Soundings - home
Fall 2001


Getting a fix on complexity

Behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan adds psychological quirks and foibles to rational economic models

Biting the hand that feeds it

Spotlight on the Center for International Studies

Beyond the dramatic norm

World theater takes center stage at the MIT Theater Arts Program

A cut above

Kudos to exemplary SHASS staff

The democratizing quotient

The Shakespeare Project leads the humanities into the digital universe


New faculty

Book notes

Bullets & bytes

Honors & awards



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Soundings is published by the Dean's Office of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at MIT

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Bullets & bytes

Joshua Cohen
Jing Wang
David Kaiser

Joshua CohenJoshua Cohen named inaugural holder of Goldberg Chair
Professor Joshua Cohen, who holds joint appointments in the Political Science Department and the Philosophy Section of the Linguistics and Philosophy Department, has been named the first incumbent of the Leon and Anne Goldberg Chair in the Humanities. This newly endowed professorship focuses on the study of the U.S. Constitution and other constitutions. Currently Head of the Political Science Department, Cohen joined the MIT faculty in 1978. He is an outstanding scholar of political philosophy, a renowned teacher, and author and editor of 21 books and nearly 60 articles, including Money and Politics: Financing our Elections Democratically. He is also editor-in chief of the political and literary magazine Boston Review. Among his many honors are the Harold E. Edgerton Award, the highest honor given to young faculty at MIT, and the James and Ruth Levitan Prize in the Humanities. He received his BA and MA in philosophy from Yale University and his PhD in philosophy from Harvard University.

The endowed professorship is the gift of Leon J. Goldberg. He received his BS (1926) and MS (1927) in electrical engineering and worked his entire career with General Electric in Schenectady, New York, until his retirement in 1970. His special interests are U.S. history, Shakespeare, and perennial gardening.
Photo: Graham G. Ramsay.


Jing WangJing Wang first holder of Fang Chair
Professor Jing Wang has joined the MIT faculty as the first incumbent of the S.C. Fang Professorship in Chinese Language and Culture in the Foreign Languages and Literatures Section. She comes to MIT from Duke University, where she chaired the Department of Asian and African Languages and Literature and directed the Center for East Asian Institutional and Cultural Studies. Wang is one of the foremost scholars of Chinese literature in the United States; her wide-ranging scholarship involves classical Chinese texts, folklore and mythology, literary theory, and cultural history. Her publications include High Culture Fever: Politics, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Deng's China; Chinese Popular Culture and the State; Cinema and Desire, and The Story of Stone, which won the Association for Asian Studies' Levenson Prize for the best book in pre-modern Chinese studies. In addition to teaching and research at MIT, Wang will forge new links with the Comparative Media Studies Program. She was educated at National Taiwan University and the University of Michigan and earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The endowed professorship is a gift of Kenneth Fang. He received his SM in chemical engineering in 1961. He is currently managing director and co-owner of Fang Brothers Knitting Limited, an international clothing manufacturer. He and his family, including his son Douglas, '95 MG, live in Hong Kong, where he has twice served as vice president of the MIT Club. The S.C. Fang Chair honors the memory of Kenneth Fang's late father.
Photo: Benjamin White.


David KaiserDavid Kaiser honored with Levitan Prize
The 2001 Levitan Prize in the Humanities has been awarded to David Kaiser of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Professor Kaiser's research interests focus on the history of science; with this award he will conduct further research on his book, "Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics," which develops a history of theoretical physics that incorporates a practice-oriented view of scientific theories.

Kaiser received doctoral degrees in the history of science and theoretical physics from Harvard University, and is in his second year at MIT. He holds a joint appointment as assistant professor in STS and lecturer in the Department of Physics.

The $25,000 prize was established through a gift from James A. Levitan, a 1945 MIT graduate in chemistry, a member of the MIT Corporation, and a senior partner in the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom of New York City. The prize, first awarded in 1990, supports innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities by faculty members in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Photo: Graham G. Ramsay.


Three SHASS alums head higher education institutions
Three SHASS alumni have been named presidents of higher education institutions. Lawrence H. Summers, SB Economics ('75), was appointed president of Harvard University; Lawrence Bacow, SB Economics ('72), is the new president of Tufts University, and Norman Fainstein, SB Political Science ('66), PhD Political Science ('71), has taken the reins at Connecticut College. Summers, former US Treasury Secretary and a former MIT and Harvard economics professor, was named Harvard's 27th president. Bacow, who assumed the Tufts presidency after serving as MIT Chancellor and professor of environmental studies, is widely regarded for his scholarship on alternative dispute resolution. Fainstein, an internationally prominent scholar of urban studies, came to Connecticut College after serving as Dean of the Faculty at Vassar College. Dean Philip S. Khoury commented: "SHASS, like the rest of MIT, is committed to producing leaders for all walks of life and it is a pleasure to watch three of our School's graduates ascend to the very top ranks of higher education in America."



Copyright © 2001 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Soundings - home
Fall 2001