Around Campus

American Jewish Historical Society honors SarnaPosted: Feb. 3, 2016
Photo/Mike Lovett

Jonathan Sarna

The American Jewish Historical Society has presented the 2016 Lee Max Friedman Award to Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History.
The Lee Max Friedman Award is awarded biennially to recognize special achievement in research, scientific and popular writing, teaching and support of specific historical projects in the field of American Jewish history.
Sarna is being honored for his extensive writing on American Jewish history, which includes editing, authoring and co-editing more than 30 books related to the American Jewish history. The award will be presented at the Biennial Scholars’ Conference of the Academic Council at the Center for Jewish History in New York City on June 20.
The American Jewish Historical Society is the oldest ethnic, cultural archive in the United States. AJHS provides access to more than 25 million documents and 50,000 books, photographs, art and artifacts that reflect the history of the Jewish presence in the United States from 1654 to the present.
Brandeis faculty books finalists for National Jewish Book AwardsPosted: Jan. 20, 2016
Cover of Jonathan Sarna's book Lincoln and the Jews: A History
Cover of Laura Jockusch's book Jewish Honor Courts

The Jewish Book Council recognized two books by Brandeis faculty as finalists for the 2015 National Jewish Book Award.

Lincoln and the Jews: A History,” by Jonathan D. Sarna, '75, MA'75, the Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, and Benjamin Shapell, was a finalist for the American Jewish Studies category.

Laura Jockusch, the Albert Abramson Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies, and Gabriel N. Finder were co-editors of “Jewish Honor Courts: Revenge, Retribution, and Reconciliation in Europe and Israel after the Holocaust,” a finalist in the Holocaust category.

The Jewish Book Council has presented the National Jewish Book Awards for 65 years, making it North America’s longest running Jewish literature awards program.

The council's mission is to promote the reading, writing and publication of Jewish interest literature. Engaging and educating authors and readers across the globe, Jewish Book Council works to enrich Jewish life and identity and create conversations with generations of readers across communities.

Welcome receptions for President-Elect Ron LiebowitzPosted: Jan. 8, 2016

Ron Liebowitz

Members of the Brandeis community are invited to meet the president-elect, Ron Liebowitz, and his wife, Jessica, during three welcome receptions on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

President-Elect Leibowitz will offer some brief remarks at each reception and will then greet attendees.

All events will be held in Levin Ballroom in the Usdan Student Center. Light refreshments will be served.

Staff Reception
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Faculty Reception
11 a.m. to noon

Student Reception
1 to 2 p.m.

BIMA, Genesis programs receive grant to support development of teacher training and curriculaPosted: Jan. 7, 2016
Photo/Mike Lovett

The Covenant Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to the Brandeis Office of High School Programs to help fund the development of teacher training and curricula integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) with Jewish studies.
The grant will support BIMA, the university's summer arts institute that guides high school students as they develop their imaginative and artistic faculties and to explore the relevance of Jewish tradition in their lives, and the Genesis program, an immersive, experiential program for high school students who have an interest in exploring Jewish thought, culture and identity through the lens of an academic discipline and as part of a vibrant, global community.
The Covenant Foundation awarded 21 grants overall, totaling $1.6 million.
“We are going where bold ideas and dogged implementation reside,” said Eli N. Evans, chairman of the board of directors of The Covenant Foundation, which supports creative and new educational programs in order to foster the identity, continuity and heritage of the Jewish people. “These new grantees hold great promise for success, and are positioned to be change makers and models of creativity.”
Rabbi Charlie Schwartz, director of BIMA and Genesis and the senior Jewish educator in the Office of High School Programs, will oversee the grant.

“3D printers, digital technology and makerspaces are having a transformative effect on the world of education," said Schwartz. "We’re grateful for the support of the Covenant Foundation to help us deeply connect this educational revolution with Jewish tradition.”  

David Engerman elected president of Society for Historians of American Foreign RelationsPosted: Jan. 6, 2016
Photo/Mike Lovett

David C. Engerman, the Ottilie Springer Professor of History and chair of the department of history, has been elected president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR).

SHAFR serves as the leading scholarly organization devoted to the history of the engagement of the United States with the rest of the world. It sponsors the journal Diplomatic History, holds annual meetings, and offers a platform for showcasing the activities of the society and its members through its website

The society’s president is elected annually by its members and provides leadership for the organization’s staff and regular functioning, as well as guidance for its long-term intellectual and financial wellbeing. The president also gives a luncheon address at the annual meeting – in Engerman’s case in San Diego June 23-25, 2016. 

