films, if you're interested in reading more!


Find more details and sign up at:

Sponsor(s): Science, Technology, and Society, Women's and Gender Studies
Contact: Renee Blackburn, RMBLACK@MIT.EDU

Film: Easy Rider

Jan/19 Tue 05:00PM-08:00PM 66-148

From Amazon: Two hippie bikers set out to discover "the real America" and wind up taking the ultimate bad trip. 

Film: Taxi Driver

Jan/20 Wed 05:00PM-08:00PM 66-148

From IMDB: A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.

Film: Saturday Night Fever

Jan/26 Tue 05:00PM-08:00PM 66-148

From IMDB: A Brooklyn teenager feels his only chance to succeed is as the king of the disco floor. His carefree youth and weekend dancing help him to forget the reality of his bleak life.

Film: Nine to Five

Jan/27 Wed 05:00PM-08:00PM 66-148

From IMDB: Three female employees of a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot find a way to turn the tables on him.

How Baseball, Poker, and Fermat Teach Us the Best Way to Elect the President.

Alan Natapoff, Research Scientist

Jan/20 Wed 04:00PM-05:30PM 37-212

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

A democratic voting system must pursue unanimous consent to the president it elects.  At presidential scale, simple majority voting will always be insensitive to the consent of a minority:  When tried it has failed consistently over time, sometimes catastrophically.  The Electoral College, modeled on the British Parliamentary system, has succeeded for centuries:  It pursues unanimous consent by giving each voter large fair power over the outcome.   To correct its failure in poorly-contested states we should give Electoral votes in proportion to votes cast, not to census population:  A voter can then punish a dominant candidate she rejects with a blank ballot; the newly-powerful votes cast represent consent to the outcome.  We calculate voting power, trace its paradoxes and oddities, examine its relationship to the design of the rules of baseball, and show how Fermat’s Rule would have resolved Florida’s deadlock in 2000—and changed its outcome.

Sponsor(s): Political Science
Contact: Alan Natapoff, 37-147, 617 253-7757, NATAPOFF@MIT.EDU

Jailed for Teaching Physics: Denial of education to the Baha'i community in Iran

Brian Aull, Member of MIT Board of Chaplains

Jan/29 Fri 12:30PM-01:30PM 1-150

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: None

The Baha'i Faith is an independent world religion that originated in Iran in the mid 1800's.   In Iran, the Baha'i community is the largest religious minority, and is subjected to systematic persecution by the government and Islamic clergy.   This session is for professors and others in the academic community to make them aware of one aspect of this persecution:  the denial of higher education to Baha'is and the imprisonment of faculty members of the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education.   One of these prisoners, an MIT alumnus recently released after serving a four-year term, tells his story in the current issue of Technology Review Magazine:



Sponsor(s): Bahai Association
Contact: Brian Aull, LL-LI-127C, 781 981-4676,

Marxist answer to another world war.

Felix Kreisel, Vladimir Volkov

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: Read the WSWS.ORG

World capitalist order, established by the US at the end of World War II and based on its economic hegemony, has crashed and the United States is at the center of economic and political convulsions. The American ruling elite is trying to reverse its long-term economic decline through frenetic military interventions in Ukraine, the Middle East and elsewhere, and by exporting its crisis to competitors. Collapse of the Soviet Union and other so-called "socialist" states has exacerbated rivalries among the advanced capitalist countries and flashpoints of future wars are growing around the world.

Contact: Felix Kreisel, NW21-109, 617 253-8625, FJK@MIT.EDU

Ukraine and proxy war against Russia.

Jan/05 Tue 06:00PM-08:00PM 5-233, Read

The United States, Germany and their friends staged a coup in Kiev 2 years ago to step up the pressure on the Moscow regime and decrease its ability to resist the US in Central Asia or the Middle East. Proxy wars against Russia are taking place in Ukraine and Syria. Nato is now on the borders of Russia, and for the third time in a century Ukraine is becoming a field of battle, and the break-up of Russia is the main goal.

Vladimir Volkov

From Tsar to Lenin - Russian Revolution

Jan/12 Tue 06:00PM-08:00PM 5-233

We shall introduce and view a documentary film "Tsar to Lenin", with original footage from the Russian Revolution. The preview can be seen here: The film will be followed by discussion. Suggested reading: Trotsky's "History of the Russian Revolution".

