Fifteen Questions

Fifteen Questions: Jocelyn Viterna on El Salvador, Abortion Bans, and Finding Patterns

FM sat down with sociologist Jocelyn Viterna to talk about her research into gender politics and reproductive justice in El Salvador. “If a social movement is not based in actually changing the hearts and minds and practices of individuals, then I think it’s always going to be vulnerable,” she says.

Fifteen Questions: David Yang on Chinese Authoritarianism, Political Economy, and Cookbooks

The Economics professor sat down with Fifteen Minutes to discuss his work on the political economy of authoritarian regimes in China. “There are people in China who eagerly want and fight for democracy. There are people in the U.S. who take on actions that go very much against democracy,” he says.

Fifteen Questions: Mina Cikara on Social Psychology, Intergroup Conflict, and Being a ‘Valley Rat’

Psychology professor Mina Cikara sat down with the magazine to discuss her influences and the psychology of discrimination. “Social psychology is rife with theorizing about all of the different inputs to intergroup conflict,” she says. “There are many, and they are multiply determined, and they are incredibly complex.”

Fifteen Questions: Catherine Brekus on Historical Women, Christian Nationalism, and Religious Freedom

Divinity School professor Catherine A. Brekus ’85 sat down with Fifteen Minutes to talk about women’s history and religion. “For me, religion became a tool for asking questions about how women had made sense of their lives, and how they had made meaning,” she says.

Kathleen Coleman

Kathleen M. Coleman, a member of Harvard’s faculty for a quarter-century, is a Classics professor and the Department’s chair as well as a Senior Research Curator for the Harvard Art Museums.

Fifteen Questions: Kathleen Coleman on Gladiators, the Classics, and Poems

The former Chair of Harvard’s Classics Department discusses her experiences in apartheid South Africa, the gladiators of Ancient Rome, and the future of the Classics. She has been “privileged,” she says, “to spend my career basically pursuing my hobby.”

Susannah Tobin ’00 on Opinion Writing, Civil Rights, and the Gold Coast

The law professor sat down with Fifteen Questions to discuss her experience writing for The Crimson and working with Harvard students at the College and Law School. She shares her love of history and talks about what it can teach us, “I think about that and think about how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go.”

Susannah Tobin

Susannah B. Tobin ’00 is the Assistant Dean for Academic Career Advising and Ezra Ripley Thayer Senior Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She is also Managing Director of the Climenko Fellowship Program. She serves on the graduate council for The Harvard Crimson and Cambridge Historical Mission.

Orland Patterson portrait

Orlando Patterson is a Sociology professor who studies race, freedom, and slavery. He served as a special adviser for Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley from 1972 to 1979 and has written several novels.

Fifteen Questions: Orlando Patterson on the Sociology of Slavery, Advising the Jamaican Prime Minister, and Cricket

Historical and cultural sociologist Orlando Patterson sat down to discuss his upbringing and sociology research. “I didn’t get into academia just for the scholarship,” he says. “My work was motivated by the need to understand Jamaica.”

Ian Miller

Ian J. Miller is a historian studying empire and energy in modern Japan and East Asia. He is a history professor, Faculty Dean of Cabot House, and Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Fifteen Questions: Ian Miller on Zoos, Climate Change, and the Quad

The historian and Cabot House Faculty Dean Ian J. Miller sat down to discuss his research on empire and energy in modern Japan and East Asia and life as a faculty dean. “When you stand somewhere else, you look at the world through someone else’s eyes or you work with historical documents, reading into those powerful texts, it can be empowering,” he says.

Fifteen Questions: Valeria Luiselli on the Best Novel That Has Ever Been Written, Her Friend Crush, and the Perils of an MFA

The author sat down with Fifteen Minutes to discuss writing and teaching. “How do we reshape the view of the migrant as an inherently victimized figure or as an intruder of sorts by thinking, for example, of migration in its kind of heroic arc?” she says. “Of the migration story not as a tragedy, but as a form of epic?"

Fifteen Questions: Pardis Sabeti on LS1B, Computational Genetics, and Holiday Cards

Biologist Pardis C. Sabeti sat down with Fifteen Questions to talk about the famed introductory genetics class, the quirks of her lab, and being a woman in science. “A successful life is not one that is free of setbacks. It’s defined by setbacks,” she says.

Pardis Sabeti

Pardis C. Sabeti is a professor at the Center for Systems Biology and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at Harvard School of Public Health, institute member of the Broad institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. She does work in computational biology, medical genetics, and evolutionary genetics.

Fifteen Questions: Steven Levitsky on Democracy, Latin America, and the Mets

The political scientist sat down with Fifteen Minutes to discuss threats to democracy in the United States and Latin America. “Democracy is always an unsettled system,” he says. “It’s always going to be open to threats and so it requires a tireless fight.”

David Atherton Portrait

David C. Atherton ’00 is an Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard College. He specializes in Japanese literature of the Edo period, and teaches multiple Japanese literature courses as well as Gen Ed 1067: “Creativity.”

Fifteen Questions: David Atherton on Japanese Literature, Creativity, and Remembering to Breathe

The literary scholar sat down with Fifteen Minutes to discuss Edo-period writing and his experience returning to Harvard as a professor. “How can we find and contribute and generate interesting humanistic questions and different ways of thinking about things like literature and culture,” he says, “that are not bound by region at all?”

Fifteen Questions: Joe Harris ’72 on Math 55, the Dudley Co-op, and Failure

The mathematician sat down with Fifteen Minutes to discuss Math 55’s notorious reputation and his own experience at Harvard. “In math, it’s rare that you would decide to fix on a specific concrete goal, and then either achieve it or not,” he says. “Usually, it’s a matter of exploration.”

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