Humanists at Work


As a supplement to our Humanists at Work events series, the Mandel Center for the Humanities supports projects at Brandeis where humanistic study interfaces with communities beyond the university, and where students, faculty, artists and practitioners collaborate across the boundaries of discipline and profession.

a poster with words explaining logistics of the event

What Could a Dissertation Be?

Fall 2022

For a video of the event click here

PhD dissertations in the humanities and social sciences have traditionally been scholarly proto-monographs. However, increasing numbers of PhD students are exploring alternative formats for communicating their research — formats such as a series of articles, graphic novels, films, public-facing blogs, apps and podcasts. Graduate departments are increasingly supporting these new forms, as are the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Mellon Foundation. In this seminar, current Brandeis PhD students Nai Kim (English) and Yi He (English) joined Anna Williams (Assistant Lecturer and Co-Director of the Writing Center, Birmingham-Southern College) and Iván González-Soto (PhD Candidate, UC Merced) to discuss the benefits and challenges of non-traditional dissertations.

poster with words

GSAS/Mandel Career Diversity Skills Grants for PhD Students

Fall 2021

In Fall 2021 the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Mandel Center for the Humanities piloted a new program that funded 10 PhD students from a range of departments to take a 10-week transferrable skills course at the Rabb School of Continuing Studies. The courses were intended to complement PhD training, offer skills, and widen career options for graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Read more about the success of this innovative program here!

image with flower and text

Recall this Book Podcast

Recall this Book is a podcast hosted by John Plotz and Elizabeth Ferry that seeks to shed light on pressing contemporary topics with a backwards or sometimes sideways look: each episode draws on a book or books from the past or an unexpected quarter to look at a current topic in a new way. Featuring interviews with writers talking about their own books, or scholars talking about the books that are helping them navigate best the world in which we live, these lively discussions hash out difficult present-day issues.

New From Recall This Book

May 4, 2023

Steve Fainaru and his brother Mark Fainaru-Wada wrote a bestselling and award-winning book (and accompanying PBS documentary series) about the NFL coverup of concussion trauma, League of Denial. This conversation inaugurates an occasional Recall this Book series on collaborative work: who does it well, what makes it succeed, why can’t grumpy isolatos like English professors … Continue reading "104 Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada: Journalistic Collaboration (JP)"

April 20, 2023

For the RtB Books in Dark Times series back in 2021, John spoke with Elizabeth Bradfied, editor of Broadsided Press, poet, professor of creative writing at Brandeis, naturalist, photographer. Her books include Interpretive Work, Approaching Ice, Once Removed, and Toward Antarctica. She lives on Cape Cod, travels north every summer to guide people into Arctic climes, birdwatches. Liz is in and of and for our whole natural world. … Continue reading "103* Elizabeth Bradfield in Dark Times (JP)"

April 6, 2023

“For me, there is something so solid and comforting in stone” says Sassan Tabatabai in our conversation, and in his poem “Firestones” the words roll, weigh and satisfyingly click together. “Firestones” I was collecting rocks on the Cardiff coast, a testimony to centuries of silt left on the shore, of sediment pressed into stone: sandstone, … Continue reading "102 Sassan Tabatabai: poetry, observation, and form (EF, JP)"

March 9, 2023

On a blustery fall morning back in 2019, RTB welcomed Christine Walley, anthropologist and author of Exit Zero: Family and Class in Postindustrial Chicago. In the early 1980s Chris’s father, along with thousands of other steel workers, lost his job when the mills in Southeastern Chicago closed. The book is part of a multimodal project, including the … Continue reading "101* Chris Walley on Deindustrialization (EF, JP)"