Three awards for MIT research in anthropology, economics and political science

Anna Mikusheva receives Elaine Bennett Research Prize
Prize recognizes outstanding young women in economics

Anna Mikusheva, the Castle Krob Career Development Assistant Professor of Economics, has been awarded the 2012 Elaine Bennett Research Prize from the American Economic Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession (CSWEP). The prize, conferred every other year to recognize, support and encourage outstanding contributions by young women in economics, was awarded to Mikusheva for advancing the field of econometric theory.

Mikusheva's research combines econometric theory with tools for tackling problems in applied econometric practices. She joins two previous Bennett award winners from MIT: Esther Duflo, the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics; and Amy Finkelstein, Ford Professor of Economics.

"Anna has done outstanding research on empirical methods for macroeconomic data," said Whitney Newey, the Carlton Professor of Economics and head of the Department of Economics. "She solved longstanding problems of inference for non-stationary data and for modern macroeconomic models. She is also an outstanding teacher. This prize is a wonderful recognition of a promising scholar."

Full story at MIT SHASS News

MIT Political Scientist Roger Petersen wins Distinguished Book Award for "Western Intervention in the Balkans"
Award for best book on international politics of ethnicity, nationalism or migration

The Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association has awarded the Distinguished Book Award to Roger Petersen's "Western Intervention in the Balkans, The Strategic Use of Emotion in Conflict" (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Petersen is the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at MIT.

The award recognizes the best book published over the past two years in the study of the international politics of ethnicity, nationalism or migration. The criteria for the award include the originality of the argument presented, quality of the research, ability to draw on the insights of the multiple disciplines, innovative methods or methodological syntheses, readability of the text and the policy or practical implications of the scholarship.

"Western Intervention in the Balkans" has also received the 2012 Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies, given by the Association for the Study of Nationalities, and the 2012 Marshall Shulman Book Prize, given by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Of the book, Cambridge University Press writes: "Conflicts involve powerful experiences. The residue of these experiences is captured by the concept and language of emotion ... [including the emotions of fear, anger, desire for vengeance, resentment, and contempt]. These emotions can become resources for political entrepreneurs. A broad range of Western interventions are based on a view of human nature as narrowly rational. Correspondingly, intervention policy generally aims to alter material incentives ("sticks and carrots") to influence behavior. In response, poorer and weaker actors who wish to block or change this Western implemented "game" use emotions as resources. This book examines the strategic use of emotion in the conflicts and interventions occurring in the Western Balkans over a twenty-year period."

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MIT Anthropologist Stefan Helmreich wins Rachel Carson Prize for "Alien Ocean"
Presented by the Society for the Social Study of Science

Stefan Helmreich's much-admired book "Alien Ocean, Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas" (University of California Press, 2009), has won the 2012 Rachel Carson Book Prize, given by the Society for the Social Study of Science to recognize a work of special social or political relevance in science and technology studies. Helmreich, a professor of anthropology, has received two earlier significant prizes for "Alien Ocean": the 2010 Gregory Bateson Book Prize, awarded by the Society of Cultural Anthropology, and the 2010 Senior Book Prize from the American Ethnological Society.

Presenting the award at the ceremony in Copenhagen, Javier Lezaun said, "This is a book that leads us into an alien world in the company of the scientists who research microbial life forms, and of all those who place their hopes in the hidden riches of the sea. This is a book that will change the way you think about nature and ecology; an anthropological study that reads, at times, like science fiction. Please join me in congratulating Stefan for this achievement."

Full story at MIT SHASS News