Posts filed under 'Publications'
A recent paper in the Journal of Gerontology by Brandeis Ph.D. program alumnus Dr. Nicole Rosa and Professor Angela Gutchess attempts to answer this question. During an interview with ElderBranch, Dr. Nicole Rosa discusses the relationship between self-referencing and false memory. For more information, please read the article on ElderBranch.
November 9th, 2013
Karen Hansen’s new book uncovers complicated history of Scandinavian, Native American coexistence in North Dakota.
By: Debra Filcman
Oct. 18, 2013
It was an intriguing detail in the stories her grandmother used to tell that set Karen Hansen on a 15-year journey through her family’s, and the country’s, past.
Hansen’s maternal grandmother, Helene Haugen Kanten, came to America in the first years of the 20th century, a young Norwegian girl with golden plaits coiled on her head. Her family planned to homestead in North Dakota.
In fact, the story went, the family ended up homesteading on an Indian reservation, side by side with the Dakota Sioux tribe.
All that was true, Hansen would eventually discover. But the Brandeis professor of sociology and women’s and gender studies didn’t stop there. In time, she was able to plumb a much more complicated mystery: why her grandmother used to say that Scandinavian homesteaders had “stolen the land” from Dakotas.
With support from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Hansen began digging and found that her family story was part of a much larger American saga. What she learned formed the basis for her new book, “Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930.”
Hansen’s family lived in a tiny shack on a hill on North Dakota’s Spirit Lake Dakota Indian Reservation. Surprisingly, Hansen found that her grandmother’s mother was far from the only Scandinavian or the only woman to own land on the reservation at that time.
The Dawes Act of 1887 allotted 160 acres of reservation land to each Dakota male and 80 acres to Dakota women and children. The rest was open for white homesteading. This meant that approximately 100,000 of the 240,000 acres of the Spirit Lake Reservation were available. By 1929, Scandinavians owned more land than the Dakotas.
Poring over local land-ownership records and complaints lodged with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as reading and conducting 130 oral histories with Scandinavian and Dakota elders, Hansen learned about the conflicting sense of community and inequality in which her grandmother was raised.
“We hear a lot and know a lot about Indian wars of the 19th century, the story of dispossession and how dishonorably the U.S. government acted and we know something about contemporary reservations, rife with disease and social ills,” Hansen says. “But we don’t know much about the period in the middle.
“The Norwegians were farmers,” she says. “They came to accumulate land, to make farms to pass along through their family, and Dakotas didn’t share that same agricultural sensibility or value acquiring things or land.”
Though the Scandinavians benefited from generous homesteading policies, they were also impoverished immigrants trying to begin a new life, says Hansen. They and Dakotas shared an outsider status even as they competed for land and the power it conveyed.
Hansen, who is also the author of “Not-So-Nuclear Families: Class, Gender and Networks of Care” among other books, has long documented disparities in equality and access.
In “Encounter on the Great Plains” she writes, “This book is my effort to reciprocate” for the generosity of those who shared their sometimes tragic family stories with me. “I now realize that I came to this project in order to repair my fractured sense of ethnic identity and remedy my placelessness, as a daughter of an immigrant mother and a restless father who thought that frequent moving was a way to repair mistakes and start over.”
October 18th, 2013
The journal Signs and Society connects Brandeis and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies of South Korea.
By Leah Burrows
Oct. 8, 2013
Richard Parmentier, professor of anthropology and director of the graduate program in global studies, has been waiting 30 years for someone to publish a research-oriented journal focused on an interdisciplinary approach to semiosis — the study of meaningful signs in their social and historical contexts. He just never expected to be the one to do it.
But when two young scholars, an anthropologist and a linguist, from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea emailed Parmentier in April 2012 with an idea for a journal (whose a name reflects his seminal 1994 book, “Sign in Society: Studies in Semiotic Anthropology”), he couldn’t think of any reason to refuse.
“I’ve basically been doing this informally for three decades,” Parmentier says. “So I would’ve been crazy to say no.”
The first issue of Signs and Society was published last April and the second issue will go online. It is funded by Hankuk University and published by the journals division of the University of Chicago Press. To assist him in this project, Parmentier recruited Brandeis English professor John Plotz and anthropologist Javier Urcid to join the Board of Editors.
The journal takes an interdisciplinary approach to semiosis, the study of sign production, communication and interpretation. The inaugural issue features papers from anthropologists, archaeologists, a linguist, and a professor of philosophy. Unlike other semiotics journals, Signs and Society focuses on empirical research rather than strictly philosophical or methodological issues, Parmentier says.
“In this journal, semiotics is the common language for researchers across different fields to have a conversation,” Parmentier says. “I want to promote conversations between archaeologists studying past worlds and researchers studying contemporary cultures, and between scholars studying face-to-face interaction and those exploring digital communication.”
