Past Events

2020-21 Academic Year

2021 American Studies and Environmental Studies Majors Virtual Graduation Celebration

May 24, 2021

2021 American Studies and Environmental Studies Majors Graduation Virtual Celebration

11 a.m. Monday, May 24
Accessible recording now available above.

American Studies: An Alumni Panel

April 18, 2021


Meredith Bodgas, Lead Editor of Thought Leadership at Toptal

The former editor-in-chief of Working Mother, Bodgas spent a decade-and-a-half working for and writing for major publications such as The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Good Housekeeping and more. She has since become a sought-after corporate speaker on work/life and parenting, with clients including LinkedIn, McDonald's, Kellogg's, Colgate-Palmolive and PwC. Bodgas now interviews Fortune 500 C-suite leaders as host of the "Talent Economy Podcast" for Toptal, a 10-year-old tech company. She lives on Long Island, New York, with her husband and young sons and, as a one-time Brandeis a cappella performer, looks forward to the end of the pandemic so she can make her glorious return to Manhattan karaoke bars.

Michael Busnach, Associate Director of Enrollment Marketing at MGH Institute of Health Professions

Busnach is an experienced marketing professional passionate about empowering people to reach their full human potential. His entire career has been spent in organizations dedicated to education, including the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Cengage Learning, and several others. Michael is an avid cyclist and regular rider in the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC), an annual bike-a-thon that crosses Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Busnach holds a BA in American studies from Brandeis University, an MA in American studies from the University of Maryland, and a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from William James College.

Julia Crantz, Business Development Manager at AARP Services, Inc.

Crantz serves as a manager on the Business Development team for AARP Services Inc. (ASI) with responsibility for identifying and on-boarding commercial opportunities with third parties supporting AARP lines of business and strategic initiatives. She came to ASI from the Tikkun Olam Women's Foundation of Greater Washington (TOWF), where she led the organization as its executive director. Before TOWF, Crantz served the AJC Washington team as its assistant director of development, bringing a rich background in communications, marketing and relationship building to the organization. In previous roles, she wore multiple hats while working at established brands such as National Geographic and Discovery. Crantz is a fourth-generation Washingtonian who spent her college years in the Boston area, where she graduated cum laude from Brandeis University with a major in American studies and a concentration in film studies.

Alison Kibler, American Studies Professor at Franklin and Marshall College

With a BA in American Studies from Brandeis and an MA and PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa, Kibler has been teaching and writing in academia for 25 years. Her first tenure-track job was at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, then she moved to Australia for six years, and returned to a tenure-track position at Franklin and Marshall College in 2002. She has written books about the history of American popular entertainment, with a particular focus on social protest and American law. Her most recent book is "Censoring Racial Ridicule: Irish, Jewish and African American Struggles Over Race and Representation, 1890-1930" (UNC Press, 2015). Now she is writing about feminist television activism in the 1970s. As part of that work, she's been reading more about civil rights and the feminist scholar Pauli Murray, including her formative time in American Studies at Brandeis.

Marc Tyler Nobleman, Award-winning Author and Pop Culture Archaeologist

Nobleman is the award-winning author of books, including "Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman," which changed history, inspiring the unprecedented feature documentary "Batman & Bill." He keynotes at conferences and speaks at schools and other venues around the world. Twitter: @MarcTNobleman. Instagram: @MTNobleman.

Kaitlyn Sever, JD Candidate at USC Gould School of Law

After graduating from Brandeis University in 2016, Sever moved to sunny Los Angeles and was initially unsure of her next professional steps. Through the direction and guidance of a recruiter, she found her place at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP as a conflicts analyst. She absolutely loved her time there and decided to pivot her career trajectory from pursuing Native American law to practicing in the corporate sector. She is currently finishing her first year of law school at USC Gould and has secured a summer position as an international arbitration and litigation intern at P Miller Legal Services.

2019-20 Academic Year

I Just Had to Be There: Experiences of Indigenous Students in the #NoDAPL Movement

February 7, 2020

Adrienne J. Keene, Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University

Sponsored by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Colloquia Series and the Brandeis Anthropology Research Seminar

Adrienne Keene is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. Her research areas include college access, transition, and persistence for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Students, including the role of pre-college access programs in student success. Additionally, she examines representations of Native peoples in popular culture, Native cultural appropriation in fashion and design, and the ways that Indigenous peoples are using the internet, social media, and new media to challenge misrepresentations and create new and innovative spaces for art and activism. She is the longtime author of the blog Native Appropriations (, and the co-host of the podcast All My Relations.

