Division of Social Sciences

The official blog for the Division of Social Sciences at Brandeis University

$4.5 million grants to boost hospital chaplain research literacy

Posted by musegade on 29th April 2015

Original article from BrandeisNOW!

Two grants totaling $4.5 million over four years from the John Templeton Foundation will better equip hospital chaplains to use research to guide, evaluate and advocate for the spiritual care they provide. The “Training Research-Literate Chaplains as Ambassadors for Spirituality and Health” project seeks to close the gap between hospital chaplains’ current limited research literacy and the importance of evidence-based care for all members of the health care team.

“Health care chaplains have embraced the importance of evidence-based practice but lack the training to realize it,” said project co-leader George Fitchett, DMin, PhD, professor and director of research in the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values at Rush University Medical Center. “More interdisciplinary collaboration and a growing understanding of how religion and spirituality can positively impact patient health means hospital chaplains are increasingly important members of a patient’s care team.” More details about the project can be found at this Transforming Chaplaincy website.

Wendy Cadge
Wendy Cadge

Wendy Cadge, PhD, professor of sociology and chairperson of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Brandeis University, is the project’s co-leader. This project grew, in part, from her book “Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine,” which explored religion and spirituality in the work of doctors, nurses, chaplains and others in health care. “Educating chaplains in research is vital for the profession as it continues to develop and as chaplains are members of interdisciplinary care teams,” she explained.

Read More Here

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“Institutional Betrayal: The case of Campus Sexual Assault” Presented by Prof. Jennifer Freyd

Posted by musegade on 4th September 2014

Special Lecture

Institutional Betrayal: The case of Campus Sexual Assault

Presented by Prof. Jennifer Freyd
University of Oregon
Department of Psychology

Friday, September 12, 2:00 PM
Sachar International Center, Wasserman Cinematheque

Co-sponsored by The Department of Psychology, The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and The Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences
Hosted by Prof. Ray Knight

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AAAS and WGS search for Joint Assistant Professor!

Posted by musegade on 24th January 2014


By: Phil Gallagher

See entire article at the Brandeis Justice

As part of a cluster hiring initiative around the theme of the African diaspora, the African and Afro-American Studies department and the Women’s and Gender Studies program are jointly conducting a search for a tenure-track faculty member to specialize in women’s and gender studies in relation to the African or Afro-American community.

The new professor will divide his or her time equally between the AAAS department and the WGS program, according to Prof. Wendy Cadge (SOC), chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies program.

Prof. Chad Williams (AAAS), the chair of the AAAS department and co-chair of the search committee, said in an interview with the Justice that the committee has narrowed down its original applicant pool of almost 250 applications to three finalists, who will be visiting campus and delivering lectures in the next couple of weeks as a part of the interview process. The lectures are open to the campus community.

Williams stated that each of the three finalists fills “a gap in our curriculum … particularly in sociology, performance and the creative arts, [and] queer studies. These are all areas that we feel very strongly about, that students need to be exposed to.”

Cadge also addressed the importance of having a joint appointment between AAAS and WGS. “[The] WGS and AAAS programs saw an opportunity to greater combine their research and teaching by sharing a faculty member with expertise in both areas. It also adds to the commitments in both programs/departments to address issues of intersectionality,” she wrote in an email to the Justice.

Cadge also wrote that the new faculty member is expected to “teach core courses in WGS in both the undergraduate and graduate programs and actively advise and mentor students” alongside new electives which will be “determined based on their expertise.”

Williams expressed a similar expectation for the professor’s involvement in the AAAS department. “We would like for the person who accepts the position to be able to teach our Introduction to African-American Studies course, which is one of our foundational courses. But we’re really leaving it open to the person that we hire to shape their own courses according to their expertise and their interests as well,” he said.

Williams said that he expects the new professor to begin teaching at the University in the coming fall. According to Cadge, the three finalists are as follows: Jasmine Johnson of Northwestern University, will give a lecture, entitled “Choreographing Return: West African Dance Tourism and the Politics of Diaspora,” on Jan. 15 at 12 p.m. in Mandel 328. Kai Green of the University of Southern California will give a lecture, entitled “In the Presence of a Future Past: Black Los Angeles’ Queer Recoveries,” on Jan. 22 at 12 p.m. in Pearlman Lounge.

Kiana Cox of the University of Illinois at Chicago will give a lecture entitled “Visible but Out of Place: Black Women and Gender in Assessments of African-American Inequality” on Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. in Mandel 328.


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In the Shadow of Slavery: Rape and Mutiny at Fort Jackson, LA

Posted by musegade on 29th October 2013

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Jennifer Finney Boylan offers the 10th annual Eleanor Roosevelt lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies

Posted by musegade on 23rd October 2013


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.

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

Posted by musegade on 18th October 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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Strangers on the Prairie

Posted by musegade on 18th October 2013

Karen Hansen’s new book uncovers complicated history of Scandinavian, Native American coexistence in North Dakota.


By: Debra Filcman

Oct. 18, 2013

From: BrandeisNOW

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.”

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“In the Shadow of Slavery: Rape and Mutiny at Fort Jackson, LA”

Posted by musegade on 17th October 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).


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Wednesday, 3/20, 5 p.m. “The Suppressed Desires of Mabel Dodge Luhan: Sex, Syphilis, and Psychoanalysis in the Making of Modern American Culture”

Posted by mzoltan on 6th March 2013

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

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

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Thursday, 3/7, 5 p.m.: “Who Owns the World?: Gender, Wealth and Inequality”

Posted by mzoltan on 26th February 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.

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