The journal is also connecting scholars of different nations. In addition to featuring research from managing editors Kyung-Nan Koh and Hyug Ahn, the first three issues showcase scholars from Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.
For Parmentier, the journal is a culmination of sorts. He began his academic career at the University of Chicago, where he received his PhD. Later, at the Center for Psychosocial Studies, he and Professor Greg Urban, now at the University of Pennsylvania, launched a small pre-print journal dedicated to semiotics. Thirty years later, several of his former teachers and classmates from the University of Chicago have already submitted papers to Signs and Society.
This journal also capitalizes on new technology. It is free and available online, making it accessible to anyone interested in the field.
“Journals today can be both accessible and prestigious,” Parmentier says.
Parmentier hopes to connect established scholars like him with young up-and-comers from around the world.
“There are so many young scholars out there doing interesting work, I want them to submit,” Parmentier says. “I want to see the world vicariously through their eyes.”
October 10th, 2013
Brandeis Sociology Professor Sara Shostak‘s new book, Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health, was published by University of California Press this month:
We rely on environmental health scientists to document the presence of chemicals where we live, work, and play and to provide an empirical basis for public policy. In the last decades of the 20th century, environmental health scientists began to shift their focus deep within the human body, and to the molecular level, in order to investigate gene-environment interactions.
In Exposed Science, Sara Shostak analyzes the rise of gene-environment interaction in the environmental health sciences and examines its consequences for how we understand and seek to protect population health. Drawing on in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation, Shostak demonstrates that what we know – and what we don’t know – about the vulnerabilities of our bodies to environmental hazards is profoundly shaped by environmental health scientists’ efforts to address the structural vulnerabilities of their field. She then takes up the political effects of this research, both from the perspective of those who seek to establish genomic technologies as a new basis for environmental regulation, and from the perspective of environmental justice activists, who are concerned that that their efforts to redress the social, political, and economical inequalities that put people at risk of environmental exposure will be undermined by molecular explanations of environmental health and illness.
Exposed Science thus offers critically important new ways of understanding and engaging with the emergence of gene-environment interaction as a focal concern of environmental health science, policy-making, and activism.
February 19th, 2013
The following is a list of books published by Brandeis Social Science faculty in 2012 (or very late 2011):
Papist Patriots: The Making of an American Catholic Identity, by Maura Jane Farrelly
Essentials of Economics, 3e, by Paul Krugman, Robin Wells, and Kathryn Graddy
Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Jewish Texts, edited by Jon A. Levisohn and Susan P. Fendrick
The Interpretive Virtues: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Teaching and Learning of Historical Narratives, by Jon A. Levisohn
Teachers as Learners, by Sharon Feiman-Nemser
HSSP (and Sociology)
The Sociology of Health and Illness: Critical Perspectives, by Peter Conrad and Valerie Leiter
The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution, edited by Jane Kamensky and Edward G. Gray
Taken for Wonder: Nineteenth Century Travel Accounts from Iran to Europe, by Naghmeh Sohrabi
Nationalism and the Moral Psychology of Community, by Bernard Yack
Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine, by Wendy Cadge
Religion on the Edge: De-centering and Re-centering the Sociology of Religion, edited by Courtney Bender, Wendy Cadge, Peggy Levitt and David Smilde
Power, Politics, and Universal Health Care: The Inside Story of a Century-Long Battle by Stuart Altman and David Shactman, forward by Senator John Kerry
Today I Am a Woman: Stories of Bat Mitzvah Around the World, edited by Barbara Vinick and Shula Reinharz
January 8th, 2013
Joseph Reimer, an Associate Professor in Jewish Education who splits his teaching and advising time between the Education and Hornstein Programs at Brandeis University, has an article out in the newest edition of eJewish Philanthropy titled “The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel: Wise Investing in the Jewish Future.”
From the article, which is part of a special series in recognition of the 25th Anniversary of The Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel:
In January, 1987 I received a call from Rabbi Michael Paley asking if he could come to Brandeis University to consult on an idea he had for a new Israel program. Michael had been given the challenge by Edgar M. Bronfman to propose a bold new concept that they would consider funding. They had been funding a program called the Israel Friendship Camp, but were ready for a bolder step.
A few weeks later I was invited to a consultation in New York to consider Paley’s proposal. I remember offering an impassioned plea that this was not a time for caution, for what the field of Israel programs needed was an initiative that would break new ground in creating a group of talented teens united not by their affiliation with existing movements, but by a wish to reach beyond old divisions to create a pluralistic Jewish community. To my delight, the foundation bought that argument and asked Paley to lead the new program that would eventually be called the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel (BYFI). I was honored when Michael asked me to be one of its first faculty members.
This week, alumni of the many years of the Bronfman Fellowships will gather in New York to celebrate its 25th anniversary. This seems an opportune moment to ask why this Fellowship has flourished over a quarter-century. What went right with this philanthropic investment? What can this case teach us about wise investing in the Jewish future?
