Social sciences students

About Us

The social sciences play a fundamental role within the Brandeis curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. > more

Social sciences students conduct anthropology research

Scholarship and Research

Promoting knowledge of social and cultural behavior across many different societies and eras, research and scholarship produced by professors within the Division is a central component of Brandeis’ mission as a liberal arts research university. > more

Social science professors tackle issues outside the normal classroom environment.


With faculty committed to student success, professors within the Division work with students inside and beyond the classroom to help students expand their depth and breadth of knowledge. > more

Upcoming Events:

Friday, January 29, 2016

  • 2:00 pm, Gabriele Koch: Producing Iyashi: Healing and Labor in Tokyo's Sex Industry, Schwartz 103. For more information, please email Laurel Carpenter at

Gabriele Koch is a cultural anthropologist whose work focuses on how globalizing human rights and labor rights discourses intersect with longstanding histories of gender, labor, and care in urban Japan. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University.  She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University.

Dr. Koch’s book project, Human Rights in Japan’s Libidinal Economy, explores contestations over the meaning of labor and rights in Tokyo’s mainstream commercial sex industry. In Japan, female sex workers are ambivalent about their work, not because it involves sexual services, but because it is female care work. At the same time that the short-term employment of young Japanese women in this industry is being normalized, labor and human rights advocates are politicizing these women in new ways. Based on ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, Dr. Koch’s manuscript examines how intimate relations in Tokyo’s sex industry are implicated within recent political-economic transformations to explore why sex workers do not recognize themselves in the advocacy of competing rights movements.

Co-sponsored: East Asian Studies.

Monday, February 1, 2016

  • 6:00 pm, 1971 Breaking the Story: How Eight Ordinary Citizens Took Down the FBI, Rapaporte Treasure Hall. For more information, please email

Please join the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism for a screening of the documentary 1971, panel discussion, and book signing featuring John and Bonnie Raines, Betty Medsger, and Florence Graves.  John and Bonnie Raines risked everything to expose the FBI's illegal activities.  Betty Medsger is the Washington Post reporter who broke the story.  Florence Graves is the Founding Director of the Schuster Institute.  There will be light refreshments.  The event is free and open to the public.

Cosponsors: International Centers for Ethics, Justice & Public Life | Social Justice & Social Policy Program | Peace, Conflict & Coexistence Studies Program | American Studies Program | History Department | Journalism Program | Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Program | WBRS

Friday, February 5, 2016

  • 2:00 pm, Faris Kahn presents Illegible Bodies: Khwaja Sira Activists, the State and Sex/Gender Regulation in Pakistan, Schwartz 103. For more information, please email Laurel Carpenter at

Between 2009 and 2012, the Pakistani Supreme Court granted rights to a category of gender ambiguous and sexually non-normative citizens now commonly known as khwaja siras. The activities surrounding the Court’s deliberations highlight the term’s complicated journey of being institutionalized for legal and regulatory purposes. By focusing on the appropriation of “khwaja sira” in activist and state domains, this paper considers the role of various social actors in the production and perpetuation of ambiguity.

Faris Khan is a Lecturer in Anthropology whose research interests include sexuality and gender, queer and transgender studies, identities and subject positions, globalization and transnationalism, activism and social movements, digital and biotechnologies, Pakistan, South Asia. This spring, Dr. Khan is teaching courses on Activism, Resistance, and Change and Sexualities and Genders in Crosscultural Perspective.

Co-Sponsored: South Asian Studies, Sexuality and Queer Studies, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Friday, February 26, 2016

  • 2:00 pm, Archaeology Graduate Student Presentations, Schwartz 103. For more information, please email Laurel Carpenter at

Brandeis University archaeology graduate students will present on their summer and fall 2015 fieldwork projects.

Friday, March 4, 2016

  • 2:00 pm, Stephen Sillman (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Schwartz 103.  For more information, please email Laurel Carpenter at

Professor Stephen Silliman, Director of the Graduate Program in Historical Archaeology at University of Massachusetts, Boston, works primarily on topics pertaining to Indigenous people and colonialism. As a historical archaeologist (and historical anthropologist) he is interested in the interplay of material culture, architecture, documentary, and oral historical data sources as a way to tell more enriched and relevant stories about the past. Favorite sources include mass-produced goods such as ceramics and glass, stone tools, and uses of space, which he uses to try to address the nature of daily cultural practice, identity, labor, gender, and community life for people in the past.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

  • 3:30 pm, Sven Beckert (Harvard University), Olin Sang, 207. For more information please contact Dona DeLorenzo at

Friday, March 11, 2016

  • 2:00 pm, Angela Zito (New York University), Schwartz 103. For more information, please email Laurel Carpenter at

Angela Zito is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies, co-director of the Center for Religion and Media, and an Associate Faculty in Cinema Studies. Her research interests include cultural history/historical anthropology; critical theories of religion; religions of China; filaility in China; religion and media; history and anthropology of embodiment; gender; performance and subjectivity; documentary film. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

  • 3:30 pm, Jennifer Morgan (New York University), Olin Sang 207. For more information, please contact Dona DeLorenzo at