MIT professor’s book digs into the eclectic, textually linked reading choices of people in medieval London.
Two new endowed professorships have been announced in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
Joshua Cohen has been selected as the first Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor in the Humanities. Head of the Department of Political Science since 1997, Cohen also holds an appointment in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.
In announcing the appointment, Philip S. Khoury, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS), said, "Josh Cohen is not only one of America's leading political theorists but is also one of the few academics who is systematically connecting theory to the practice of politics, with the aim of perfecting our constitutional system. He is a natural leader."
The Goldberg professorship, the gift of alumnus Leon J. Goldberg, focuses on the study of constitutions and constitutionalism in the United States and elsewhere. Goldberg received the S.B. in 1926 and the S.M. in 1927 in electrical engineering from MIT and worked his entire career at General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y.
Cohen's research has centered on the relationship between political values and democratic political institutions. In recent years, he has developed a "deliberative" model of democracy, which emphasizes the importance of public reasoning in collective decision-making.
Cohen has been at MIT since 1977. He has previously held the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professorship in Political Science. He received the B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from Yale University and the Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard University.
Jing Wang of foreign languages and literatures has been selected as the first S.C. Fang Professor of Chinese Language and Culture.
Khoury noted that Jing Wang is one of the most creative critics of modern Chinese literature and culture in the world. "She will anchor MIT's program in Chinese language and culture and join SHASS's growing community of China specialists in promoting Chinese studies on campus," he said.
Wang comes to MIT from the Department of Asian and African Languages and Literature at Duke University, where her work has focused on pre-modern Chinese literature, contemporary Chinese literature and film, and contemporary Chinese popular culture and intellectual critique.
Her many publications include two books: "High Culture Fever: Politics, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Deng's China" (1996), and "The Story of Stone: Intertextuality, Ancient Chinese Stone Lore, and the Stone Symbolism of 'Dream of the Red Chamber,' 'Water Margin' and 'Journey to the West'" (1992), for which she received the Joseph Levenson Prize of the Association for Asian Studies for the Best Book on Pre-Modern China.
The S.C. Fang Fund for Chinese Language, Literature and Culture supports an endowed professorship and provides funds for the development of new courses and for teaching support.
Kenneth Fang received the S.M. in chemical engineering from MIT in 1961. He is managing director and co-owner of Fang Brothers Knitting Ltd., an international clothing manufacturer. He and his family, including his son Douglas (S.B. 1995), live in Hong Kong, where he has twice served as vice president of the MIT Club of Hong Kong. The Fang chair honors the memory of Kenneth Fang's late father.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 26, 2001.