Recent Headlines

Citizens emerge from the slums

Leda Zimmerman MIT Department of Political Science

Research reveals that urban poor of the developing world are politically engaged and capable of lifting themselves up.

Data flow’s decisive role on the global stage

Leda Zimmerman MIT Department of Political Science

New research by a political science doctoral candidate illuminates the broad economic and political impacts of internet restrictions

Reflecting on September 11, 20 years later

Center for International Studies MIT News/Center for International Studies

Steven Simon, the Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow at the MIT Center for International Studies and an expert on US strategy and the war on terror, weighs in on 9/11 and where we can go from here.

Studying Community-Driven Development Projects in Indonesia

Will Sullivan, Ying Gao MIT GOV/LAB

Ying Gao, an MIT PhD student and MIT GOV/LAB researcher, is looking at how collaborations on service delivery between governments and communities impact leaders in informal communities.

How authoritarian leaders maintain support

Peter Dizikes MIT News

How do authoritarian regimes sustain their popularity? A novel study in China led by MIT scholars shows that anticorruption punishments meted out by government authorities receive significant support among citizens — who believe such actions demonstrate both competence and morally righteous leadership.

Apekshya Prasai receives 2021 Jeanne Guillemin Prize

Michelle English The Center for International Studies/MIT News

Apekshya Prasai is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science. Drawing on original data collected through fieldwork in Nepal and secondary data from across South Asia, her dissertation analyzes the processes that trigger women’s inclusion in rebel organizations and examines how women themselves influence these processes.

Governance innovation boot camp culminates in pitch night

Will Sullivan MIT News

Designed by the MIT Governance Lab (MIT GOV/LAB) and Sierra Leone’s Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI), the boot camp taught strategies for identifying and understanding governance problems and finding creative, evidence-based solutions.

Melissa Nobles named MIT’s next chancellor

Peter Dizikes MIT News

MIT has announced that its next chancellor will be Melissa Nobles, an accomplished scholar who has led the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences since 2015.

For the first time, NATO is focusing on China

Daniel Ofman The Worlds

Both the Trump and the Biden administrations have described China as an adversary, a rival, even a threat. China has been front and center when it comes to Biden's foreign policy agenda. Now, the NATO alliance is also zeroing in on China with laserlike focus.

Six MIT SHASS educators receive 2021 Levitan Teaching Awards

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences MIT News

Six individuals have received the James A. and Ruth Levitan Teaching Award for 2021. The award, given annually by the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), honors superlative teachers across the school, who have been nominated by MIT students themselves.

Searching for truth in data from authoritarian regimes

Hannah Meiseles MIT News

“Through my undergrad classes, I was introduced to many different international case studies. It helped me realize the need for action sometimes pushes people to settle for easy answers when searching for ways to improve the livelihoods of their fellow citizens.”

A searching discussion about being Asian American at MIT

Peter Dizikes MIT News

A broad-ranging panel discussion on May 18 examined the complexities of Asian American and Pacific Islander identity and acceptance at MIT, while underscoring the need for collaborative work among groups to combat prejudice and create equity.

Mobilizing the masses, one on one

Leda Zimmerman MIT Political Science

PhD candidate Gabriel Nahmias seeks to lower the barriers to political engagement.

Rt Hon. David Miliband SM ’90 receives the 2021 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award

School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) has announced that the Right Honorable David W. Miliband SM ’90, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), has been recognized with the 2021 Robert A. Muh Alumni Award.

A guide to when and how to build technology for social good

Will Sullivan MIT News/MIT Governance Lab

People frequently try to participate in political processes, from organizing to hold government to account for providing quality health care and education to participating in elections. But sometimes these systems are set up in a way that makes it difficult for people and government to engage effectively with each other. How can technology help?

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.