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Fall 2002

Fall 2002

The hopeful democrat

In a conversation with soundings contributing editor Orna Feldman, Professor Joshua Cohen discusses freedom of expression, campaign finance reform, and the trouble with political philosophy today.

Stepping up!

Recipients of the Spring 2002 SHASS Infinite Mile Awards were announced in May.

Science Writing Program opens its doors

MIT's new graduate program in science writing hopes to influence both the discipline of science writing and the public understanding of science and technology.

Planting seeds

The Burchard Scholars Program makes room in the MIT universe for questions without answers.


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

Diana HendersonHenderson receives
Levitan Prize

Photo courtesy MIT.

Associate Professor Diana Henderson has received the 2002 Levitan Prize in the Humanities for a book project entitled Shakespeare's Europe. The book will examine the European political contexts of Shakespeare's day as they come to bear upon the imagined locations and thematic concerns of Shakespeare's plays. The Levitan Prize will allow Henderson to spend time this autumn doing research at collections in Europe and the United States, and will support the preparation of the book. The $25,000 prize was established through a gift from James A. Levitan. A member of the MIT Corporation, Mr. Levitan received the SB degree in chemical engineering from MIT in 1948, but remains affiliated with the Class of 1945, with which he spent five terms prior to his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. First awarded in 1990 to Professor Joshua Cohen, the Levitan Prize supports innovative and creative scholarship in the humanities by SHASS faculty members. Professor Henderson received the BA in English and Philosophy from the College of William and Mary and the MA and PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Her publications include the book Passion Made Public: Elizabethan Lyric, Gender and Performance and articles in Shakespeare: The Movie, A New History of Early English Drama, Virginia Woolf: Reading the Renaissance, and Blackwell's Companion to Shakespeare.

Rosalind H. WilliamsWilliams named director
of STS

Photo courtesy Donna Coveney, MIT News Office.

Dr. Rosalind H. Williams, a cultural historian and Robert M. Metcalfe Professor of Writing, has been named Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS). Williams, a specialist in the cultural study of technology, received the BA from Harvard University in 1966, the MA from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967 and the PhD in 1978 from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Williams began her teaching career at MIT in 1983 as a lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. She was named Robert M. Metcalfe Associate Professor of Writing in 1993, and served as Dean of Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs at MIT from 1995–2000. Williams holds a joint appointment in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies. Williams is the author of numerous publications, including Notes on the Underground: An Essay on Technology, Society and the Imagination (MIT Press, 1990) and Dream Worlds: Mass Consumption in Late Nineteenth-Century France (University of California Press, 1982). Her third book, Retooling: A Historian Confronts Technological Change, was published in September 2002, and draws upon her experience as a historian and MIT dean to comment upon the current "information revolution." Dean Khoury, who has worked closely with Williams in the past, feels that Williams' administrative experience as dean, as well as her connections across MIT and her devotion to promoting dialogue across the Institute's learning cultures, make her ideally suited to take over as the next director of STS.

Elizabeth GarrelsElizabeth Garrels named
head of FL&L

Photo courtesy Donna Coveney, MIT News Office.

Professor Elizabeth Garrels has been named the new head of the Foreign Languages and Literatures section in SHASS. Professor Garrels received the BA in 1967 from the University of Michigan and the MA and the PhD in romance languages and literatures from Harvard University in 1969 and 1974 respectively. A noted scholar in 19th- and 20th-century Spanish-American literature, Garrels joined the MIT faculty in 1979, and was awarded the Levitan Prize in the Humanities in 1993 for innovative and creative scholarship. Garrels is currently finishing the first English translation of D.F. Sarmiento's autobiography, Recollections of a Provincial Past. In addition to being co-translator, she is also volume editor of the book, which is part of the Library of Latin America series published by Oxford University Press. Garrels has also published two books: Las grietas de la ternura: Nueva lectura de Teresa de la Parra, in 1987, and Mariátegui y la Argentina: Un caso de lentes ajenos, in 1982. Dean Khoury looks forward to working with Elizabeth Garrels: "I have always admired her powerful commitment to humanistic scholarship, and I know her to have the highest academic standards."

$10 Million Starr Foundation
Gift to CIS

The MIT Center for International Studies (CIS) received a $10 million grant from the Starr Foundation in May 2002. The grant is the largest private foundation gift ever given in support of SHASS. The gift was announced by MIT President Charles M. Vest during celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Center. The CIS has raised over $15 million in its anniversary year, including a $2 million matching grant from the French government for the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) France program. According to President Vest, "The Starr Foundation has been a very generous supporter of CIS in the past. This new commitment is a tremendous and well-deserved vote of confidence in the Center's continued and future contributions to the health and security of our world." The Center for International Studies, which is directed by Richard J. Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science, is dedicated to generating the knowledge, skills, and leadership necessary to address an increasingly complex international political and economic environment.



Copyright © 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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