Faculty, graduate students and undergraduates in the Social Sciences Division conduct research on a wide range of questions and problems. In our fieldsites, labs, archives and classrooms we engage with historical and contemporary issues around the globe ranging from cultural diversity and identity to health policy to immigration to aging. We utilize multiple research methods striving to learn with and from one another and with those we meet in the process. Faculty research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, John Templeton Foundation and more.
Current faculty-led research projects include:
Shameel Ahmad is an economic historian with interests in the fields of demography, development and international trade research. His current research includes population statistics and market efficiency in late 19th century India, as well as weather and vital rates during the Madras Presidency in India.
Patricia Alvarez Astacio is an anthropologist and filmmaker whose scholarly research and creative practices develops in the folds between ethnography, critical theory, and the documentary arts. Her more recent works converge on issues of gender and ethnic representation in neoliberal, post-authoritarian Peru.
Please visit Elizabeth Brainerd's website for information on her research.
The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab brings chaplaincy leaders, theological educators, clinical educators, and social scientists into a research-based conversation about the state of chaplaincy and spiritual care. Driving our work are questions about how, in the midst of changes in the American religious landscape, spiritual caregivers can do their best work.
The Walden Woods Interactive Mapping Project seeks to explore questions of past and present land use through an interactive GIS map of land-ownership history around Walden Pond. It is part of the Suburban Ecology Project, which involves students with research of the ecology, history, and stewardship of suburban ecosystems.
Elizabeth Ferry is an anthropologist with interests in value, materiality, mining, and finance, and with fieldwork emphases in Mexico, Colombia, and the United States. She has written on silver mining and patrimony in Guanajuato, Mexico, the making of value with mineral specimens, small-scale gold mining in Colombia, resources and temporalities, and cooperatives.
Lotus Goldberg is a linguist whose current research includes the development of two linguistic corpora, along with theoretical syntactic work on Verb-Stranding VP Ellipsis and the identity constraints involved in ellipsis cross-linguistically.
Lucy Goodhart is a political economist studying comparative and international political economy, looking at why governments protect declining industries and how political parties in a coalition govern together. Her most recent research analyzes the variation in voting and preferences across “Red” and “Blue” states.
This project asks how legislation that sanctions medically assisted deaths in several U.S. states is transforming the ways North Americans view and manage the process of dying. Through in-depth ethnographic work with patients, caregivers, physicians, pharmacists, legislators, activists, and religious figures, the research interrogates and documents the emergent frontiers created by assisted dying laws. In scrutinizing contemporary ideas about human dignity, rationality, and self-determination, my work aims to enrich scholarly and public conversations on end-of-life care, the body, and the state.
Visit Anita Hannig's website for more information on this project and other research.
The Jadhav Lab integrates behavior, electrophysiology, optogenetics and computational analysis to investigate the neural basis of learning, memory and decision making in the mammalian brain. The lab is interested in understanding the neural basis of these cognitive abilities by studying processing at the cellular and network level in neuronal circuits of the rodent brain.
The Katz Lab is an academic research lab at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, USA. We study the neural ensemble dynamics of sensori-motor processes in awake rodents, combining behavior, multi-neuronal electrophysiology, complex analysis and modeling, pharmacology and optogenetics to probe ongoing spiking activity in real-time.
The Western Jihadism Project uses data from a multitude of sources to create a relational database illustrating the connections between people involved in domestic Islamist extremism. The goal is to facilitate study and informed debate about how terrorist organizations take root, develop, and can be countered.
Jean-Paul L’Huillier is an economist with interests in macroeconomics and experimental economics. His research focuses on the implications of information frictions for Monetary Economics and Business Cycles using both theoretical and empirical approaches.
The Lifespan Developmental Psychology Laboratory studies the aging process across the adult lifespan in an effort to promote physical, psychological, and neurological health and to ease the effects of aging.
Jeffrey Lenowitz is a political theorist whose research interests are democratic theory, constitutional design, jurisprudence, history of political thought, legitimacy, political obligation, and punishment. His current research focuses on the assumptions, normative consequences, and origins of various institutional design and decision-making procedures.
Mary Meeter is a computational linguist studying speech recognition and natural language processing with a broad background in interactive dialog systems, analytics in healthcare and call centers, and core speech recognition performance.
This research focuses the economic impact of digitization, specifically the impact on optimal pricing, supplier coordination, and resale.
Visit Benjamin Shiller's website for more information on this and other research.
Amber Spry is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and the Department of African and Afro American Studies. Her research and teaching address the dynamics of political attitudes and behaviors in United States politics. Specifically, Amber is interested in political behavior, identity, race and ethnic politics, political psychology, and survey design methods.
Michael Strand is a sociologist whose research and teaching interests are broadly concerned with social theory, culture and morality. His current research examines social justice as a historical entity rather than a philosophical, moral or legal ideal.
The public mapping project Mexico (PMP-Mexico) seeks to create a public space where anyone can participate freely in the redistricting process at the federal and local level. Through a digital platform that can be hosted by the electoral authority, a nongovernmental organization, or academic institutions, citizens can have access to the information related to the redistricting process (standards, stages, concepts, indicators), they can draw their own districts, evaluate the current scenarios, compare proposed plans offered by different actors (electoral bureaucrats, courts, parties or other citizens), and make their suggestions to the electoral authority. The project looks to enrich the democratic life in Mexico by shrinking the gap between its citizens, its representatives, and the institutions in which they coexist.
See Alejandro Trelles' website for more information.
Gowri Vijayakumar is a sociologist specializing in the sociology of gender & sexuality, development, labor, and transnational social movements. She is currently working on a book manuscript which traces the transnational circulation of HIV/AIDS programs and the struggles among activists, donors, and state officials that made up India’s HIV/AIDS response.