“David Engerman’s election as SHAFR President for 2016 confirms his standing as one of the most highly respected scholars of U.S. international history and as a leader of fine character. He is also a delight to work with,” said Thomas “Tim” Borstelmann, SHAFR’s previous president and a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Engerman is an expert on the international and intellectual history of the Cold War and is the author of two books about Russia/USSR in American life: “Modernization from the Other Shore,” winner of the Stuart Bernath and Akira Iriye book prizes, and “Know your Enemy.” He is currently at work on his next book, “Development Politics: The Economic Cold War in India.”

Karpf and Hahn Peace Award winners namedPosted: Dec. 21, 2015

Four students and a student group have been named Maurice J. and Fay B. Karpf Peace Award and Ari Hahn Peace Award winners, and will receive grants for projects that work toward peaceful ways of addressing and resolving conflicts.

The applications for the grants were evaluated by faculty and student members of the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies Program. Applications are considered under three categories: Art works and essays on peace, travel grants for participation in a peace project or conference, and seed money for peace-related projects not involving travel. Brandeis undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply for the awards, which are distributed annually. Awards typically range from $300 to $1,000.

The following students and organizations were awarded grants:

Anni Long '16: Partnering with Media Monitor for Women Network in Beijing, Long will help to initiate a series of inspiring feminist lecture/forum events. The goal of this project is to plant the seeds of feminism in a conversational way.

Brandeis Bridges: The Brandeis Bridges group will be traveling to Ghana to enhance discussions regarding the topics of identity and peoplehood from a non-western approach. They will also be learning about homeland and diaspora for black and jewish communities.

Brontë Velez '16: She is creating a video art work that embodies Alice Walker's story "The Flowers" serving as an elegy to the remnants of slavery. The piece, along with her senior thesis, will regard the history of indigo cash-crop slavery.

Leah Susman '18: She will be working with the Brandeis-Al-Quds Student Dialogue Initiative to bring a group of seven students and faculty members from Al-Quds to Brandeis for a week. This aims to act as a step toward re-establishing the academic partnership between the two schools. These representatives will help foster meaningful discussion.

Linda Phiri '16: Through an online magazine, Phiri will be providing a space where the voices of refugees can be heard. The magazine will be called "Moments in Time," and will be a compilation of fictional or biographical stories written by refugees in Recife, Brazil.

American Historical Association awards book prize to LanserPosted: Dec. 11, 2015
Susan S. Lanser and her bookThe American Historical Association has awarded Susan S. Lanser, professor of comparative literature, English, and women's, gender and sexuality studies, with the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for her book “The Sexuality of History:  Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830,” published by the University of Chicago Press.

The prize is awarded annually for the book in women's history and/or feminist theory that best reflects the high intellectual and scholarly ideals exemplified by the life and work of Joan Kelly (1928–82), a pioneering feminist historian.

In “The Sexuality of History,” which was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies, Lanser shows how intimacies between women became harbingers of the modern, bringing the sapphic into the mainstream of some of the most significant events in Western Europe. Ideas about female same-sex relations became a focal point for intellectual and cultural contests between authority and liberty, power and difference, desire and duty, mobility and change, order and governance.

She also explores the ways in which a historically specific interest in lesbians intersected with, and stimulated, systemic concerns that would seem to have little to do with sexuality. Departing from the prevailing trend of queer reading whereby scholars ferret out hidden content in “closeted” texts, Lanser situates overtly erotic representations within wider spheres of interest.  In so doing, she demonstrates that just as one can understand sexuality by studying the past, so too can one understand the past by studying sexuality.

The award will be presented at the AHA’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Jan. 7-10, 2016.
Brandeis University Press offers books for everyone on your gift listPosted: Dec. 4, 2015

Brandeis University Press holiday discount offerThis holiday season, Brandeis University Press and University Press of New England are offering all Brandeis students, faculty, staff and alumni a 35 percent discount on all books for a limited time. Purchases of $35 or more qualify for free shipping within the United States.

Books must be ordered online and please use the discount code WW91. Free shipping will not show up in your shopping cart, but it will be applied when orders are processed.

For more information or to make a purchase, visit the Brandeis University Press site.

