Putting ideas into action

Putting ideas into action

Melissa Nobles’s research has unearthed numerous cases of police violence against Blacks in the early-to-mid 20th century, and she is using those materials to develop a new archive with the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice project (CRRJ), a program at Northeastern University. She has also written on the interplay of citizenship and racial categories in the census process, and on the politics of formal government apologies for past injustices.​ A profile piece in the MIT Technology Review if available here

Melissa Nobles is chancellor and professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

December 17, 2021 | Technology Review | RIchard Byrne
Melissa Nobles
Richard Byrne
December 17, 2021
Technology Review

When Melissa Nobles was appointed MIT’s new chancellor in June, she brought more than a quarter-century of experience at the Institute, including six years as dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS). President L Rafael Reif’s announcement cited her “exceptional judgment and sense of fairness paired with her incisive intellect, humane wisdom, careful listening, unfailing eloquence, and charismatic wit.” But an especially influential part of her journey to the chancellorship has been her research on how governments and institutions have shaped public discussions of race and created sustained injustice for Black citizens in different parts of the Americas. 

Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science and the director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, says that Nobles “has never been content to probe at the edges of knowledge.” He adds: “To her credit—and to MIT’s benefit—she has wrapped her arms around big and important questions such as citizenship and racial justice, and has squeezed big insights from them."

Read the full profile piece here in MIT Technology Review.