Brian Donahue, a Brandeis historian and Massachusetts farmer, believes that New Englanders need to grow more of their own food. We’ll never be entirely self-sufficient, but if we made better use of our productive land, we could make ourselves healthier, he argues, by eating fresher produce and protecting our environment. In a new plan, called A New England Food Vision, Donahue and some colleagues suggest that we should be growing half of our own food by 2060. To do that, we’ll need to plant more suburban yards and convert precious timberlands to pasture.
Professor Jerry Cohen honored for 55-years of service
Brandeis' Interium President, Lisa Lynch, along with American Studies Chair, Thomas Doherty, joined the Faculty in honoring Professor Jacob "Jerry" Cohen in his 55-years of dedication to instructing and guiding Brandeis students. Doherty remarked "I believe it can be said without fear of contradiction that Jerry has taught more Brandeis students than any other faculty member in the history of Brandeis." Throughout his career at Brandeis, he has always been one of the university’s most generous and active citizens: repeatedly chairing the AMST Dept, twice chairing the faculty senate, and twice serving as chair of the faculty committee on admissions and financial aid. Click here to read Professor Doherty's tribute to our beloved Jerry Cohen.
Professor Whitfield Humors Kerem Shalom
Resident humorist and American Studies Professor, Stephen Whitfield, presented "What is Jewish Humor?" at Karem Shalom on November 15. For much of the 20th century, Jews exercised a disproportionate role in American comedy. At one time, four out of five stand-up comedians were estimated to be Jewish, though Jews were no more than 3 percent of the population. Minority status alone cannot explain such influence; no other ethnic or religious group has shown a comparable aptitude for an antic disposition that has reshaped the heritage of the nation’s humor.
Professor Doherty Visits the Holocaust Museum & Education Center, November 12 at 6:30 pm
American Studies Professor, Thomas Doherty, shared clips and insights from his book "Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939" on November 12 at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.
Professor Doherty explored how the rise of the Third Reich confronted Hollywood with an unwelcome set of problems—over how to conduct business with the Nazis; over whether to address or ignore Nazism in Hollywood movies; and over the coverage of Hitler and his victims in newsreels.
Hollywood Reporter: Remembering the Hollywood Mogul Who Rescued Hundreds of Germany's Jews
Recently, Professor Thomas Doherty was a guest columnist for teh Hollywood Reporter. His column, Remembering the Hollywood Mogul Who Rescued Hundreds of Germany's Jews, recounted the story of Universal founder Carl Laemmle and the Jews of Laupheim. Professor Doherty is the author of numerous books on American film and culture, most recently Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939, published in 2013 by Columbia University Press.
Professor Whitfield Featured in Documentary
Weaving powerful and compelling personal stories told by American Communists with objective historical sources and analysis, American Reds: “What Must We Dream Of?” illuminates the epic story of the rise and fall of the American Communist Party and highlights perspectives by American Studies very own Professor Stephen Whitfield.
Between 1920 and 1960, more than one million men and women joined the Party to fight for the emancipation of American workers from economic tyranny and plutocracy, for the freedom of minorities from racism and sexism, for the defense of America from fascism, and for the ultimate creation of a radiant society based on freedom, equality, justice, and fraternity.
American Reds features unseen interviews by Richard Wormser of notable Party members such as Gus Hall, Henry Winston, Anne Burlak Timpson, Robert Schrank, and Steve Nelson; rare footage from the Moscow archives; and interviews with scholars such as Glenda Gilmore, Beverly Gage, Harvey Klehr, John Haynes, Vivian Gornick, and Eric Arnesen.
Professors of both U.S. and social history will be find a valuable teaching tool in American Reds. It provides a perspective on the past that few Americans are aware of while raising a number of key issues concerning social change, idealism, ideology, and the nature of our economic and political system that continue to remain vital issues in contemporary America.
The Forbidden Films of the Third Reich
Professor Thomas Doherty reviews a new documentary film that tackles the question, Nazi propaganda: show it, or bury it?
Where did the stereotype of the Jewish mother actually come from?
Professor Joyce Antler gives a brief history of the universally recognized metaphor for nagging, whining - and unstinting devotion in Haaretz.(PDF)
Julian Seltzer and Amanda Jane Stern present Coerced
When "Coerced" received its first public performances on April 23 and 26, it signaled much more than the completion of a school assignment. This documentary play — all of its dialogue is taken from real-life sources — reflects deep research into the case of Nga Truong, the grieving Worcester 16-year-old who was prompted by an intense interrogation to ‘admit’ to a horrific crime—one that all involved now concede she didn’t actually commit. The crime? Causing the sudden death of her 13-month-old baby boy by smothering him. Read more here.
