Six faculties of humanities and arts receive MIT SHASS Research Fund awards for 2022 | MIT News

The annual MIT SHASS Research Fund supports research in the Institute’s humanities, arts and social sciences that shows promise to make a significant contribution to the proposed field of work. Congratulations to the six recipients for 2022:

Dwai Banerjee, associate professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society, will use his money for his work on the book project ‘A Counter History of Computing in India’. Although India provides cheap technological labor to the rest of the world, the country is lagging behind in basic computer science education, research and development. Banerjee has been tracking major shifts in the relationship between the Indian state and computer science since the 1950s.

Tristan Brown, assistant professor of history, will use the prize to collect data on the spread of Islam in China during the Ming and Qing dynasties. This research could potentially reveal that the Chinese state was often heavily involved in establishing and supporting Islamic institutions during these periods. The end product will be a website where scientists can research and use data-driven maps showing the historical location of mosques across China and the individuals involved in their creation.

The award enables Eric Goldberg, professor of history, to make a research trip to Berlin in the summer of 2022 for his new book project, “The Carolingians and the Vikings: Contact, Conflict, and Accommodation, 751-987.” This book challenges the stereotypes of the Scandinavian looters to provide a valuable new perspective on ninth and tenth century history in Europe.

The funding supports two projects by Nick Montfort, professor in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program. The first is 101 BASIC Poems, a literary and media effort that will present short computer programs for classical computers that rework and comment on poetry and art from the past century. The second is the development of Curveship, a programming platform for creating variable stories that can potentially be used creatively, learning and exploring.

History professor TanalĂ­s Padilla will use her grant to conduct short-term exploratory research trips to Chile, Bolivia and Mexico for her new book on the effects of Cuba’s medical internationalism in Latin America. Since 1960, hundreds of thousands of Cuban medical professionals have been sent to Asia, Africa and Latin America, in defiance of the long-standing symbolism of anti-imperialism on the island. Padilla will examine the local impact of these international political transactions.

The award supports Ken Urban, senior lecturer in the Music and Theater Arts section, in creating a new
multimedia game, “The Conquered”, directed by Jay Scheib, Class of 1949 Professor of Theater Arts. The production will bring six actors to campus along with a design team for an intensive two-week workshop into the new year, using MIT’s engineering resources to produce video and audio elements for the play.

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