Recent Headlines

Giving the people what they want?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Research by MIT political scientist Devin Caughey shows that over time, elected politicians in the U.S. are generally responsive to the opinions of voters.

Political scientist In Song Kim receives the 2021 Levitan Prize

MIT SHASS Communications

In his new book, Kim aims to "provides a big data analysis of contemporary trade policy-making, facilitating not only academic research of trade with a new unit of analysis but also public awareness of product-specific trade negotiations such as the current China-U.S. trade dispute.”

To arms or to flight?

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

Political science graduate student Aidan Milliff finds significant differences in how people in similar situations respond to threats of violence.

What must the US do to sustain its democracy?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Recent months have been tumultuous for U.S. democracy, in ways that are both novel and yet also connected to conflicts seen throughout the country’s past. MIT News spoke to several of the Institute’s political scientists and historians, and asked them: What must the U.S. do to sustain the health of its democracy?

A new approach to studying religion and politics

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Associate Professor Richard Nielsen is an MIT political scientist with an innovative research program: He studies clerics in the Islamic world, combining textual analysis, ethnographic insights, on-the-ground research in the Middle East, and a big-data approach to charting online tracts.

For cultural and political conflicts, a humanizing imperative

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Nasir Almasri heard so many discussions about the political struggles of Palestinians that by the time he was 7, he thought he’d heard enough to last a lifetime. He was wrong.

Taking the pulse of local politics

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

With research that captures and analyzes information from large databases, Magazinnik is revealing that local governance and execution of federal policies varies widely, and does not uniformly advance democratic norms.

Democracy in distress?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Experts analyze a global trend: democratic governments that collapse from within while maintaining a veneer of legitimacy.

3 questions with Fotini Christia, the new Chair of the Social & Engineering Systems PhD program


Fotini Christia is a professor of political science and faculty member of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. Her research interests deal with the political economy of conflict and development in the Muslim world and she has done extensive experimental, survey, and big data research on Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, and Yemen. In addition to chairing the Social & Engineering Systems PhD program, she directs the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC) within IDSS.

A new world of warcraft

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

Political scientist Erik Lin-Greenberg explores how a burgeoning high-tech arsenal is shaping military conflict.

3 Questions: Chappell Lawson on U.S. security policy

Peter Dizikes MIT News

The year 2020 has featured an array of safety and security concerns for ordinary Americans, including disease and natural disasters. How can the U.S. government best protect its citizens? That is the focus of a new scholarly book with practical aims, “Beyond 9/11: Homeland Security for the Twenty-First Century,” published by the MIT Press. The volume features chapters written by 19 security experts, and closely examines the role of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was created after the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Why soldiers fight

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

Political science graduate student Matthew Cancian brings his own military experience to bear on battlefield psychology

A champion of renewable energy

Hannah Meiseles MIT News

It’s an amazing moment when a topic learned in the classroom comes to life. For senior Darya Guettler, that moment came on a sweltering day while installing solar panels in low-income communities in Los Angeles, alongside workers who had been previously incarcerated.

Finding patterns in the noise

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

Using novel computational approaches, graduate student Sean Liu develops better tools for analyzing data.

Seeing the light

Leda Zimmerman Political Science

Blindsided by a pandemic and hunkering down at home instead of celebrating spring on campus, MIT seniors might reasonably be feeling blue. But a group of political science majors glimpse brighter days ahead, as they springboard from rewarding academic programs into meaningful careers.

Teaching Remotely: Political Economy

Molly Ruggles MIT Open Learning

Theories of the State and the Economy (17.100) is a graduate seminar, normally consisting of in-person lectures and facilitated discussions. Faced with quickly transitioning to online teaching and without prior experience, Professors Suzanne Berger and Michael Piore met the challenge in several ways.

Charles Stewart on the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on the 2020 elections

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Charles Stewart III is the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science at MIT and the founder of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. SHASS Communications spoke with him recently about the broader impacts of the pandemic on the U.S. elections, in particular the decisions that need to be made, quickly, to increase the extent of voting-by-mail and other safe voting methods for the general election in November.