Felix Kreisel

Stalinism vs. Socialism

Jan/14 Thu 06:00PM-08:00PM 5-233

We shall review the history of the Soviet state over its 74-year lifetime, examine its internal contradictions, great strides forward, achievements and bitter defeats, the ruling Stalinist regime's crimes against its own people and its betrayal of socialism. We shall examine the collapse of the USSR and suggest lessons for the future. Suggested reading: Leon Trotsky's "The Revolution Betrayed".

Felix Kreisel

Capitalism in Russia and Ukraine

Jan/19 Tue 06:00PM-08:00PM 5-233

What is the balance sheet of capitalist restoration in the former Soviet Union after its demise? While high oil and gas prices have propped up the Putin regime in the past, it is experiencing price shocks and contraction now. Ukraine has little oil and it is shattering as a state. We shall examine the economic, political and social trends and see where Russia and the other successor states are heading.

Felix Kreisel

The migrant crisis and the United States

Jan/26 Tue 06:00PM-08:00PM 5-233

From Lybia, Afghanistan and Syria, Africa, Asia and Latin America migrants are fleeing the destruction of their countries, while in Europe and US the ruling regimes mobilize their armies and police, build new concentration camps and encourage local fascists. The endless "war on terror" serves to justify the destruction of democracy, police killings and more brutality.

Felix Kreisel

Lessons of XXth century

Jan/28 Thu 06:00PM-08:00PM 5-233

Prosperity and stability under capitalism are impossible; world politics is characterized by wars, plagues, destruction of whole societies, militarism and preparation of new wars. Social inequality grows in every country and between regions. Humanity is facing a dilemma: socialism or barbarism.

Felix Kreisel

Napkins to Launch

Dazza Greenwood, Scientist

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/11
Limited to 25 participants
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: None

Integrated Business/Legal/Technical Rapid Prototyping for Entrepreneurial New Venture Ideas 

MIT Media Lab's Dazza Greenwood ( and MIT Visiting Professor of Law Jonathan Askin (BLIP Clinic) are teaming up to offer an innovative project-based course at MIT this January for entrepreneurs and others with new venture ideas to learn and apply integrated business/legal/technical rapid prototyping skills for quick-start development of "back of the napkin" ideas.  The course is structured around sessions for project hacking and review/feedback and sessions for learning and skill-building focused on key business, legal, and technical issues, options, and opportunities for project success.

The course content also includes opportunties to work with Bitcoin and other Blockchain related technologies as the basis for potential new venture business models, legal structures, and technical solutions.  The course will provide opportunities for skill building and mentorship with experts from Consensus Systems for developer and end-user tools to build decentralized applications for blockchain ecosystems, focusing primarily on Ethereum.

The course is not limited to Bitcoin and Blockchain ventures.  If you have other venture ideas, feel free to participate.

For more information, see:

Contact: Dazza Greenwood, E15-384C, (617) 500-3644,

Napkins to Launch Alpha Phase

Jan/12 Tue 02:00PM-04:00PM E15-359

This is the first phrase of student project iteration from Napkins to Launch.

Jonathan Askin - Visiting Professor, Dazza Greenwood - Scientist

Napkins to Launch: Beta Phase

Jan/14 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM E15-359

Napkins to Launch student project second iteration and presentations.

Jonathan Askin - Visiting Professor, Dazza Greenwood - Scientist

Planners Read The Gorgias

Ezra Glenn

Jan/12 Tue 01:30PM-04:00PM 7-338, books provided

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/05

What is the role of oratory and power in a democratic society? Is it worse to do wrong or to be wronged? What is the difference between knowledge and true belief? Why is it important for both the accused and their judges to meet naked in court? (And what do all of these questions have to do with becoming an urban planner?) Come explore these themes with us in a participatory -- possibly dramatic -- reading of Plato's "Gorgias," a Socratic dialog written in 380 BC that is as relevant today as when it was written. Books provided; Greek food included; togas optional. 

Note: this is mostly an opportunity to actually read this wonderful and thought-provoking book with others, not a lecture; come prepared to read and take part, and we'll see how far we get.

