Boston Globe: Professor Donahue Discusses Increased Demand in Local Food

September 18th, 2015

Demand for locally farmed food is on the rise in New England. Not typically thought of as a farming region, land devoted to farming has increased over the past decade. Brandeis Professor Brian Donahue shared his thoughts in a recent Boston Globe article Demand for local foods help Mass. Farming find its footing.

The land has provided sustenance in Massachusetts since before the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. Farms spread across the terrain as colonists arrived and the population swelled, with the agriculture industry peaking around the turn of the 20th century.

But then the industry declined. Cheap energy made large-scale irrigation possible and the long-distance shipment of farm products by trucks and planes. Massachusetts growers found themselves competing not with the farm down the road, but with behemoth establishments in Florida, California, or Washington, said Donahue.

The article addressed the main reasons for the resurgence in farming and the new face of farming as seen through those not born into the industry.

Professor Brian Donahue is a Brandeis historian and Massachusetts farmer. He is a co-collaborator on “A New England Food Vision” which suggests that we should be growing half of our own food by 2060. For more information, please visit

Researcher Calls “Successful Aging” Form of Ageism

January 12th, 2015

Following her presentation at the Gerontological Society of America in November, Professor Sarah Lamb’s story was featured in New American Media.

Discussing America’s obsessions with staying forever young, Professor Lamb explains that, “so-called successful aging articles and books tell readers how to “direct” their own aging, and paint disability as “bleak,” and dependence on others as “demeaning.” But much of the aging process is beyond our control, which Americans are loath to acknowledge – a symptom, Lamb said, of ageism.”

For the original story with audio, check out the KNBA website

To read the article in New American Media, click here.

Brandeis Sociology Department in Top Ten in the Nation!

January 7th, 2015


USA Today reported College Factual’s ranking of the nation’s top undergraduate Sociology programs and Brandeis was ranked #6 overall out of over 500 sociology departments!  Quite an accomplishment everyone can be proud of – faculty, staff, alumni, current students.   The ranking looked at “quality schools that are focused on delivering an education in Sociology and that are successful at it”.  The Brandeis Sociology department comes in at #6 overall, right behind Princeton and just ahead of Columbia, Chicago, Stanford, and Penn!  The ranking methodology emphasizes former majors’ career salaries, the percentage of current students enrolled in the major, departments’ connections to associated majors/programs, and overall college/university quality, so it’s great to see how well we fare relative to our distinguished peers.

Check out the list at USA Today.

Brandeis ranked one of the top ten schools to earn an Economics major!

December 12th, 2014

USA Today recently ranked Brandeis as one of the top 10 schools to earn an economics major.

Describing the department the article writes:

Brandeis University is a private liberal arts school that focuses on promoting an interdisciplinary education. Students are challenged to apply theories taught in the classroom to real-world scenarios. Economics is one of the most popular majors at Brandeis.

By providing a broad range of courses — including international economics and finance, macroeconomics, monetary economics and labor economics — Brandeis prepares students to pursue a variety of careers following graduation. The comprehensive education gives economics majors the tools needed for success, with graduates earning an average early career salary of $54,000, jumping to $96,000 at the mid-career level.

Read the entire article here!

Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930

October 18th, 2013

Karen Hansen

November 1, 2013
3:00 PM

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave.,
Cambridge, MA 02138

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome Brandeis professor KAREN V. HANSEN for a discussion of her latest book, Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930.

In 1904, the first Scandinavian settlers moved onto the Spirit Lake Dakota Indian Reservation. These land-hungry immigrants struggled against severe poverty, often becoming the sharecropping tenants of Dakota landowners. Yet the homesteaders’ impoverishment did not impede their quest to acquire Indian land, and by 1929 Scandinavians owned more reservation acreage than their Dakota neighbors. Norwegian homesteader Helena Haugen Kanten put it plainly: “We stole the land from the Indians.”

With this largely unknown story at its center, Encounter on the Great Plains brings together two dominant processes in American history: the unceasing migration of newcomers to North America, and the protracted dispossession of indigenous peoples who inhabited the continent.

Drawing on fifteen years of archival research and 130 oral histories, Karen V. Hansen explores the epic issues of co-existence between settlers and Indians and the effect of racial hierarchies, both legal and cultural, on marginalized peoples. Hansen offers a wealth of intimate detail about daily lives and community events, showing how both Dakotas and Scandinavians resisted assimilation and used their rights as new citizens to combat attacks on their cultures. In this flowing narrative, women emerge as resourceful agents of their own economic interests. Dakota women gained autonomy in the use of their allotments, while Scandinavian women staked and “proved up” their own claims.

Hansen chronicles the intertwined stories of Dakotas and immigrants—women and men, farmers, domestic servants, and day laborers. Their shared struggles reveal efforts to maintain a language, sustain a culture, and navigate their complex ties to more than one nation. The history of the American West cannot be told without these voices: their long connections, intermittent conflicts, and profound influence over one another defy easy categorization and provide a new perspective on the processes of immigration and land taking.

“How did it happen that Scandinavian immigrants and their descendants came to live together on a Dakota Indian reservation? Here is the story, profoundly human, of dispossession and occupation: deftly nuanced, deeply sourced, engagingly written. A first-rate history.”—Walter Nugent, author of Intothe West: The Story of Its People

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