Native American Doctor:  or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Prior

November 22, 2019

Eli Nelson (Mohawk) is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at Williams College and the Director of Fellowships at the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. His current book manuscript, Sovereign Knowledge: Indigenous and Settler Sciences in the United States Empire, traces the history of Indigenous scientific knowledge production across different national histories and disciplines in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to the history of Native science, Nelson works on critical Indigenous theory, as well as Indigenous science fiction and futurism, and gender and sexuality.

Workshop:  Director Sam Weisman of Family Ties

November 21, 2019

Director Sam Weisman workshopped an episode of Family Ties (NBC, 1982-89), the smash sitcom for which he directed 62 episodes.

To Serve Metaphor: Revisiting a Classic Twilight Zone Episode 10-2

October 23, 2019

“To Serve Man” is one of the most celebrated and discussed episodes of Rod Serling’s iconic American television series, and has generally been read as a commentary on both Cold War tensions and human gullibility. While not disagreeing with the substance of such interpretations, this talk will make the case that they nevertheless tend to miss out on certain key issues that are “hiding in plain sight” as it were—specifically issues pertaining to gender and sexuality.  Accordingly, this presentation will work toward finding new ways to parse the episode and thereby add to potential understandings of its multiple meanings.

Adam Knee is Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Media & Creative Industries at Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts.  Prior to this, he held appointments at University of Nottingham Ningbo China (where he was Head of the School of International Communications and Professor of Film and Media Studies), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and Ohio University (USA).  He has research interests in American and Southeast Asian popular cinemas.

How Invasive Advertising Weaponizes the Internet

October 22, 2019

Walter Mossberg is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers on information technology.  In 2004, in a lengthy profile, Wired called him "The Kingmaker," saying "few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry's successes and failures."  The Washington Post declared Mr. Mossberg "one of the most powerful men in the high-tech world" and "a one-man media empire whose prose can launch a new product."  The New York Times calls him a "protean critic of the new economy's tools and toys."  He is also a former trustee of Brandeis University.

2018-19 Academic Year

'Carl Laemmle' Viewing and Q&A With Professor Thomas Doherty

May 15, 2019

Watch the Massachusetts premiere of director James L. Freedman's acclaimed documentary "Carl Laemmle," followed by a Q&A with American Studies Professor Thomas Doherty, author of "Hollywood and Hitler: 1933-1939." A pioneering mogul of early cinema, Laemmle, a German émigré, was the founder of Universal Pictures who dedicated his personal fortune to rescuing more than 300 Jewish families from Nazi Germany.

'The Mortal Storm': Viewing and Q&A With Professor Thomas Doherty

May 7, 2019

Watch the New England premiere of the newly restored 1940 drama film "The Mortal Storm," followed by a Q&A with American Studies Professor Thomas Doherty, author of "Hollywood and Hitler: 1933-1939." Directed by Frank Borzage and starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan, "The Mortal Storm" was MGM’s first anti-Nazi film and one of only two films made in Hollywood during World War II that explicitly identifies Jews as victims of Nazism.

Hollywood and the French Resistance: The Paramount Theater During the Nazi Occupation of Paris

April 16, 2019

Ross Melnick ’96, associate professor of film and media studies at UC Santa Barbara, discusses his book “Hollywood and the French Resistance,” which examines the history of why and how Hollywood began operating cinemas around the world—from Sao Paulo to Sydney—and how Le Paramount became first a symbol of that cultural and industrial expansion after World War I and then a monument to the work of Hollywood’s (ex-)employees during World War II.

When the Land Speaks: Exploring the Dynamic Relationship Between Land, People and Nature Through the Eyes of the Native Americans of New England

April 1, 2019

With Larry Spotted Crow Mann, a member of the Nipmuc Tribe of Massachusetts and an award-winning writer, poet, cultural educator, storyteller, and drummer/dancer. Mann is a frequent public speaker on topics including Native American sovereignty, identity, youth sobriety, and cultural and environmental awareness. He is the author of several books, including "Tales From the Whispering Basket" (CreateSpace, 2011), "The Mourning Road to Thanksgiving" (CreateSpace, 2016) and "Drumming and Dreaming" (CreateSpace, 2017). Part of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Colloquia Series.