Sponsor(s): Urban Studies and Planning
Contact: Ezra Glenn, 7-337, x3-2024,

Planning, Funding, and Implementing Transportation Projects in the Real World (or How It Really Works)

Eric Plosky, Kate Fichter

Jan/20 Wed 01:00PM-04:00PM 9-450

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up

As a vital and complex element of any urban or regional environment, transportation infrastructure both affects and is affected by land use patterns, economic development policies, political power-brokering and environmental resources, and so offers a lens through which to study many of the choices and constraints available to today's planners. This seminar will offer a practice-oriented overview of the issues, players and trends most relevant to contemporary transportation planning, as taught by two MIT/DUSP alumni currently working in the field.

Sponsor(s): Urban Studies and Planning
Contact: Ezra Glenn, 7-337, x3-2024,

Public Opinion Data Resources

Katherine McNeill

Jan/27 Wed 10:00AM-11:00AM LIB: 14N-132 DIRC

Sign-up by 01/27
Limited to 40 participants

Interested in studying public opinion in the U.S. and other countries? This workshop will teach you how to find data from public opinion polls, both summary statistics and individual response-level data files that you can analyze yourself. Covers the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and other resources on topics such as government, the economy, and much more.

Please register for this session.

Sponsor(s): Libraries
Contact: Katherine McNeill, E53-168c, x3-0787,

Responding to Terrorism with Courage and Compassion: Examining One Family's Transformative Journey

David Brancazio '89, SM '91

Jan/21 Thu 06:30PM-08:00PM 4-237

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required

In Our Son's Name is an intimate portrait of Phyllis and Orlando Rodríguez, whose son, Greg, dies with thousands of others in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The bereaved parents choose reconciliation and nonviolence over vengeance and begin a transformative journey that both confirms and challenges their convictions.

They speak out against war in Iraq and Afghanistan, publicly oppose the death penalty of avowed 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and befriend his mother. As their search for meaning evolves they speak out against anti-Muslim actions and find peace in working with prison inmates.

Their marriage strengthens, and they reach a deeper understanding of their rebellious son, who had just begun to find his way when his life was cut short. The film mixes in-depth interviews with on-location footage and striking archival photographs and video to create a deeply personal story that invites us to re-consider conventional concepts of justice and healing.

A discussion will follow the screening of this one-hour documentary film.

Register for this free event!

Sponsor(s): Alumni Association
Contact: Elena Byrne, W98-206C, 617 252-1143, EBYRNE@MIT.EDU

Urban Planning Film Series

Ezra Glenn

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

For IAP, the department's ongoing Urban Planning Film Series continues with three excellent documentaries about housing, home, and community.  Come to one or come to all!


Sponsor(s): Urban Studies and Planning
Contact: Ezra Glenn, 7-337, 617 253-2024, EGLENN@MIT.EDU

The Overnighters, by Jesse Moss

Jan/13 Wed 07:00PM-09:15PM 66-110

Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local pastor risks everything to help them.  Winner, Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking: Documentary, 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

"Might bring tears to your eyes\ldots a blue-collar meditation on the meaning of community and the imperative of compassion.''---Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times.

Ezra Glenn

Public Housing, by Fred Wiseman

Jan/20 Wed 07:00PM-10:30PM 66-110

This cinema-verite documentary captures daily life at the Ida B. Wells public housing development in Chicago. The film illustrates some of the experiences of people living in conditions of extreme poverty, including the work of the tenants council, street life, the role of police, job training, drug education, teenage mothers, dysfunctional families, elderly residents, nursery school, and after school teenage programs.

Ezra Glenn

Herman's House, by Angad Singh Bhalla

Jan/27 Wed 07:00PM-09:30PM 66-110

Herman Wallace may be the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States---he's spent more than 40 years in a 6-by-9-foot cell in Louisiana. Imprisoned in 1967 for a robbery he admits, he was subsequently sentenced to life for a killing he vehemently denies. Herman's House is a moving account of the remarkable expression his struggle found in an unusual project proposed by artist Jackie Sumell.

Ezra Glenn

Workshop: Law, Policy, and the So-Called Sharing Economy

Jonathan Askin, Visiting Professor

Jan/13 Wed 02:30PM-03:30PM E15-393

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/12
Limited to 18 participants
Prereq: none

What are the legal, policy, and societal implications surrounding emerging "sharing economy" ventures. Come with your venture ideas or just your perspectives on the future the sharing economy.

Contact: Jonathan Askin, E15-384C, 917 338-2356, ASKIN@MIT.EDU