Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance

Video of Dr. Karen V. Hansen and Dr. Nazli Kibria introducing their project "Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance"

As one of the 28 grantees from the Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge Grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Raikes Foundation, Dr. Karen V. Hansen and her co-investigator Dr. Nazli Kibria of Boston University introduce their research project: "Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance"

Drs. Hansen and Kibria will work over the next year to gather and disseminate the life histories of people who have suffered economic decline. The project "Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance" includes a workshop for high school and college age students who will learn core techniques (interviewing skills, data analysis, sound editing, podcast production) to gather histories in their communities for publication via podcast and social media with the target audience of  high school teachers, legislators, and policy makers. This funded project has its origins in the Cascading Research Group which has been working and meeting at Brandeis as part of the Women's Studies Research Center since 2018.

The Cascading Research Group explores the process of falling from a particular status in ways that trigger additional declines.

Building on the success of our interdisciplinary Cascading workshop last year, the Cascading Research Group takes an intersectional lens to map the contours, causes, consequences and meanings of downward mobilities in the U.S., India, and other countries. The group reviews the gendered and racialized processes that affect women and men in this era of growing inequality, reinforced glass ceilings, diminished public safety net, enduring prejudice, and blocked opportunity. The term “Cascading” describes the process of falling from a particular social location in ways that precipitate additional declines – social, interpersonal, and aspirational, as well as financial (Hansen, Strand, and Leonard 2019). Given the complexity in these times of increasing precarity, we urgently need to understand the structural, intersectional, and interpersonal processes that can turn a shock into a cascade and what serves as a source of resilience.

Research Group Participants

Past Public Lectures