Graduate Students


Women's and Gender Studies Master's Students

Master of  Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Marilyn Bean

Marilyn Bean graduated from Western Michigan University in 2014 with her BA in Sociology and Gender & Women's Studies. She spent her final semester participating in a study abroad program titled "Comparative Women's & Gender Studies in Europe" where she conducted research for her paper "Write Down Your Stories: Audre Lorde, Poetry, & the Afro-German Women's Movement." Her interests include gender socialization, Arts-based research methods, politics of rape culture, media studies, body image studies, women's literature, German language & literature, American literature, studies of the novel, and creative writing.

Amity Pauley

Amity Pauley earned her BA in Women’s Studies and Interpersonal Communication with minors in Anthropology and French and an Honors Program certificate from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Her Honors Program thesis is titled “Terroir of Two Places: Exploring the Potentials and Limitations for Feminist Outcomes in French and US Food Movements.” Amity looks forward to continuing her research, refining it, and potentially expanding it to other national contexts. Her general interests include but are not limited to: feminist theory, human geography, food studies, critical theory, cultural studies, history, social movements, ecology, anarcha-feminism, empathy, and rhetoric.

Joint MA in Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Zhiduo Cheng

Zhiduo Cheng received his BA in Law from Shantou University in China. Zhiduo sees himself as an anthropological researcher focusing on everyday practice of LGBT people in post-reform China. Zhiduo theorizes everyday practice of LGBT people as active resistance and rebelliousness of “common heroes” against the dominant discursive construction of sexuality and normativity in the post-socialist China. He wants to continue his research about “queer China”, and to expand this research to the extent that encompasses the idea of gendered world and the taken-for-granted assumptions of gender and sexuality.

Steven Gonzalez

Steven Gonzalez graduated from Keene State College in 2014 with an individualized Bachelor of Arts degree of Feminist Anthropology. As an undergraduate, Steven conducted ethnographic fieldwork in the small New England City of Keene, NH, where he interviewed locals and engaged in participant observation to study the cultural scene of a community soup kitchen and the mobile world of a local public transportation system. For graduate study, Steven is interested in Science & Technology topics including, mobile phones and computing cultures in developing countries, ethnosciences, digitally-mediated postcolonial subjectivities, the ontology of data, qualitative studies of data centers, politics of indigeneity, science fiction, postcolonial feminist science studies and cyborg anthropology.

Patrick S K Harhai

Patrick S K Harhai graduated Magna Cum Laude from Portland State University with studies in Anthropology, Queer Studies, and Spanish. Although he has varied academic interests, his current research project interrogates queer inclusive policies in United States school systems. Other interests: youth, identity, education, social justice, transnationalism, applied anthropology; United States and Latin America.  He is thrilled to be a part of both the department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the department of Anthropology at Brandeis University, and is excited to serve as a Graduate Student Representative. In his free time he loves traveling, running, and being outdoors.

Claire Hautot

Claire Hautot  received her B.A. in Religious Studies from Rhodes College with minors in Anthropology and Sociology.  Claire wrote a research fellowship paper titled "A Spectrum of Appropriateness: Sex Education in Religiously Affiliated High Schools", which examined attitudes and approaches to sex education in private high schools in Memphis, TN. Some of Claire's research interests include the role of women in evangelical religious movements in the American South and faith-based medicine.

Leah Wasil

Leah Wasil holds a BA in Anthropology from Central Washington University with a minor in Pacific/East Asian Studies. At Brandeis, she hopes to explore the contemporary practice of archaeology in Japan and East Asia. She is interested in gender politics and the weight of Japanese Imperial history, and how academic and contract archaeology in East Asia may be understood as a complex political process that ideologically organizes connections among different East Asian national communities and structures internal relations of gender and ethnicity.

Joint Master of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Phillip Carlisle

Phillip Carlisle graduated from Albion College in 2015 with a BA in English and music.  After spending two summers doing full-time research on Albion's campus, Phillip wrote his senior thesis -- a two-act musical titled The Portrait of Mr. Oscar Wilde: A Grossly Indecent Musical.  As he begins his studies at Brandeis, Phillip hopes to continue research related to Oscar Wilde and (late) Victorian sexuality; and when he's not reading a book or eating pizza rolls, Phillip enjoys watching Netflix and being a political junkie.

Larissa Cvach

Larissa Cvach received her BA in English literature and sociology in 2012 from the University of Nevada Reno. Larissa's research has focused on the intersection of identity categories and cultural studies. Her academic interests are feminist and queer theory, postcolonial theory, American postmodernism, cultural studies, and representations of the body and space in literature. Her honors thesis is titled "Masculinity in Southern California-based Hardcore Punk Rock". Larissa presented a revised version of this paper at a conference in Reno. Her future research interests include examining the use of space in queer Southern (gothic) literature and examining the ways Irish and Irish American punk lyrics can be read as postcolonial texts.

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Margot Kotler

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Michael Mirer




Joint Master of Public Policy and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Jessica Thiesen Jessica Thiesen has a BA in political science (Roosevelt University). Jessica’s research interests include the relationships between gender, race, and social welfare policy as well as the exploration of how trans* and other non-binary identified individuals exist within policy. Jessica’s undergraduate thesis explored the historical and theoretical relationship between poor women of color and various welfare programs. 









Joint MA in Sociology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Jax Gonzalez Jax Gonzalez graduated from Arizona State University in 2014 with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Women’s and Gender studies. Her undergraduate thesis focused on elementary health education, and how neo-liberal politics have affected educator’s ability to teach the subject successfully.  Her graduate research will explore how menstruation effects queer lives, and the role of alternative menstrual products and menstrual “outing” within them.  Together with Stephanie Robinson-Cestaro, she founded the Menstrual Activist Research Collective (M.A.R.C) and had developed a series of workshops and literature on menstrual activism for faculty, students and activists. Check out their work (and get involved) at menarchists.wordpress.com.
Christina Hutson Christina Hutson earned her BA in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 2013. She also has minors in Sociology and Latin American Studies. Her interests include queer studies, intersectionality, and issues surrounding identity. Interest in identity issues includes, but is not limited to, self-identifying/labels/labeling and the idea of “outing”/being “outed.” She is interested in the different ways individuals choose to navigate identity, labeling, and outing in different environments and various aspects of daily life.

















Joint MA in Sustainable International Development and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Nidhi Sen

Nidhi Sen is currently a Senior Programme Officer with National Foundation for India, based in New Delhi. After completing her Master's in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, she has worked in the field of human rights, governance and development with some of the leading civil society organisations in the country. She has engaged at the grassroots level with a range of issues like strengthening systems of care and protection for vulnerable adolescent girls in urban poor communities and trafficking of women and children along the Indo-Bangladesh border. At the policy level, she has looked at specific laws and policies to address violence against women in public and private spaces as well as strengthening gender responsive budgeting in India.