The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea

March 19, 2019

Jack Davis, PhD’94, will discuss his 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea" (Liveright, 2017), an important environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico that brings crucial attention to Earth’s 10th-largest body of water.

The Water Is Life Movement: Standing Rock in Social Justice and Spiritual Context

February 6, 2019

Researcher, writer, educator and producer Jennifer Weston will discuss the Great Sioux Nation's efforts to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and South Dakota. Weston is director of the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project, language department director for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and associate lecturer of women's and gender studies at UMass Boston. Her talk is part of the American studies department's Native American and Indigenous Studies Colloquia Series.

Decolonizing Traditions: Native Hawaiian Women and the Question of Feminism

November 9, 2018

With J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, professor of American studies and anthropology at Wesleyan University. Part of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Colloquium Series, sponsored by the departments of anthropology and American studies.

Partnerships and Educational Collaborations

October 24, 2018

Part of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Colloquium Series, sponsored by the departments of anthropology and American studies.

American Jewish Feminism and Israeli Feminism: Launching a Trans-National Archive

October 18, 2018

A panel discussion to celebrate the launch of the Brandeis/Haifa Feminist Collaborative, a joint project of Brandeis Library's Archives & Special Collections Department and the Haifa Feminist Center (Isha L'Isha). Panelists include Joyce Antler, Samuel Lane Professor Emerita of American Jewish History; Marcia Freedman, American-Israeli activist and feminist; Hannah Safran, co-founder, Haifa Feminist Institute; and Surela Seelig, outreach and special projects archivist, Brandeis University. Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Shulamit Reinharz Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, will serve as moderator.

Cornel West and Robert George

Cornel West, left, and Robert George

Liberal Learning: Open Minds and Open Debate with Cornel West and Robert George

October 17, 2018

What happened to civil, public discourse in America? That's a question that leading intellectuals Cornel West and Robert George are attempting to answer as they tour the country to debate one another on critical issues. West, a liberal-minded thinker who is now a philosophy professor at Harvard University, and George, a conservative legal scholar and research fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, are close friends who have made an art form of agreeing to disagree.

watch video from the event

Screening of 'Dawnland'

October 8, 2018

"Dawnland" tells the story of first state and tribal government-sanctioned Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States, set up in 2012 in Maine, to gather testimony from Wabanaki people and state child welfare workers. Part of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Colloquium Series, sponsored by the departments of anthropology and American studies.

2017-18 Academic Year

Kiss of the Spider Woman

March 12, 2018

The American studies program hosts a screening of "Kiss of the Spider Woman" in 35mm.  Co-sponsored by the Latin American and Latino studies program and the department of romance studies, and made possible by the generosity of David Weisman, Sam Weisman and the Motion Picture Division of the Library of Congress.

January 24, 2018

American studies graduate Michael Weller ’65, recipient of the 2017 Brandeis Creative Arts Award, sits down for a Q&A with Professor Michael Doherty to discuss his remarkable body of work. While a student at Brandeis, Weller studied music composition and began writing plays. In addition to writing, he is passionate about social causes related to playwrights. Weller is one of the founders of the Cherry Lane Theatre's acclaimed Mentor Project, which pairs preeminent playwrights with emerging playwrights for a seasonlong mentorship. He is also active in the Dramatists Guild of America. He is now a faculty member at The New School for Drama in New York.

Podcasts, Digital Media and Careers in History

November 7, 2017

American studies and the history department welcome Liz Covart, an historian of early America, digital projects editor at the Omohundro Institute and host of "Ben Franklin's World: A Podcast About Early American History. She will discuss how she practices scholarly history, public history and digital humanities and communicates it to a large, public audience.

Is This American Cuisine?

October 25, 2017

The American studies and journalism programs host a Meet the Majors/Minors event, featuring Mediterranean food, a presentation by American studies majors Abby Patkin, Anna Stern and Katie Decker-Jacoby and journalism minor Eva Spitzen, and a lively discussion on food and American culture.

Richard Nixon: The Life — A Talk With John Farrell

October 17, 2017

Acclaimed author and journalist John A. Farrell discusses his new book, "Richard Nixon: The Life" (Doubleday) — a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in biography — which sheds new light on the 37th president's handling of the Vietnam War. Farrell's lecture is exceptionally relevant in the age of Trump.