The HBI scholar-in-residence program offers distinguished scholars, writers and communal professionals the opportunity to produce significant work in the area of Jewish studies and gender issues while being freed from their regular institutional responsibilities. HBI scholars-in-residence receive a monthly stipend (for up to 5 months), office space at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center, and the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with HBI staff and faculty at Brandeis and surrounding institutions. Scholars-in-residence contribute to the life of the HBI by immersing in the institute’s weekly activities, participating in HBI conferences and programs, and delivering a public lecture.
Hikmet Kocamaner, Scholar-in-Residence
Hikmet Kocamaner is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in secularism, political Islam, mass media, gender, and the politics of the family in Turkey. Currently, he is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Boston University and a visiting postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis and a lecturer in the Anthropology department at Brandeis University. He received a dual Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Arizona. He received numerous grants and fellowships including a dissertation fieldwork grant by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, a dissertation proposal development grant by the Social Science Research Council, and a foreign language teaching fellowship by Fulbright IIE.
Dr. Kocamaner is currently working on his book manuscript, provisionally entitled Governing the Family through Religion in a Secular State: Islam, Gender, and the Politics of the Family in the New Turkey. Expanding on his dissertation research, the book examines the involvement of Islamic groups in the politics of the family and the recent proliferation of faith-based initiatives aimed at strengthening so-called "family values." It explores the implications of this unprecedented phenomenon for state-Islam relations and emerging forms of governance in Turkey, which is often considered the paradigmatic example of secularism in the Muslim world. His article, titled "Strengthening the Family through Television: Islamic Broadcasting, Secularism, and the Politics of Responsibility in Turkey," is forthcoming in Anthropological Quarterly.
Gail Labovitz, Scholar-in-Residence
Dr. Gail Labovitz is Associate Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the American Jewish University, where she teaches rabbinic texts and Jewish law for the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. She is the author of Marriage and Metaphor: Constructions of Gender in Rabbinic Literature (Lexington Books, 2009), a forthcoming volume of the Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud (Moed Qatan), and numerous articles on topics including rabbinic literature and culture, Jewish law, and gender and sexuality. Prior to joining the faculty of ZSRS, she also served as a senior research analyst for the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project at Brandeis University and as the coordinator of the Jewish Feminist Research Group, a project of the Jewish Women's Studies Program at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and was a 2002 recipient of a research award from the Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis (now the HBI). She is a past chair of the Women’s Caucus of the Association for Jewish Studies, and is the founder and coordinator of the Dr. Elka Klein Memorial Travel Grant. In addition, she is an ordained Conservative rabbi, and currently serves on the Committee for Jewish Law and Standards, the body that debates and sets halahkic rulings and standards for the movement.
Dr. Labovitz is participating in HBI's spring seminar, "Female Interpreters of Religious Law: Women's Leadership as Clergy, Educators, Advisors and Judges." While serving as Scholar-in-Residence at HBI, Labovitz is working on a project relating to the legal underpinnings of Jewish marriage in current Jewish law, and options for setting marriage and divorce on a more egalitarian footing.