Director's Update

Dear Members of the WSRC Community,

On January 1st, 2021, my faculty colleague Harleen Singh will become the Director of the WSRC, and I will return to my other roles in the university, as my term with the WSRC comes to an end.  Harleen is a remarkable intellectual, a visionary, and the WSRC is very fortunate indeed that she will be bringing her collaborative spirit and exceptional talents to this role. It has been an honor to be a part of this work for three and a half years, and now I am eager to return to my fulltime pursuit of scholarship and teaching.   

Thanks to your generosity, your engagement, and in many cases, your extremely hard work, the Center has developed a more sustainable structure and looks to a robust future, with your continued support.  The pandemic has moved our programming and research to virtual platforms and our audiences have expanded. Because of your support and belief in what we are seeking to do, we are making possible a wealth of daring, imaginative, and forward-thinking arts and scholarship.  Here is a snapshot of who makes this possible: 

Scholars and artists maintain a passionate commitment to the WSRC, mounting breathtaking exhibits in the Kniznick Gallery, leading transformative research, mentoring students, and serving in key committee roles.

Individual donors sustain the WSRC, as members of our National Board of Advisors, and as annual contributors. Over the past two years, public and private grant makers, including the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Raikes Foundation, have joined their ranks. 

Brandeis faculty are now central to the WSRC.  In 2017, we had no Faculty Affiliates. Today, 28 faculty from across the university participate in WSRC, giving talks and co-leading scholarly projects.  Through the WSRC, they are helping to realize President Ron Liebowitz’s “One Brandeis” vision.

Both undergraduate and now graduate students deepen the teaching and learning practices of the WSRC by partnering with scholars and faculty in the Student Scholar Partnership program to conduct research across a panoply of subjects.

I am deeply indebted to the WSRC National Board of Advisors.  Led with caring and commitment by Rosalie Shane and Diane Rubin, they have helped me to navigate a complex set of challenges with candor, insight, and abiding generosity. Drawing on deep expertise, Board members spent the past 18 months leading a strategic planning process that gives the WSRC a leaner, more sustainable structure and a clear pathway to long-term success. 

None of this would have been possible without the work of my able and dedicated staff.  Much has been asked of them in these last few years, and they have risen to the challenge.  Together, they have been tireless, resourceful, creative, and strong.  I will miss my frequent contacts with them (but I am always ready for a virtual cup of coffee!).  

Let me close with this personal note.  Over the past three years, the WSRC has been home to the birth and emergence of the Cascading project, the most ambitious scholarly and collaborative work I have ever undertaken.  Since 2018, over thirty faculty, scholars and students in half a dozen disciplines from Brandeis and other institutions have joined me in studying the accelerating nature of downward mobility, and the many ways people cope, resist, rebound, or decline.  Multiple projects are in different stages of incubation, funders are stepping up to invest, and my colleagues and I find ourselves immersed in issues of race, gender, class, and precarity.  In this way, the WSRC has been, for me, what I hope it can be for generations of scholars to come:  an intellectual hearth for bold thinking, defiance of received wisdom, and intersectional, collaborative inquiry.

To each of you, I offer my thanks and best wishes. 

Karen V. Hansen

Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance

The WSRC is delighted to announce that WSRC Director Dr. Karen V. Hansen and her co-investigator, Dr. Nazli Kibria of Boston University, have been awarded the Voices for Economic Opportunity Grand Challenge Grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Raikes Foundation. Their proposal, Cascading Lives: Stories of Loss, Resilience, & Resistance, was selected from 1,225 submissions and is one of 28 organizations from 18 states. Please view video here.

Innovative Research Into Gender and Women’s Issues
Working in the arts, humanities, and social sciences and at their intersections, the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) researchers and artists focus on vexing questions related to gender dynamics and inequalities. To illuminate the past and present, via empirical evidence and transcendent insight, the WSRC aims to construct a path to a more equitable future.
The WSRC acts as a nexus of three dynamic, integrated programs that operate on principles of interdisciplinary exchange and cross-generational partnership:
Suffrage and Citizenship

As the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment approaches, the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, the Women’s Studies Research Center, and the Politics Department at Brandeis are celebrating women’s suffrage.

Covid-19 Response: What's Now, What's Next

All students, faculty and staff coming to the Brandeis campus must fill out a Daily Health Assessment before arriving, and sign up for mandatory high-frequency COVID-19 testing.  For complete information, visit Covid-19 Response: What's Now, What's Next website. Read our announcement about the Spring 2021 semester, which will start Feb. 1.