Targoff honored by Modern Language Association of AmericaPosted: Dec. 4, 2015
Photo/Mike Lovett

Ramie Targoff

Ramie Targoff, director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities and professor of English at Brandeis University, will receive honorable mention for the Modern Language Association of America’s 46th annual James Russell Lowell Prize for her book “Posthumous Love: Eros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England.”
The prize is awarded annually to a member of the association who has produced an outstanding work such as a literary or linguistic study, critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography.
Targoff’s book, published by University of Chicago Press, studies the shift in human love’s portrayal in Renaissance-era prose and its consequences for English poetry.
Targoff notes that English poetry roots human love in mortality, which is a strict departure from Renaissance writers such as Dante and Petrarch, who said love extended beyond death and into heaven.
Williams appointed to Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory CommitteePosted: Dec. 3, 2015
Photo/Mike Lovett
Christina Williams, associate provost for budget and planning at Brandeis, has been named to the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee.

The federal committee provides scientific and technical advice to the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and senior department leadership on matters related to the expansion of technological capabilities across the homeland security enterprise.

Williams will advise on issues related to organization strategy and management, drawing on her experience as the lead administrator of a multi-disciplinary lab at a major research university.

“This is a very exciting opportunity to be able to interact with some very seasoned individuals across so many sectors, cyber security, chemical and biological defense and first response,” said Williams. “We are charged with providing advice to the Department of Homeland Security on how to prioritize the divergent needs to protect the security of our country, funding needed for research, and ways in which to partner with universities and industry.”

Williams’ appointment is for three years and is renewable for one additional term.

Koloski-Ostrow to be honored nationally for contributions to archaeological educationPosted: Nov. 2, 2015
Photo/Mike Lovett

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, chair of the department of classical studies at Brandeis and co-director of the graduate MA program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, is the 2016 recipient of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
The award will be presented to Koloski-Ostrow at the organization’s annual meeting in San Francisco on Jan. 7.
Koloski-Ostrow is an expert in Greek and Roman art and archaeology, culture, literature, engineering and daily life and regularly works at archaeological sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum. Her courses also cross-list with fine arts, anthropology, Italian studies and women, gender and sexuality studies.
 “In bestowing Professor Koloski-Ostrow this award, we wish to acknowledge and applaud the invaluable service she has given the archaeological community as an educator,” said Andrew Moore, the AIA’s president.
The AIA presents the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award to recognize individuals who, among other things, have demonstrated excellence in the teaching of archaeology, developed innovative teaching methods, or interdisciplinary curricula, have five or more years of teaching experience and are actively teaching.
Alum, former Sorensen fellow, returns to campus for mini-residencyPosted: Oct. 27, 2015
Photo/David Weinstein

Former Sorensen fellow Ariele Cohen '99 speaks with students during her mini-residency.

As a junior at Brandeis, Ariele Cohen ’99 traveled to the war-torn former Yugoslavia, as well as Bulgaria, as one of the very first Sorensen Fellows.

Today, she makes her living on Wall Street as a financial lawyer doing substantial pro bono work to benefit Iraqi refugees and special education recipients in the US.

Along the way she studied Chinese law at City University of Hong Kong, and spent two years in Sri Lanka working for a local law firm, drafting joint venture agreements between multinational corporations investing in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Maldives.

Cohen returned to campus Oct. 22 and 23 to share her journey in the first Sorensen Fellowship Alumni Mini-Residency. Her residency featured three events, including a conversation reflecting on her experience in Sri Lanka in relation to this year’s Brandeis first-year book "Anil’s Ghost" by Michael Ondaatje.

“Traveling to the former Yugoslavia in 1998 as part of the first group of Sorensen Fellows was transformative for me,” Cohen said. “Not only did it broaden my world view by allowing me to experience firsthand a region entrenched in national and ethnic conflict, but it also taught me meaningful and practical life skills that I implement daily in both my personal life and my professional life as a financial lawyer.”

The Sorensen Fellowship for undergraduates has been a flagship program since the founding of the International Center for Ethics, Jusice and Public Life in 1998. The Fellowship consists of a summer internship bookended by courses for preparation and reflection. Seventeen years later there are more than 100 Fellowship alumni doing interesting work around the world in a variety of fields. Often their career paths are informed by their Sorensen Fellow experiences.

This new mini-residency is made possible thanks to a generous gift from Ethics Center Board member Gillian Sorensen. The Fellowship is named in honor of her late husband Theodore “Ted” Sorensen (1928-2010), adviser and speechwriter for President Kennedy and Founding Chair of the Ethics Center’s Board.