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Vivek Bald

Vivek Bald is a scholar, writer, and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). His films include "Taxi-vala/Auto-biography," (1994) which explored the lives, struggles, and activism of New York City taxi drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and "Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music" (2003) a hybrid music documentary/social documentary about South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. Bald is currently working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the United States under the shadows of anti-Asian immigration laws and settled within U.S. communities of color in the early 20th century. The project consists of the Bengali Harlem book as well as a documentary film, “In Search of Bengali Harlem,” (currently in production), and a digital oral history website in development at bengaliharlem.com.

On leave in Fall 2023.

Eugenie Brinkema

Eugenie Brinkema — an affiliated faculty member based in MIT Literature — researches violence, affect, sexuality, aesthetics, and ethics in texts ranging from the horror film to gonzo pornography, from the body of films dubbed “New European Extremism” to the viral media forms of terrorism. Professor Brinkema’s articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including AngelakiCamera ObscuraCriticismdifferencesDiscourseThe Journal of Speculative PhilosophyThe Journal of Visual CultureLITQui Parle, Somatechnics, and World Picture. Her first book, The Forms of the Affects, published with Duke University Press in 2014, won honorable mention in the Modern Language Association First Book Prize. Her 2022 book Life-Destroying Diagrams explores the theoretical potential of radical formalism in relation to horror and love.

Ian Condry

Ian Condry s a cultural anthropologist of Japan and professor at MIT since 2002. He is the author of two books, Hip-Hop Japan and The Soul of Anime, both of which explore globalization from below. The books are available for free, thanks to Creative Commons and Duke University Press: mit.academia.edu/IanCondry.

In the fall of 2019, he launched the MIT Spatial Sound Lab, a community production studio for immersive, multiperspective, sonic experimentation. Among the goals is to provide a space for using sound to disrupt hierarchies, reduce inequalities, and cross borders. He is co-organizer of Dissolve Music, a sound conference and music festival, in 2018 and 2020 (mitdissolve.com).

Since 2018, he is the radio DJ for Near and Far, a Japanese hip-hop show, on WMBR 88.1FM Cambridge, and online at wmbr.org, weekly Tuesdays 7-8pm. Archive at mixcloud.com/iancondry.

Since 2006, he has organized the MIT / Harvard Cool Japan research project, which explores the critical potential of popular culture.

He is currently working on a book about musicians on the margins in Tokyo, Boston, and Berlin.

Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz is the author of Drown, This Is How You Lose Her, Islandborn, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. He is a MacArthur Fellow, and his non-fiction appears in The Boston Review and the New York Times. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, Díaz is a graduate of Rutgers University and Cornell University. At CMS/W, he regularly teaches Critical Worldbuilding.

Paloma Duong

At the intersection of cultural studies, media theory, and critical theory, Paloma Duong researches and teaches modern and contemporary Latin American culture. She works with social texts and emergent media cultures that speak to the exercise of cultural agencies and the formation of political subjectivity. Her most recent book is Portable Postsocialisms: Cuban Mediascapes after the End of History, a book-length study of Cuba’s changing mediascape and an inquiry on the postsocialist condition and its contexts. Her articles have been published in the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Art Margins, and Cuban Counterpoints: Public Scholarship about a Changing Cuba.

Marah Gubar

Marah Gubar is an interdisciplinary childhood studies scholar who found her academic footing as a specialist in children’s literature and popular theater. A through-line that connects her past and present work is her appreciative recognition of how artists working in various media have paved the way for theorists of childhood by generating nuanced accounts of youth agency that acknowledge without essentializing age-related asymmetries of ability, experience, and power. Building on their work, her scholarship addresses philosophical questions of what it means to be a child; what children’s literature is and how to teach it; why elaborating a positive vision of the concept of innocence might be of value; and whether a critically ambivalent form of paternalism might sometimes be justified.

Author of Artful Dodgers (OUP 2009) and many essays, Gubar is currently completing a book entitled How to Think About Children: Childhood Studies in the Academy and Beyond. In it, she test drives a simple, open-ended philosophical framework for thinking about childhood articulated in earlier articles, distinguishing between deficit, difference, and kinship models of what it means to be a child. Her goal is to show how this short, amendable list of models could function as a shared language, enabling researchers who work on children and childhood across the arts, sciences, and humanities to communicate their key insights not only with each other, but with people outside of academia. In the process, she offers a revisionary history of how the interdisciplinary field of “child study” came into being, one that celebrates the artful contributions of oddball figures who have been neglected for the ironic reason that no single discipline cares to claim them.

