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Fall 1998


Sharp tongue, maverick mind

Dean's letter

Covering black holes, fossil worms, and a cure for cancer

What's in a word


Feeling most alive



New faculty

New books

Honors & awards

Bullets & bytes

Hidden gems



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Soundings is a publication of the School of Humanities and Social Science at MIT

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Introducing new faculty

The faculty roster of the School of Humanities and Social Science is expanding with an infusion of new talent and expertise. Due to space constraints, we introduce in this issue only half the new faces at our School. The remaining new faculty will be featured in the Spring issue of soundings.

Brandice Canes
Thomas Christensen
Sally Haslanger
Sendhil Mullainathan
Stephen Ross
Stephen Yablo


Brandice Canes
Brandice Canes, a new assistant professor in the Political Science Department, specializes in American politics and public policy. She obtained a BA in economics from Princeton University in 1993 and completed a PhD in business, with a specialization in political economics, from Stanford University this year. Her dissertation, "Essays in Executive Branch Policy Influence," uses game-theoretic and econometric analysis to examine issues of presidential legislative influence. Canes' research continues to focus on this subject as well as the policy implications of administrative institutions. Using data on wetlands permitting, she is currently analyzing how litigation threats affect bureaucratic behavior. She also is a recipient of fellowships from the Olin Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency's Science to Achieve Results program.

Thomas Christensen

Thomas Christensen is a new tenured associate professor of political science, specializing in Chinese foreign policy, international relations theory, and international security affairs. He received a BA in history from Haverford College in 1984, an MA in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987, and a PhD in political science from Columbia University in 1993. He has authored a book, Useful Adversaries: Grand Strategy, Domestic Mobilization, and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-58 (1996), and articles on topics ranging from China's contemporary security policy to security alliances in European history. He currently is involved in two research projects, one addressing the triangular relations of the United States, China, and Japan in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, the other focusing on the roles of ideology and nationalism in China's policies toward its communist allies in the 1950s and 1960s. Before coming to MIT, he taught at Cornell University.

Sally Haslanger
Sally Haslanger joins MIT as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. She has published on topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and feminist theory, with emphases on feminist epistemology, critiques of objectivity, and theories of social construction. She received her BA in philosophy and religion from Reed College in 1977, her MA in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1980, and her PhD in philosophy from the University of California-Berkeley in 1985. Her ongoing research interests include the distinction between natural and social kinds; the problems of essentialism; and constructions and reconstructions of race, gendered bodies, sexuality, and families, especially motherhood. Before coming to MIT, she taught at the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of California-Irvine.

Sendhil Mullainathan

Sendhil Mullainathan is a new assistant professor in the Department of Economics. He received a BA in computer science, economics, and mathematics from Cornell University in 1993, and in 1998 earned a PhD in economics from Harvard University. His thesis developed a model of human memory used to understand biases in decision making and economic puzzles in consumption and asset pricing. His current research examines other interactions between psychology and economics, European unemployment, firms' personnel policies, corporate governance, gender discrimination, welfare to work transition, and the impact of family structure on child outcomes.


Stephen Ross Stephen Ross recently joined the Sloan School of Management and the Department of Economics as the Franco Modigliani Professor of Finance and Economics. Between 1985 and 1998 he served as the Sterling Professor of Economics and Finance at Yale University. Ross received a BS in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1965 and a PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1970. His research has focused on the economic implications of arbitrage and uncertainty, and he is the co-author of an introductory finance text, Corporate Finance. He currently is working on models of corporate finance and on the concepts of rationality and completeness in financial markets. In addition to his academic work, he is a co-chairman of Roll & Ross Asset Management Corporation, a director of CREF and of General Reinsurance Corporation, and a trustee of the California Institute of Technology.

Stephen Yablo Stephen Yablo, a new tenured associate professor in the Linguistics and Philosophy Department, conducts research in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and philosophical logic. Before coming to MIT, he taught for 12 years at the University of Michigan. He has a BSc in mathematics and philosophy, which he earned at the University of Toronto in 1979, and a PhD in philosophy, which he gained at the University of California-Berkeley in 1986. He enjoys thinking about identity, essence, causation, paradox, color, existence, definition, truth - almost anything but ethics. His current work concerns the corrosive effects of metaphor on the traditional project of philosophical ontology.


Copyright © 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Soundings - home
Fall 1998