Social Science Research Council Announces Launch of Rachel Tanur Prize for Visual Sociology

February 27th, 2012

Social Science Research Council Announces Launch of Rachel Tanur Prize for Visual Sociology
Three prizes of up to $2,500 will recognize undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences who incorporate visual analysis into their work.

The purpose of the Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology is to encourage students to incorporate visual analysis in their study and understanding of social phenomena. The contest is open worldwide to undergraduate and graduate students (majoring in any social science). Students must be currently enrolled or have received their degrees no earlier than the end of the tern finishing just before the meeting of the International Sociological Association (ISA) at which the prize is to be awarded.

Entries for the 2012 competition must be received by April 20, 2012. Winners will be notified by June 5, 2012. Up to three cash prizes will be awarded at the Second ISA Forum of Sociology: Social Justice and Democratization, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in August 2012. Attendance at the Forum is not a requirement. The first prize will be $2,500 USD, the second $1,500, and the third $500. The prize will be awarded biennially.

Read more at Rachel Tanur Prize for Visual Sociology.

Psychology Professor’s Work in Cameo Role in Independent Comedy Film

February 23rd, 2012

Professor Leslie Zebrowitz’s research on babyface stereotypes has a “cameo” appearance in the new independent comedy “Losing Control,” written and directed by Valerie Weiss. The film’s theme focuses on conflicts experienced by a woman pursuing a Ph.D. in science who is in search of absolute proof that her boyfriend is “the one.” Weiss has won a variety of awards for the film, including Best Female Filmmaker of 2011 at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival and Best Director at The Feel Good Film Festival.

Zebrowtiz notes that, “It’s humorous, but with kernels of truth to which people in academia will resonate.”

The National Academy of Sciences had a screening of the film in Washington, D.C. last fall, and Zebrowitz participated in a panel discussion of it afterwards together with another scientist, the filmmaker, and the actor (John Billingsly) who played a lead character.

The movie opens at the Kendall Theater in Cambridge on April 6. View the movie trailer for Losing Control here or on YouTube below.

Zebrowitz is the Manuel Yellen Professor of Social Relations at Brandeis University.

Environmental Studies Nail Salon Worker Study Gains Exposure

February 23rd, 2012

Professor Laura Goldin, Director of Environmental Studies, reports that the fall 2011 Environmental Health and Justice JBS conducted a Nail Salon Air Quality Exposure study that has generated considerable interest. So far, it’s featured on the Boston Public Health Commission website.

The students will be presenting on Vietnamese TV in the next month, and in March the student researchers will be the keynote of a Toxic Use Reduction Institute/Norfolk County Pubic Health Committee Regional Safe Cosmetics Forum. Most recently, the abstract was accepted for oral presentation at the Academy of Sciences International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology 2012 in Houston on June l and invited for oral presentation.

Professor Goldin expects at least one of the students, Senior Meda Kisivuli who is carrying forward with this as her senior honors thesis, to attend with her to present.

Sabbatical Notes from Ibrahim Sundiata

February 16th, 2012

Ibrahim Sundiata, Professor of African and Afro-American Studies and History, is on sabbatical this year and sends greetings from Melbourne along with the following note about his current projects:

Greetings from Melbourne.  This is a short run-down of my current projects…

I have an ongoing project which will continue through the 2012 election cycle: Not Out of Dixie: Obama and the Crisis of Identity Politics. The book, which focuses on racial, ethnic, religious and sexual identity, has involved me in several conferences.

In August 2011, I presented a paper at the University of Legon in Ghana on the fluidity of identity in the “Black Atlantic.”  I focused on Equatorial Guinea, the only Spanish-speaking country in sub-Saharan Africa. It is, in the North American gaze, part of a Black World.  In the eyes of many of its intellectuals, it is part of a wider Latin ecumene. Millions of people in the Atlantic region speak Spanish and are of African descent. Where do they belong in our view of the racialized (or even “post-racial) world of Obama’s America?

In October 2011, I was invited to Princeton to speak on one aspect of the work — “The Vagaries of Latin Indentity in the Era of Brown Obama.”  The paper was devoted to a discussion of the ways in which a bifurcated racial system (Black/White) had been historically manipulated so as to minimize number of Blacks. Most of the Africans in the Atlantic Slave Trade went to Latin America, but disappear in North American discourse into a homogeneous Latino identity.  What does this mean for politics in the US where “Hispanics/Latinos” are now counted as the largest minority group?

I came to Melbourne in February 2012 to present a paper at a conference “After Homosexuality” sponsored by Latrobe University and the University of Victoria.  The conference was called to mark the fortieth anniversary of Dennis Altman’s 1972 work “Homosexuality and Oppression.”  In that seminal work sought to look at the various “radicalism” of the 1960s (the Black Panthers, feminism, anti-militarism) and see if a New Left sensibility had been built. I was invited to give a paper and to chair a panel.  The paper “Obama and the Politics of ‘Black Homophobia” is an exploration of the ways in which various strands of Obama supporters diverge on the issue of LGBT rights. This issue has taken on a special importance since various right-wing evangelical groups have made significant inroads both in the African-American community and in Africa.

Also, I have agreed to be on the Faculty Advisory Board of Brandeis Hadassah. I have a chapter on Obama and the Jewish community in Jews, Race, Color, the product of a 2010 conference at Ben Gurion University in Israel where I gave a keynote.

Sundiata is the Samuel and Augusta Spector Professor of History.

Brandeis Students Engaged in Waltham Community Through WATCH Housing Clinic

February 16th, 2012

Professor Laura Goldin’s work with students and the Waltham Community is featured in the Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and Administration publication, Civic Engagement: Public Service, Personal Responsibility:

The clinic began in 2007 with Laura Goldin’s Brandeis University undergraduate Environmental Law class as a novel partnership with WATCH, the local affordable housing and community development organization, in collaboration with the Boston College Law School Legal Assistance Bureau.  The goal was to meet a real community need for tenant advocacy by leveraging the learning and energy of college students. The clinic has operated continuously since that time, with 250+ students assisting at least twice that number of individuals and families in the local area.  The “staff”: trained students and student leaders from Goldin’s further community-engaged learning classes, along with assistance from the undergraduate Martin Luther King Scholars and Friends club and others who assist as translators for the many Hispanic, Haitain-Creole and other non-English speakers.

Dr. Goldin is committed to this type of teaching because “this is how I think students can learn in perhaps one of the best ways possible: Tackling real-word, complex, multi-disciplinary issues directly. They also can contribute significantly as they learn, building relationships and working together with the individuals and communities affected.  This is the kind of learning that affects them deeply, requires development of understanding and skills to meet the real challenges, and remains with them as they continue to learn, graduate, pursue careers and participate in their own communities as caring citizens.”  She is personally inspired “to see students benefit from what I hope will be a profoundly meaningful and transformative experience, and overjoyed as they go on to contribute in their own right.  If designed properly, it is also a wonderfully effective way to help local organizations meet identified, sometimes critical, needs of the community by leveraging the talents, creativity and energy of students.”

Goldin is an Associate Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University, Director of the Environmental Studies Program and Director of the Environmental Internship Program.

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