Fox Harrell

D. Fox Harrell is Professor of Digital Media & AI in both the Comparative Media Studies Program and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT. His research focuses on the relationship between imaginative cognition and computation. He founded and directs the MIT Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory (ICE Lab) to develop new forms of computational narrative, gaming, social media, and related digital media based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. He is the author of the book Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression (MIT Press, 2013). In 2010, the National Science Foundation recognized Harrell with an NSF CAREER Award for his project “Computing for Advanced Identity Representation.” In 2014-2015, he was awarded a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University and was recipient of the Lenore Annenberg and Wallis Annenberg Fellowship in Communication.

Eric Klopfer

Eric Klopfer is Professor and Director of the Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade at MIT. He is also a co-faculty director for MIT’s J-WEL World Education Lab. His work uses a Design Based Research methodology to span the educational technology ecosystem, from design and development of new technologies to professional development and implementation. Much of Klopfer's research has focused on computer games and simulations for building understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Much of his research centers on the affordances of new technologies including AR, VR and mobile, and how those can be applied today. He is the co-author of the books Adventures in Modeling, The More We Know, and Resonant Games, as well as author of Augmented Learning.

His lab has produced software (from casual mobile games to the MMO The Radix Endeavor) and platforms (including StarLogo Nova and Taleblazer) used by millions of people, as well as online courses that have reached hundreds of thousands.

Klopfer is also the co-founder and past President of the non-profit Learning Games Network.

Helen Elaine Lee

Helen Elaine Lee is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Her first novel, The Serpent's Gift, was published by Atheneum and her second novel, Water Marked, was published by Scribner. Her short story “Blood Knot” appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Ploughshares and the story “Lesser Crimes” appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Callaloo. Helen was on the board of PEN New England for 10 years, and she served on its Freedom to Write Committee and volunteered with its Prison Creative Writing Program, which she helped to start. She wrote about the experience of leading creative writing workshops in prison in a New York Times Book Review essay, “Visible Men”. Her stories about people who are incarcerated have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Hanging Loose, Best African American Fiction 2009 (Bantam Books), and Solstice Literary Magazine. Her novel Pomegranate was published in April 2023. It is about a woman who is getting out of prison and striving to stay clean, repair her relationships with her kids, and choose life. Her journey to grapple with the past, own and tell her story, and reassemble the pieces of her life is one of healing and autonomy. Her website is helenelainelee.net.

Crystal Lee

Crystal Lee is an assistant professor in computational media and design with a shared appointment in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and Comparative Media Studies/Writing. She works broadly on research related to ethical tech, social media, data visualization, and disability. This research has been supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the MIT Programs for Digital Humanities. She is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where she co-leads the Ethical Tech Working Group, and a senior fellow at Mozilla. She graduated with high honors from Stanford University and completed her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thomas Levenson

Professor Thomas Levenson is the winner of Walter P. Kistler Science Documentary Film Award, Peabody Award (shared), New York Chapter Emmy, and the AAAS/Westinghouse award. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, the Boston Globe, Discover, and The Sciences. He is winner of the 2005 National Academies Communications Award for Origins.

Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman is a physicist, novelist, and essayist. He was educated at Princeton University and at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. Before coming to MIT, he was on the faculty of Harvard University. At MIT, Lightman was the first person to receive dual faculty appointments in science and in the humanities, and was John Burchard Professor of Humanities before becoming Professor of the Practice of the Humanities to allow more time for his writing. Lightman’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic,Granta, Harper's, Nautilus, the New Yorker, and the New York Review of Books, among other publications. His novel Einstein’s Dreams was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. His novel The Diagnosis was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award in fiction. His most recent books are Screening Room: A Memoir of the South (2015), The Accidental Universe (2016), Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine (2018), In Praise of Wasting Time (2018), Three Flames (2019), Probable Impossibilities (2021), and The Transcendent Brain (2023). He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has six honorary degrees. He is on-camera host of the public television series,
SEARCHING: Our Quest for Meaning in the Age of Science, which is based
on some of his books. Lightman is also the founder of the nonprofit Harpswell, which works to advance a new generation of women leaders in Southeast Asia.

Kenneth Manning

Kenneth Manning received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Harvard University (History of Science; 1970, 1971, and 1974). He joined the MIT faculty in 1974.

His first major work was a study of nineteenth-century mathematics. This was followed by Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just (1983), which won the Pfizer Award and the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the Kennedy Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is currently studying the role of blacks in American medicine, and has authored a number of scholarly articles on blacks in science and medicine.

Seth Mnookin

Seth Mnookin is a longtime journalist and science writer and was a 2019-2020 Guggenheim Fellow. His most recent book, The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy, won the National Association of Science Writers “Science in Society” Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2020, the Polish translation of The Panic Virus won Jagiellonian University's "Smart Book of the Year" Editors Award. He is also the author of the 2006 New York Times bestseller Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top, which chronicles the challenges and triumphs of the John Henry-Tom Werner ownership group of the Boston Red Sox. His first book, 2004′s Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media, was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year.

