Kiku Adatto is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard and a Lecturer on Social Studies. She has taught as an Assistant Professor in Harvard’s Department of Sociology and as a faculty member and fellow at the Kennedy School of Government. She also served as Director of Children’s Studies at Harvard, an interfaculty initiative. Her scholarly publications focus on the interplay of art, political culture, and civic life. Her current book project is Borders: A Journey Across the Divide Between Neighbors and Strangers.
Adatto’s writings on the media helped spark a national debate on presidential campaign coverage. Her book, Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op (Princeton Press, 2008), explores the use and abuse of images in photography, television, movies, and on the Internet, and has been published in multiple languages.
Beyond her scholarly publications, her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, Time magazine, and other national publications. She has appeared on public television and radio and has lectured on changing trends in American culture at a range of university and public forums in the United States and internationally.
Adatto received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Department of Sociology at Harvard University and numerous Certificates of Distinction in Teaching for her courses in Social Studies. She received a B.A. in literature, theater arts, and film at the University of Washington, attended film school at Brandeis University and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from SUNY at Stony Brook.
Among the courses she has taught at Harvard are “Art, Political Culture, and Civic Life," "Looking at America: From the Daguerreotype to Modern Media," "Politics and Relgion," and "Childhood, Culture, and Scoial Reform."
Kiku Adatto and Michael Sandel co-lead a multi-year Harvard Mahindra Humanities Center seminar, which brings together an international group of artists, architects, photojournalists, scholars, filmmakers, educators, and leaders of arts organizations to exchange ideas on the arts, culture, and public life.
Along with Michael Sandel, she also leads an international storytelling and civic education project for children, the Babayan Story Project, which is dedicated to sparking children’s artistic and moral imaginations and connecting oral storytelling, reading, and writing.