2015-16 Academic Year
Avi Bernstein is director of the Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (BOLLI) in the Rabb School at Brandeis University. He comes to Brandeis with extensive experience in higher education administration, teaching and research. He has taught undergraduate courses at Boston College and Rutgers University, and graduate courses at Boston’s Hebrew College. He brings a wealth of experience in teaching adults, and has, since 1995, been active in the adult learning movement, adapting a highly interactive version of the traditional graduate humanities seminar for synagogues, civic organizations, and parlor meetings.
His academic work reflects longstanding interests in the Marburg school of neo-Kantianism and its legacy; Anglo-American moral philosophy from R.M. Hare and Iris Murdoch to Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor; and philosophy of education in the practical spirit of educational theorists like Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. His essays have appeared in Hermann Cohen’s Ethics (Brill 2006), Religious Studies Review, and the Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute, and his teaching has touched on subject areas throughout the humanities: recent courses have included forays into Russian literature (The Brothers Karamazov, Doctor Zhivago, Mikhail Bakhtin), secular and liberal Jewish thought (Chaim Zhitlovsky, Mordecai Kaplan, Phillip Roth), and American Pragmatism (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Ellison, Jeffrey Stout).
In addition to his work in higher education, Avi spent a number of years teaching English at the secondary level in Newton, Hyde Park, and Waltham. He holds a degree, magna cum laude, in philosophy from Brown University, and a PhD from Stanford in Religion, where he wrote a dissertation on philosopher Hermann Cohen. For fun and a good workout, he coaches youth basketball, and practices Bikram Yoga. Avi lives in Newton Highlands with his wife and their four children.
Maike Isaac received a Master of Law degree (LL.M.) in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from Viadrina University in Germany and a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Peace and Conflict Studies from the European Peace University in Austria. As an undergraduate student, Maike studied Cultural Anthropology and African Studies at Leipzig University in Germany and Transitional Justice at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. She has undertaken several internships in leading research institutes and non-governmental organizations in Europe, Africa and the United States, among others at the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Cape Town, at the Center for International Peace Operations in Berlin, and at Physicians for Human Rights in Boston. Maike is a passionate peace researcher and human rights analyst. She is interested in the development of international criminal law, the acknowledgement of sexual violence as an international crime, and the nexus between gender stereotyping and the dynamics of armed conflict. Maike’s LL.M. thesis dealt with the prosecution of sexual violence against men in armed conflict under international criminal law. Maike shared her insights on this topic in a talk at the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life in October 2015. See an article about her talk here.
Jane Sapp is a cultural worker who engages with disenfranchised urban and rural communities in the United States. She is a powerful, highly-regarded performer, song-writer, recording artist, and educator. Her music reflects the blues and gospel sounds of her Georgia youth and is deeply rooted in the spiritual, religious and historical experiences of the African-American world.
She has recorded four albums, and her performances have been featured in concert halls (including Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger), colleges, and community centers throughout the U.S. and in Sweden, Canada, Senegal, and Mali, West Africa. She was a Senior Fellow at MIT's Center for Reflective Community Practice, and a Community Fellow at the Center for Reflective Community Practice in the Department of Urban Studies at MIT.
As an educator, Jane Sapp has developed techniques to help the silenced find their voices through the arts. Her community-based cultural development programs have been the subject of an hour-long documentary “Someone Sang for Me” by Julie Akeret (Filmmakers Library 2002) and three scholarly studies. She has lectured and performed extensively at colleges, conferences, and community gatherings.
Jane Sapp and Cynthia Cohen, Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, are working together, along with Brandeis students, on "A Way Out of No Way," a multimedia project documenting Sapp's over 40 years as a cultural worker.
Past Associates: 2013-14 Academic Year
Jacqueline R. McAllister
Jacqueline R. McAllister was a Ph.D. candidate in political science and a visiting lecturer at Wellesley College during the 2013-14 academic year. Her dissertation addresses how and when international criminal tribunals affect violence against civilians. She is primarily focusing on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Her research is based on extensive archival and interview data collected in the Netherlands and throughout Southeast Europe (in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, and Macedonia). The National Science Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Dispute Resolution Research Center at the J.L. Kellogg School of Management have all supported her graduate work.
Besides her dissertation research, Jacqueline worked on a collaborative research project (with Karen Alter and Laurence Helfer) on the Economic Community of West African States’ Court of Justice, which took her to Abuja, Nigeria. The team’s article, “A New Human Rights Court for West Africa,” appears in the fall edition of the American Journal of International Law. This summer, she will start as an assistant professor at Kenyon College.