Seth's 2014 New Yorker piece on rare genetic diseases won the American Medical Writers Association prize for best story of the year and was included in the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including STAT, New York, Wired, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Spin, Slate, and Salon.com. A former music columnist for The New York Observer, he began his journalism career as a rock critic for the now-defunct webzine Addicted to Noise. He graduated from Harvard College in 1994 with a degree in History and Science, and was a 2004 Joan Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Nick Montfort

Nick Montfort develops computational poetry and art, often collaboratively. Recent publications include Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities, second edition (MIT Press) along with several computer-generated poetry books: Golem, Hard West Turn, The Truelist, #!, the collaboration 2x6, and Autopia. He has worked to contribute to platform studies, critical code studies, and electronic literature.

Justin Reich

Justin Reich is an educational researcher interested in the future of learning in a networked world. He is the director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, which aspires to design, implement and research the future of teacher learning. He is the author of Iterate: The Secret to Innovation in Schools andFailure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can't Transform Education from Harvard University Press. He is the host of the TeachLab podcast, and five open online courses on EdX including Sorting Truth from Fiction: Civic Online Reasoning and Becoming a More Equitable Educator: Mindsets and Practices. Justin is a former fellow and faculty associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Paul Roquet

Paul Roquet studies the use of media as personal technologies of perceptual and emotional self-regulation. Ambient Media: Japanese Atmospheres of Self (Minnesota, 2016) explores how music, video art, film, and literature came to be used as tools of individual atmospheric mood control, theorizing what it means to treat media as a sensory resource for self-care. His new book, The Immersive Enclosure: Virtual Reality in Japan (Columbia, 2022) critically rethinks the cultural politics of consumer VR as a project to perceptually recenter individuals within a privatized virtual space. Roquet’s work engages closely with materials and social contexts from Japan, drawing on the country's history with media technologies to offer new perspectives for a global media studies. His essays have been published in journals including Animation, Journal of Japanese Studies, Journal of Popular Music Studies, Representations, Sound Studies, and the Journal of Visual Culture. For more details visit proquet.mit.edu.

Edward Schiappa

Edward Schiappa conducts research in argumentation, media influence, and rhetorical theory. His latest book is titled The Transgender Exigency: Defining Sex & Gender in the 21st Century, with brings together his long-time interests in definitional controversies and LGBTQ issues.

He has published eleven books, including Beyond Representational Correctness: Rethinking Criticism of Popular Media, Professional Development During Your Doctoral Education, and The Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece. his research has appeared in such journals as Philosophy & Rhetoric, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Review, Argumentation, Communication Monographs, Communication Theory, and Law & Contemporary Problems.

He has served as editor of Argumentation and Advocacy and received NCA's Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award in 2000 and the Rhetorical and Communication Theory Distinguished Scholar Award in 2006. He was named a National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar in 2009.

In 2016, Schiappa and his co-authors of “The Parasocial Contact Hypothesis” received the NCA’s Woolbert Award for work that has stood the test of time and has become a stimulus for new conceptualizations of communication phenomena. Schiappa is former Head of CMS/W and is John E. Burchard Professor of the Humanities.

T.L. Taylor

T.L. Taylor is Professor of Comparative Media Studies at MIT and Director of the MIT Game Lab. She is a qualitative sociologist who has focused on the interrelations between culture and technology in online environments for over thirty years. Her work sits at the intersection of sociology, critical internet and game studies, and science and technology studies.

Her book about game live streaming, Watch Me Play: Twitch and the Rise of Game Live Streaming (Princeton University Press, 2018), was the first of its kind to chronicle the emerging media space of online game broadcasting and won the American Sociological Association’s CITAMS book award. She is also the author of Raising the Stakes: E-Sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming (MIT Press, 2012) which explored the rise of esports and Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture (MIT Press, 2006), an ethnography of the massively multiplayer online game EverQuest. She is also co-author of, Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (Princeton, 2012) which focuses on conducting ethnographic and qualitative research in online environments.

Dr. Taylor is a highly sought after speaker and consultant. Both the White House and the International Olympics Committee have invited her to special summits focused on gaming. Journalists for the New York Times, PBS, the Los Angeles Times, BBC, CBC, and many others often reach out to Dr. Taylor for her expertise and she also regularly serves as a consultant to industry and civic sector initiatives.

She currently serves as a member of Twitch’s Safety Advisory Council, co-founded the non-profit AnyKey, and sits on the editorial boards of Social Media & Society, Games and Culture, American Journal of Play, and ROMChip.

For more information about Dr. Taylor visit tltaylor.com.

