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.

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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.

Mandel Stairway (decorative photo)

GSAS/Mandel Career Fellows

Mandel is a proud sponsor of the GSAS Career Fellowship.  This fellowship gives GSAS students across all disciplines skills to help them prepare for careers in academia, non-profits, industry and beyond. The goal of the program is to foster a community of students committed to planning for their post-MA or PhD future. We also hope that fellows act as ambassadors who encourage a robust discussion on professional and career development in their departments.
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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!

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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

November 16, 2023

In the third episode of our Global Policing series, Elizabeth and John spoke back in 2020 with anthropologist Laurence Ralph about The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence. The book relates the decades-long history in which hundreds of people (mostly Black men) were tortured by the Chicago Police. Fascinatingly, it is framed as a series of open … Continue reading "117* Laurence Ralph Reckons With Police Violence (EF, JP)"

November 2, 2023

RTB listeners already know the inimitable Martin Puchner (Professor of English and Theater at Harvard, editor of more than one Norton Anthology,  and author of many prizewinning books) from that fabulous RTB episode about his “deep history” of literature and literacy, The Written World.  And you know his feelings about P. G. Wodehouse from his Books in Dark … Continue reading "116 “We are all latecomers”: Martin Puchner’s Culture (JP, EF)"

October 19, 2023

“My subject was not my inward self, but…the worlds within me.” John spoke in 2020 with Sanjay Krishnan, Boston University English professor and Conrad scholar. The topic? His marvelous new book about that grumpiest of Nobel laureates, V. S Naipaul’s Journeys. Krishnan sees the “Contrarian and unsentimental” Trinidad-born but globe-trotting novelist and essayist as early and brilliant at … Continue reading "115* Sanjay Krishnan on V. S. Naipaul: To make the Deformation the Formation (JP)"

October 5, 2023

John Guillory (NYU English author of the pathbreaking Cultural Capital) visits RTB to discuss Professing Criticism: Essays on the Organization of Literary Study (2022, Chicago). He speaks with John and with Nick Dames, co-editor of Public Books,  Professor of Humanities at Columbia and most recently author of The Chapter: A Segmented History from Antiquity to the … Continue reading "114 John Guillory Professes Criticism (JP, Nick Dames)"