The Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University is a hub of interdisciplinary exchange between scholars and artists, faculty and students, who conduct innovative research and create art with a focus on gender issues and women’s lives. Unique in its breadth of projects, the WSRC is part of a newly established national network of university-affiliated gender research institutes. As a convening space at the edge of campus, the center supports interdisciplinary dialogue, research and art, and shares insights and discoveries with the university and the larger public.
The WSRC, currently headed by Harleen Singh, associate professor of Literature, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. It is the home of:
- The Scholars Program, a program comprised of scholars studying gender issues in an interdisciplinary environment.
- The Student-Scholar Partnership Program, which pairs Brandeis University undergraduate students with WSRC scholars for semester-long research assistantships.
- The Arts Program, which oversees the Kniznick Gallery, devoted to the artwork by or about women, and the permanent art collection as well as scholarly art projects at the WSRC.
Throughout the year, members of Brandeis WSRC Scholars Program present their work through events such as receptions, book launches, film screenings, lectures, panels, performances and concerts that are open to the public.
WSRC Research Projects
Directed by Susan Eisenberg, the On Equal Terms Project draws on research, art and personal testimony to analyze, convey and address equity issues for women in historically male occupations, examining how embedded discrimination can undermine inclusion efforts.
The goal of the Feminist Sexual Ethics Project is to provide religious communities and society at large with the knowledge and framework needed to recognize and acknowledge past collaboration in slavery; to engage in restorative justice for slavery; and to create sexual ethics untainted by slave-holding values.
Members of the WSRC Community Respond to Supreme Court Ruling of Roe v. Wade
On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court unilaterally overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade (1973), eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, with far-reaching consequences for other fundamental rights — from contraception to same-sex relationships and marriage. Justice Clarence Thomas, against whom Professor Anita Hill testified for sexual harassment in 1991, has threatened to challenge specific decisions based on the right to privacy such as Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Lawrence v. Texas (2003), and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). It is a proposed undoing of the empowered, fulfilled lives that we desire for all individuals.
While we braced for this decision following the leaked opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson, a profound sense of horror, rage, grief and fear has sunk in across generations. We are not surprised, but our emotions are raw. Pauli Murray, the indomitable feminist, civil rights lawyer, activist, and a professor at Brandeis University from 1968 to 1973, pinpointed precisely what lies at the heart of inequality, “If you rip away everything, the business of oppression is the business of not respecting one’s personhood.” We are painfully aware that this recent decision, which is another manifestation of gender-based violence in legal guise, will disproportionately impact people of color and marginalized communities, and will fundamentally reset the metric of activism and rights in this country.
This is certainly a setback, but it is not defeat. We are determined as ever to fight for reproductive justice —the basic human right to maintain sovereignty over our bodies, sexuality, and gender. We will continue to center intersectional approaches to reproductive justice in our classrooms and programming, organize outside the academy with grassroots organizations and activists, and nurture a community of support and affirmation. In the coming academic year, the WGS department and the WSRC will frame a series of events, panels, and talks focused on reproductive justice. As teachers, who once taught Roe v. Wade as a part of the history of women’s, gender, and sexualities studies, we now face its reversal resolute and determined, taking to heart Pauli Murray’s advice for times like these: “Surrender to none, the fire of your soul.”
Signed by members of the WSRC community,
Harleen Singh, Director, WSRC
Stephanie Lawrence, Assistant Director, WSRC
Abby Rosenberg, WSRC Librarian
Kristen Mullin, Program Administrator, WSRC
Margaret Morganroth Gullette
Anita Wyzanski Robboy
Rachel Joffe Falmagne