Read more here: eJewish Philanthropy
October 25th, 2012
HSSP congratulates two of its recent graduates for co-authoring articles that appeared this year in scientific and medical journals. Daniel Liebman (HSSP 2012) co-authored “A Survey of Residential Carbon Monoxide Detector Utilization among Connecticut Emergency Department Patients” in Clinical Toxicology and Lydia Flier (2011) coauthored “Health Information Technology in the Era of Care Delivery Reform: To What End?” in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.
Both students were the second of three authors on the papers. Daniel did his research during a summer before his senior year and Lydia completed the work after she graduated. Both students mentioned the impact of HSSP in emails to Peter Conrad, HSSP Chair. Daniel wrote “thanks – a lot of my HSSP education came in handy on this project” while Lydia wrote, “Happy to have had the opportunity to apply my HSSP knowledge & passion in the ‘real world!’” We are very proud of the success of all our students and pleased with HSSP’s contribution.
July 9th, 2012
DESERT ROOTS: JOURNEY OF AN IRANIAN IMMIGRANT FAMILY, by Mitra K. Shavarini
In an age of global migration, Desert Roots offers an intimate view of one family’s immigration story and reminds us how potent the call of the homeland is to those who leave theirs behind.
In this true story, readers understand the struggles many Iranians—those living in Iran and abroad—have faced. Universal themes are threaded throughout the story: a mother trying to raise her children in a new country, a father disappointed in what life ultimately has in store for him, immigrant children ashamed of their roots, and proud nationalist ancestors. Themes of loss, regret, and tragedy, as well as perseverance and resilience, are part of this book’s broader narrative.
The author traces her family’s roots back across a century, to the time when the family surname was adopted by her great-grandfather, Abolghassem “Shemr” Karbassi, one of Iran’s greatest carpet masters. His story is at the heart of this family lore: a staunch nationalist, he hated the British for controlling his land . . . and for stealing his sons. Shemr was a xenophobe whose passion for his country has parallels in today’s West-wary Iran.
Desert Roots is timely. News of Iran continues to be pervasive in the global media. Americans who are seeking to understand Iran’s history and its tenuous relationship with the U.S. are equally eager to understand the human side of the Iranian people. Desert Roots offers readers a rich tapestry of personal, familial, and political history, woven into the vivid background of the author’s family immigrant experience.
Desert Roots appeals to both an academic audience—those involved, for example, in Immigrant, Cultural, and Ethnic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies—and a general-interest audience—readers who gravitate toward works such as Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, Tara Bahrampour’s To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America, Khaled Hosseini’s Kite Runner, and Iraj Pezeshkzad’s My Uncle Napoleon.
For excerpts and reviews please visit www.desertroots.net.
About the Author:
Mitra K. Shavarini is a lecturer in Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University. Her research focuses on women’s education in Muslim societies. Her work has appeared in Harvard Educational Review, Teacher’s College Record, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and Women’s Studies International Forum.
Shavarini is also the author of Educating Immigrants: Experiences of Second Generation Iranians (2004) and the coauthor of Women and Education in Iran and Afghanistan: An Annotated Bibliography (with Wendy R. Robison, 2005). She holds a doctorate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
June 18th, 2012
American Studies Professor Stephen Whitfield, Max Richter Professor of American Civilization at Brandeis, recently published an article titled “Cine Qua Non: The Political Import and Impact of the Battle of Algiers” in the LISA ejournal, while a second article titled “Culture Hero: The Anthropologist as Public Intellectual” appeared in The First of the Month: A Website of the Radical Imagination.
May 21st, 2012
Sociology Professor Sara Shostak was a co-investigator and Ph.D. candidate Dana Zarhin co-authored an article based on research on epilepsy and genetic testing, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
With an RWJF Health & Society Scholars program seed grant, Shostak devised a study in which 40 individuals from Ottman’s cohort—22 with epilepsy and 18 without—were extensively interviewed over a period of two years. The study findings, as reported in the September 2011 issue of the journal Social Science & Medicine, were revealing: “Most participants said they would have genetic testing if it were offered. They cited many potential benefits, including learning what caused epilepsy in their family, being better able to care and advocate for children at risk, reducing guilt and blame, providing an increased sense of control, and relieving anxiety in unaffected individuals who test negative.”
As Shostak analyzed the study interviews, she remembers two aspects that were particularly compelling: “First, the overwhelming number of people who told us that they were interested in having individual genetic information about their situation. And then, there was a subgroup of women who were telling us that they were refraining from having children because they thought they might be gene carriers and they were reluctant to have their own biological children without that information. So to have that information would have profound implications for their reproductive decision-making.”
The full paper, “What’s at Stake? Genetic Information from the Perspective of People with Epilepsy and Their Family Members,” can be found here.
April 23rd, 2012