Julian Bond at Brandeis
On March 31, 2015 Julian Bond gave a talk titled, "How I Got in the Movement: A Civil Rights 'Living Legend' Tells His Story" Taking his title from that of a Martin Luther King sermon, Bond spoke about how he became a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and where his activism took him over the ensuing decades. He highlighted important people and events of the 1960s, and discussed other movements that grew out of the Civil Rights Movement, up to and including the fight for marriage equality and the opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
How Massachusetts Helped Launch The Golden Age Of Hollywood
In an interview with WGBH, Professor Thomas Doherty discusses Hollywood mogul Louis B. Mayer's transformation from a "struggling scrap metal dealer" to a major player in the Hollywood industry. Check out the interview at WGBH News.
How New England could become Farmville again
In an article in the Boston Globe, Professor Brian Donahue discusses his "elaborate report laying out a scenario in which New England, in the year 2060, has three times as much farmland as it does now—a full 6 million acres, or 15 percent of the entire landmass, upon which to raise crops and livestock that would be consumed by the local population. Under these conditions, the authors of the report argue, New England could grow 50 percent of its own food." Read more at the Boston Globe.
The Zionist Paradox dedicated to Professor Jacob Cohen
The Zionist Paradox: Hebrew Literature & Israeli Identity, by Yigal Schwartz, was recently released by the Brandeis University Press. Dedicated to Brandeis professor Jacob Cohen, the work is a comprehensive reinterpretation of the development of Hebrew and Israeli literature against the backdrop of the Zionist ideal.
"Many contemporary Israelis suffer from a strange condition. Despite the obvious successes of the Zionist enterprise and the State of Israel, tension persists, with a collective sense that something is wrong and should be better. This cognitive dissonance arises from the disjunction between “place” (defined as what Israel is really like) and “Place” (defined as the imaginary community of history, myth, and dream).
Through the lens of five major works in Hebrew by writers Avraham Mapu (1853), Theodor Herzl (1902), Yosef Luidor (1912), Moshe Shamir (1948), and Amos Oz (1963), Schwartz unearths the core of this paradox as it evolves over one hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s."
Doherty Presents Hollywood and Hitler: The back story, at Drew University, Nov. 13
In the last years of the 20th century, Hollywood was big on causes. But in the 1930s, American cinema was virtually silent on one of history’s most urgent moral issues: The rising persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. This silence was especially curious because the era’s most powerful movie moguls were Jews, who themselves had fled Russian pogroms a generation earlier.
Presenting at the daylong conference, Hollywood and Nazi Germany, 1933-1945, Stories Told/Stories Untold, Professor Doherty, author of Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939, will delve deeper into this complex story with a panel of experts at Drew University in Madison on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014.
He’s got a vision for backyard farming – an interview with Professor Brian Donahue
Professor Doherty at the German Historical Institute, Moscow
Professor Doherty gave a talk in Moscow this September entitled "The Rise and Fall of the Committee for the First Amendment," about the group of Hollywood directors and stars who flew to Washington to protest the hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947.
Professor Gaskins in The Hague
Richard Gaskins was teaching in The Hague during the past Spring and Summer. Students from Brandeis and other US universities come to The Hague for intensive studies of global justice and human rights. The diverse international courts found in The Hague serve as our learning laboratory, especially the International Criminal Court (ICC). We saw trials and hearings dealing with international crimes committed in the Balkans, Kenya, the Congo, and Lebanon. Spring students held internships in various Hague courts and NGO’s, while the summer students engaged with judges and lawyers in a series of mock legal exercises. Our cozy host city of Leiden is an historic university town, which came alive in June to cheer on the Dutch soccer team in the World Cup.
"Blacks, Jews, and Social Justice in America" June 10-12, 2014
Marking the 50th anniversary of the slaying of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, the American Studies Program at Brandeis University hosted a conference on the theme “Blacks, Jews, and Social Justice in America," on June 10-12, 2014.
An Exciting Event with Major General Anthony Cucolo
On April 2nd Major General Anthony Cucolo gave a talk titled, "The Media: A Serviceman's View," which was received with enthusiasm by both Brandeis students and Faculty. Maj. General Cucolo is the 49th Commandant of the U.S. Army War College. Prior to his arrival at Carlisle Barracks, he spent ten months as the Director of Force Development for the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, at Headquarters, Department of the Army in the Pentagon. His office on the Army staff tied resources to requirements to develop equipment solutions for the entire Army, active, Guard and Reserve–from uniforms and rifles to attack helicopters and armored vehicles.
A Special Event with Thomas Doherty
October 9th, 7:30 pm at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Brandeis University professor Thomas Doherty, author of Hollywood and Hitler 1933-1939, reconstructs what Hollywood produced for the big screen during the emerging Nazi threat, and how the Jewish backgrounds of many of the Hollywood studio executives affected how they treated Hitler and his victims. Did Hollywood lie low, or stand tall and sound the alarm
Honored alum shares good news and praise for former Department Chairman Larry Fuchs
Julieanna Richardson '76, a major in American Studies (as well as Theatre Arts), is, we believe, the first of the graduates in our program to receive an honorary degree. Professor Lawrence H. Fuchs was long the chair of the Department of American Studies. Her letter is below.