Meet the Director

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Shulamit Reinharz, Ph.D.

Shulamit Reinharz, Ph.D.

Shulamit Reinharz was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, grew up in New Jersey, received her B.A. in sociology from Barnard College (1967) and her Ph.D. from Brandeis University (1977). For ten years (1972-82) she was on the psychology faculty of the University of Michigan and then returned to Brandeis as a professor of sociology.

In the 1990s, Professor Reinharz was invited to direct the Brandeis Women’s Studies Program and introduced many innovations: the creation of the National Board for Women’s Studies at Brandeis; ten joint M.A. programs including the first and still only graduate degree program in Jewish Women’s Studies in the world; the Student/Scholar Partnership Program, offering paid research opportunities to undergraduates; the Scholars Program; a visiting professorship filled initially by Anita Hill; a program on the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children, and much more. At the same time, Reinharz also chaired Hadassah’s National Commission on American Jewish Women and four years later (1997), established the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI), which she heads to this day. The mission of the HBI is to develop fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide.

In 2001, Professor Reinharz opened the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center in a 10,000 square foot facility that she designed and for which she raised all the funds. The WSRC, whose tagline is “where research, art and activism converge,” houses The HBI and The Kniznick Gallery, one of the few galleries in the country devoted to work by and about women. In 2013, the National Council for Research on Women awarded Dr. Reinharz the “trailblazer award” for her pioneering work in research on women.

The holder of the Jacob Potofsky Chair of Sociology, Professor Reinharz has published 13 books, including On Becoming a Social Scientist (1979), Qualitative Gerontology (1984), Feminist Methods in Social Research (1992), American Jewish Women and the Zionist Enterprise (2005), The JGirl’s Guide (2005), Intermarriage around the World (2010), Observing the Observer (2011), One Hundred Years of Kibbutz Life: A Century of Crises and Reinvention (2012), Today I am a Woman (2012), and The JGuy’s Guide (2013). She is finishing an anthology about the relation between Jews and art in the 20th century, and a study of her father’s memoir detailing his experience in Holland during the Holocaust. 

A frequent lecturer and avid traveler, Shula is married to Jehuda Reinharz, former president of Brandeis University (1994-2011), is the mother of two daughters, and has two grandchildren.