The doctoral program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) at MIT, founded in 1988, is a unique interdisciplinary academic community devoted to studying the social, cultural, and political life of science and technology. Located within MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, HASTS faculty work with students to develop original scholarship on the historical foundations and contemporary implications of scientific and technological knowledge and practice.
As a culmination of their work, HASTS students complete dissertations that intervene in scholarly and public conversations about the role of science in society. After graduation, students go on to careers in academia, public service, and private industry.
HASTS is a collaborative program sponsored by three MIT academic units: History (course 21H), Anthropology (course 21A), and Science, Technology, and Society (course STS). Faculty members from these three units share responsibility for teaching graduate courses and for working with students in individual tutorials, reading courses, dissertation research, and more.
The Doctoral Program is governed by a Steering Committee, which consists of the Director of Graduate Studies and the faculty heads of the three participating units. A faculty member from STS, History, or Anthropology serves as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Administration of the Doctoral Program is the responsibility of STS.
How do factors such as economics, politics, and culture shape the questions scientists ask?
How does this change over time and in different contexts?
How do technologies—computers, energy and environmental infrastructures, genetically modified plants, and others—embed and activate social values and priorities?
Who decides and who benefits?
How can such knowledge be leveraged to envision a more equal and inclusive future for everyone that promotes greater well-being?
Through scholarship, teaching, and public engagement with pressing matters of both local and global concern, History at MIT prepares students to live as active members of their communities in light of the past.
MIT Anthropology conducts ethnographic research informed by social theory to study issues of contemporary, cross-cultural concern, such as migration and race, medicine and health, class and inequality, language and technology, food systems and urban environments.