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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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Introducing new faculty

All photos by Graham G. Ramsay, except for
Junot Díaz's photo (by Marion Ettlinger) and
Ivan Werning's photo (by Alexis Hoffmann).

Christopher CapozzolaChristopher Capozzola joins the MIT faculty this fall as Assistant Professor in the History Faculty. Cappozzola specializes in the political and cultural history of the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Cappozzola received the BA from Harvard College, where he majored in Social Studies, and the PhD in history from Columbia University in 2002. His dissertation, "Uncle Sam Wants You: Political Obligations in World War I America," uses political theory and social history to explore homefront mobilization in the United States during World War I. His work has been published in academic journals including American Quarterly, the Journal of American History, and the Radical History Review, and periodicals like The Nation, The Progressive, and The Boston Globe.

Junot Díaz Junot Díaz received the BA in literature and history from Rutgers University in 1992, and the MFA from Cornell University in 1995. Díaz taught at Syracuse University from 1997–2002. Díaz's debut Drown, published in 1996, contains stories that move from the barrios of the Dominican Republic to the struggling urban communities of New Jersey. Díaz's fiction has also appeared in Story, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Best American Fiction of 1996, 1997, 1999, and 2000, and African Verse. Among numerous honors, Díaz has won a Guggenheim, a Ruth McDermott Fellowship, and the Pushcart Prize for "Invierno," published in The Pushcart Book of Short Stories. Díaz will join the MIT faculty in February 2003 as Associate Professor in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.

Brian RobisonBrian Robison joins the MIT faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Music and Theatre Arts Section this fall. Robison earned his DMA in 1992 and MFA in 1999 at Cornell University. As a composer and theorist, Robison draws on his performing experience in a broad range of musical styles. His principal composition teachers were Steven Stucky, Karel Husa, Roberto Sierra, and Burt Fenner. He also studied with Philippe Manoury and Tristan Murail at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, where he was awarded the Maurice Ravel Prize in 1991. In July 2000, the American Composers Orchestra named him the winner of the 2000 Whitaker Commission; the new work, In Search of the Miraculous, will receive its world premiere performance by the ACO in Carnegie Hall in March 2003. His research interests include concert music of the late 20th century, and popular music of the United States and Brazil.

Donca SteriadeDonca Steriade, one of the world's leading phonologists, returns to the MIT faculty this fall as a Professor of Linguistics. She received the PhD in Linguistics in 1982 from MIT. After her graduation, Steriade worked as a historical linguist at the University of California, Berkeley. She returned to MIT in 1984 and received tenure in 1988. In 1989 Steriade returned to the West Coast, where she taught at UCLA for 13 years. During this period, the phonology program at UCLA grew significantly, attracting an increasing number of the highest-level prospective phonologists. Steriade is currently investigating the source of speakers' implicit preferences for certain sound patterns. She recently edited a volume on this subject with former colleagues and students from UCLA. Steriade has contributed articles on linguistics to numerous publications, including the Oxford Encyclopedia of Linguistics, A Handbook of Phonological Theory, Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction, and Perception in Phonology.

Ian CondryIan Condry joins the MIT faculty in the fall as an Assistant Professor of Japanese cultural studies in the Foreign Languages and Literatures section. Condry received the BA in Government from Harvard University in 1987 and the PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Yale University in 1999. Condry specializes in cultural anthropology, with a focus on popular culture, media, language, and globalization. Condry is currently working on a book about Japanese hip-hop as a case study for exploring the cultural politics of globalization, media, race, and ethnicity in popular music. Other publications include "The Social Production of Difference: Imitation and Authenticity in Japanese Rap Music," and "Japanese Hip-Hop and the Globalization of Popular Culture." Condry was an assistant professor of anthropology at Union College from 1999 to 2001 and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University in 2001–2002.

Sergei IzmalkovSergei Izmalkov, a native of Ukraine, graduated from Moscow State University in 1994 with a degree in Mathematics. He received the MA in Economics in 1997 from the New Economic School in Moscow, and the PhD in Economics in 2002 from Penn State University. Izmalkov's primary specialization is Game Theory and Applied Microeconomics. Secondary interests include Industrial Organization, Econometrics, and Mathematical Economics. He is currently focusing on the analysis of efficiency properties of open ascending price auctions, particularly in the interdependent values setting, when private information received by a bidder is valuable to others. Izmalkov has taught Introductory Econometrics at Penn State. He joins the MIT faculty this fall as Assistant Professor of Economics.

Charity Scribner joins the Foreign Languages and Literatures section this fall as an Assistant Professor of European Cultural Studies. Scribner's research focuses on contemporary literature and visual culture in Germany. This year she will publish articles in several venues, including Critical Inquiry and Rethinking Marxism. In 2003 the MIT Press will publish her first book. Scribner received the BA from Duke University in 1988 and the MPhil and PhD in Comparative Literature from Columbia University in 1996 and 2000 respectively. She was a lecturer at Columbia in 1997–1998 and 1999–2000. For the past two years Scribner has lived in Germany, where she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut in Essen and served as Platform Organizer for Documenta 11 in Kassel.

Ivan WerningIvan Werning received his BA in Economics from the Universidad de San Andres in 1996, the MA from the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in 1997, and the PhD from the University of Chicago in 2002. His PhD thesis examines dynamic optimal taxation and social insurance issues. Werning joins the Economics faculty at MIT this fall as a specialist in Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Public Finance. Werning was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and grew up in Chicago, IL. He returned to Argentina in the early 1980s, and his interest in economics was greatly influenced by the economic havoc he witnessed there. Werning's BA thesis studies the use of Provincial bonds, which were circulated side-by-side with the federal currency. These bonds were taken out of circulation in the mid '90s, but they have resurfaced in the current crisis and are again a subject of much discussion. Werning held a University fellowship during his first years and a John M. Olin Foundation fellowship during his last year at the University of Chicago.



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Fall 2002