Add comment October 29th, 2013
Jennifer Finney Boylan offers the 10th annual Eleanor Roosevelt lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies
On October 15th, best selling author and celebrated LGBT activist Jennifer Finney Boylan offered the 10th annual Eleanor Roosevelt lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies entitled “She’s Not There,” which was based on her memoir of the same name, and details her experiences as a transgender woman.
Boylan began by reading an excerpt entitled “In the Early Morning Rain,” an emotional piece that lays out a moment where Boylan, haunted by and struggling with her identity as transgender, travels to the northern edge of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and leans over a precipice, the strong wind being the only thing keeping her from death. At the point where she makes a decision, “let’s do it then,” a huge gale pushes her back, and she hears a voice saying, “[a]re you all right, Son? You’re going to be all right. You’re going to be all right.”
From this moving piece, Boylan segued into a brief “Trans 101” lecture, where she spoke about the various identities that fall under the trans* umbrella, noting the importance of using the labels/terms individuals have selected for themselves. This led to a lively and engaging question and answer period, which culminated in an impromptu performance of “So Says the Whippoorwill” by the musically talented Boylan, followed by a final reading from her newest book, Stuck in the Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders.
Add comment October 23rd, 2013
Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930
November 1, 2013
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
Add comment October 18th, 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.”
Add comment October 18th, 2013
Women’s and Gender Studies and African and Afro-American Studies are co-sponsoring a talk, “In the Shadow of Slavery: Rape and Mutiny at Fort Jackson, LA,” by Crystal Feimster on November 1 at 5pm in the Mandel Auditorium. Professor Feimster is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and History at Yale University (http://afamstudies.yale.edu/people/crystal-feimster).
Add comment October 17th, 2013
Wednesday, 3/20, 5 p.m. “The Suppressed Desires of Mabel Dodge Luhan: Sex, Syphilis, and Psychoanalysis in the Making of Modern American Culture”
March 20, 2013, 5:00 p.m., in Mandel G03
The Suppressed Desires of Mabel Dodge Luhan: Sex, Syphilis, and Psychoanalysis in the Making of Modern American Culture
Lois Rudnick is professor emerita of American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston, where she taught American literature and culture for 36 years, 26 of which she chaired the American Studies Department. She has published numerous books and articles on modern American culture, and the artists and writers colonies of Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, including her multiple award winning Utopian Vistas: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American Counterculture (1996).
This talk is sponsored by the American Studies Program and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program
Add comment March 6th, 2013
The 18th annual Tillie K Lubin Symposium will be held on Thursday, March 7th at 5pm.
“Who Owns the World?: Gender, Wealth and Inequality” will have a panel discussion featuring Srimati Basu, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Kentucky; Mariko Chang, Independent Consultant and Author of Shortchanged; and Thomas Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, Director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at the Heller School.
Sponsored by Women’s and Gender Studies.
1 comment February 26th, 2013
The Brandeis University Office of the Provost (in conjunction with the Office of the President, Women’s and Gender Studies, African and Afro-American Studies and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management) is honored to host the first ever Anita Hill Annual Lecture on Gender Justice.
The inspiration for the series came from the energy generated by the ‘Anita Hill 20 Years Later’ conference produced last October by the lecture series’ sponsor, feminist activism group Soapbox Inc. Brandeis will be the first host, with the lecture taking place at a different college or university each year. Juhu Thukral has been selected as the inaugural Anita Hill Gender Justice Lecturer from a strong and diverse pool of applicants.
Ms. Thukral, the Director of Law and Advocacy at The Opportunity Agenda, has worked to protect the human rights of women for over 20 years. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of low-income and immigrant women in the areas of sexual health and rights, gender-based violence, economic security, and criminal justice. She has also repeatedly shown courage and leadership in defending the human rights of women engaged as sex workers.
The Anita Hill Annual Lecture on Gender Justice will take place on Wednesday, January 30 at 5:00 p.m. in Rapaporte Treasure Hall, with reception to follow. Juhu Thukral will present “Gender. Sex. Money. New Frontiers in the Fight for Sexual Rights.”
Add comment January 22nd, 2013
Thursday, 11/1, 4:30 p.m., Eleanor Roosevelt Lecture Featuring Pulitzer Prize Winner Isabel Wilkerson
The 9th Annual Eleanor Roosevelt Lecture (November 1, 4:30 in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall) will feature Professor Isabel Wilkerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The New York Times’ bestseller, “The Warmth of Other Suns.”
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. Wilkerson has also won the George Polk Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.
Wilkerson has spoken on the topics of migration, social justice, urban affairs and 2oth Century history at universities across the country and in Europe. She has appeared on national programs such as CBS’ 60 Minutes, PBS’s Charlie Rose, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, NBC’s Nightly News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and others.
Her talk is entitled “The Decision of their Lives: Caste, Gender and the Great Migration.”
The Eleanor Roosevelt Lecture Series was created in 2004 to honor Eleanor Roosevelt’s commitment to social justice and her important place in women’s history.
Sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies Program with co-sponsors AAAS, History, the Mandel Center for the Humanities and Journalism.
Add comment October 24th, 2012
President Lawrence and Provost Goldstein hosted a luncheon on October 10 to honor faculty who have given 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 years of service to Brandeis University.
Division of Social Sciences faculty honored at the luncheon included: Tom Doherty (25 years), Shula Reinharz (30 years), Mick Watson (35 years), Steve Whitfield (40 years), Greg Freeze (40 years), Robert Art (45 years), Art Wingfield (45 years), Donald Hindley (50 years) and David Hackett Fischer (50 years).
Congratulations to our social sciences faculty!
Add comment October 23rd, 2012