Professor Emeriti

William Uricchio

William Uricchio revisits the histories of old media when they were new; explores interactive and participatory documentary; writes about the past and future of television; thinks about algorithms and archives; and researches narrative in immersive and interactive settings. He is Emeritus Professor of Comparative Media Studies, founder and Principal Investigator of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, and Principal Investigator of the Co-Creation Studio. He was also Professor of Comparative Media History at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and has held visiting professorships at the Freie Universität Berlin, Stockholm University, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Lichtenberg-Kolleg), China University of Science and Technology, and in Denmark where he was DREAM professor. He has received Guggenheim, Humboldt, and Fulbright fellowships, the Berlin Prize, and the Mercator Prize.

His publications include Reframing Culture; We Europeans? Media, Representations, Identities; Die Anfänge des deutschen Fernsehens; Media Cultures; Many More Lives of the Batman; Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media for Equity and Justice, and hundreds of essays and book chapters, including a visual "white paper" on the documentary impulse (momentsofinnovation.mit.edu). He is currently leading a two-year research initiative on augmentation and public spaces with partners in Montreal and Amsterdam.

David Thorburn

Affiliated faculty member David Thorburn is Professor Emeritus of Literature at MIT and past director of the MIT Communications Forum. His most recent book is Knots, which is also his first book of poetry. Other books include Democracy and New Media and Rethinking Media Change, the launch volumes in the MIT Press series "Media in Transition". Other writings are Conrad's Romanticism and many essays and reviews on literature and media in such publications as Partisan Review, Commentary, The New York Times and The American Prospect as well as scholarly journals. He has published poetry in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Threepenny Review and Slate. His essays on television, written in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and his course, "American Television: A Cultural History," were among the first in the country to examine the medium in a humanistic context. He has also edited collections of essays on romanticism and on John Updike, as well as a widely used anthology of fiction, Initiation.

Thorburn was the founder and for twelve years the Director of the MIT Film and Media Studies program, the ancestor of the Comparative Media Studies program, MIT's first graduate program in the Humanities. In 2002, he was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT's highest teaching award. He received his A.B. degree from Princeton, his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford and taught in the English Department at Yale for ten years before joining the MIT faculty in 1976.

Jim Paradis

James Paradis is a historian of communication who focuses on problems of media and the professions. He works on the mutually-influential rise of professionalism and vernacular culture, the public reception of science, and the way in which fields of expertise are represented in public media. These interests converge in his current work on media and global warming. His methods are comparative, and draw on cultural studies, biographical approaches, intellectual history, and the history of rhetoric to study science popularization, science fiction, science education, two-cultures controversies, science as entertainment, and vernacular science.

These interests are highlighted in his various books, articles, and edited collections, including T. H. Huxley: Man's Place in Nature (Nebraska 1978); Victorian Science and Victorian Values (with T. Postlewait, Rutgers 1984); Evolution and Ethics (with G. Williams, Princeton 1989); Textual Dynamics of the Professions (with C. Bazerman, Wisconsin 1991); and Samuel Butler: Victorian against the Grain (Toronto 2007).

His newest course was featured by the MIT School in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences: "In a humanities media class, MIT students gain insights and skills to increase support for effective climate policy".

Paradis is the former Head of Writing and Humanistic Studies and its successor CMS/W; he is the Robert M. Metcalfe Professor of Writing and Comparative Media Studies.

Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman has a B.S. in astronomy from the University of Maryland. He teaches a science fiction writing workshop, reading and writing longer fiction, and reading and writing genre fiction. He was named the 2010 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master. The Grand Master award is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's highest accolade and recognizes excellence for a lifetime of contributions to the genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Marcia Bartusiak

Combining her training as a journalist with a graduate degree in physics, Marcia Bartusiak has been covering the fields of astronomy and physics for four decades and has published in a variety of publications, including Science, Smithsonian, Discover, National Geographic, Astronomy. and Natural History. Her latest books are Dispatches from Planet 3, a collection of cosmological essays, Black Hole: How An Idea Abandoned by Newtonians, Hated by Einstein, and Gambled on by Hawking Became Loved and The Day We Found the Universe, about the birth of modern cosmology in the 1920s, which was reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a small wonder” and received the History of Science Society’s 2010 Davis Prize for best history of science book for the public.

Bartusiak has also written Thursday's Universe, a guide to the frontiers of astrophysics; Through a Universe Darkly, a history of astronomers' quest to discover the universe's composition; and Einstein’s Unfinished Symphony, a chronicle of the international attempt to detect cosmic gravity waves (which was updated and republished in the summer of 2017). Each was named a notable book by the New York Times. Another of her books, Archives of the Universe, a history of the major discoveries in astronomy told through 100 of the original scientific publications, is used in introductory astronomy courses across the nation. In 2006 Bartusiak received the prestigious Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics for her significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, and humanistic dimension of physics and in 2008 was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for “exceptionally clear communication of the rich history, the intricate nature, and the modern practice of astronomy to the public at large.”