Partnership List

Spring 2020

A Small Scientific Commune: The Legacy of C2, Brandeis' First Women Professor of Biology, 1920-2017
  • Pnina Abir-Am, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Elizabeth Sangiorgio, Student

This project explores the internationally renowned career of Carolyn Cohen, (widely known as C2) the first woman professor of Biology at Brandeis University. She pioneered the structural study of muscle proteins by X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, among other technologies; created a research community which grew from three founders to 40 scientists; served as a role model for generations of men and women scientists; and became a spokesperson for the rights of women scientists to gender equality in and out of science. The project capitalizes on C2's Personal Papers at Brandeis University Archives which the Scholar helped organize for conservation; (see essay by The Justice, 12-6-18 on a talk the Scholar gave at WSRC on C2's career) so as to conduct archival research and oral history with C2's colleagues and mentees at and beyond Brandeis. The plan is that the Student will serve as co-author of an essay for journals in the history of science & WGS.


woman and student looking at papers
The Heroine’s Journey and Beyond: Envisioning and Supporting Sustaining Life Narratives
  • Nancer Ballard, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Savannah Jackson, Student

The Heroine’s Journeys and Beyond project identifies and articulates post-gendered life arcs that encompass features of both The Hero and The Heroine Journeys and values struggle as much as achievement and ongoing/ incomplete journeys as much as the reaching of destinations. The project includes an enduring short-form multi-media website-blog platform that has received more than 98,000 views from visitors in over ninety countries. See

"Eco-feminist Futures", Edited Volume
  • K. Melchor Hall, WSRC Visiting Scholar

  • Dannie Brice, Student

This book project is a fresh and nuanced look at ecofeminist possibilities where contributors challenge conventional separations between theory and practice, feminism and womanism, teaching and learning, global and local, humanity and nature, and personal and structural. In working with this project, the student would have the opportunity to suggest individuals (and possibly groups) who represent the best of ecofeminism (or ecowomanism) practice for book vignettes. Also, the student would participate in researching the opening chapter that will frame the cutting-edge anthology.

Two women seated at computer smiling
"Open your Eyes and Ears"
  • Ruth Nemzoff, Resident Scholar

  • Eliana Padwa, Student 

We will write advice columns on Jewish life from multi-generational perspectives. We will also work on a project on how to talk about feminism and Zionism. In addition, we collaborate via email and social media for professional purposes.

Women and Children First: The Remarkable Life of Dr. Susan Dimock (1847-1875)”
  • Susan Wilson, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Megan Catalano, Student

Description: Though her name lives on in Roxbury's Dimock Street and in the Dimock Center that still straddles that road, Susan Dimock's (1847-75) important story has been essentially unknown in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. To her contemporaries in Boston of the 1870s, however, she was known as a strong, selfless pioneer in American medicine — among the first group of physicians to provide professional health care by, and for, women, and one of the finest, most respected surgeons (male or female) in Massachusetts. I am working on the first full-length biography of her life.

National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine: C-Change Research Project”
  • Linda Pololi, Resident Scholar, Senior Scientist, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Kacy Ninteau, Student

Description: The National Initiative on Gender, Culture and Leadership in Medicine& — known as “C-Change” for culture change — is seeking an intern to help prepare and evaluate a Mentoring and Leadership program at Brandeis for medical school faculty. The student will be supporting C-Change research projects including the Mentoring and Leadership Institute.

Pre-College Sexual Education: Undergraduates Rate Their Experiences
  • Phoebe Schnitzer, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Elaina Pevide, Student

Description: In the current survey, undergraduates at UMass Lowell shared their experiences with pre-college sex education and their recommendations for future sex ed curricula.Our data revealed compelling gender differences, conveying young women's notable dissatisfaction . Their comments have led us to consider the proposals of feminist writers on sex education, as a context for understanding these critiques and proposing changes for future programs.  

Contemporary Paganism and the Alt-Right
  • Helen Berger, WSRC Resident Scholar

  • Evan Robins, Student

This project is an examination of the response of the majority of contemporary Pagans, who are politically liberal, feminists, and environmentalists, to a subset within their religion that is helping to populate and provide symbols and rituals to the alt-right. Reviewing online forums, websites, and newsletters, we will monitor and categorize the responses of non-alt right Pagans to those who are alt-right. We will also research academic and news stories about the alt-right.  

The paper that I presented, and the book project I am working on as a result are part of my larger research agenda on the link between the alt-right, white identity politics, and one very small, but verbal and politically active, branch of contemporary Paganism that is helping populate and provide images and rituals for the alt-right.  My research focuses on the activities of the alt-right, its use of Heathen symbols and images, and the responses of contemporary Pagans in the United States.

Eco-Feminism and Climate Justice: Designing a new WGS Course
  • Sabine von Mering, WSRC Affiliated Faculty

  • Phoebe Dolan, Student

Paul Hawken's "Drawdown" team counts women's and girls' education as one of the top ten most cost-effective ways to address climate change. Women are also named as part of "frontline communities" as facing a higher risk of suffering under the consequences of climate change. The concept of ecofeminism has been around for decades, but these new developments demand that we find new ways of teaching it--in this project we want to compile a new 'Ecofeminism and Climate Justice' course for WGS that includes readings reflecting women's voices from around the world.


Cascading Research Group: Graduate SSP's
Building on the success of the interdisciplinary Cascading Workshop last year, the WSRC is sponsoring
the Cascading Research Group, 2019-2020. The CRG acts as a forum to present work-in-progress and
exchange ideas about empirical projects. Brandeis faculty and WSRC Scholars work with graduate
student SSPs to explore the literature, research design, and findings.
Cascading Research Group: Cascading and Resilience through the Prism of Intersectionality
  • Karen V. Hansen,  Director of the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center and Professor of Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

  • Samantha Leonard, Graduate Student


Defining cascading as the process of falling from a particular social location in ways that precipitate additional declines, the project asks: what are the social, structural, and familial conditions that accelerate or minimize this widespread and poorly understood phenomenon? How do kinship, social networks, race and gender, employment status, and access to public resources, for example, act as mediating forces in the onset, duration, or prevention of cascades? This project maps the networks and processes that can either turn a triggering event into a plunging spiral or activate a set of economic and social responses that foster resistance and resilience.

Cascading Research Group: The Relationship to Wealth and Health Inequities: Addressing the Needs of Women of Color and Their Children
  •  Tatjana Meschede, Senior Scientist and Senior Lecturer, Heller School for Social Policy and Management
  • Laurie Nsiah-Jefferson, Visiting Associate Professor UMass Boston; Visiting Scholar, Heller School  for Social Policy and Management
  • Gabrielle Hibbert, Graduate Student

Description:   This study will examine the reciprocal relationship between wealth and health for women of color and impacts on the well-being of their children. Central to this research will be the exploration of the role of gendered racism on the relationship between maternal health disparities and wealth disparities among women of color in their reproductive age group, and their impacts on the well-being of their children ages 0-18. We propose gendered racism as an intervening variable, explicitly underscoring the role of a specific type of racism that partially drives inequality in America, and may exacerbate the relationship between health and wealth inequities. 

Cascading Research Group: Gender and Agrarian Distress in India: Cascading in Rural India
  •  Smriti Rao, Associate Professor of Economics and Global Studies, Assumption College; WSRC Scholar
  • Cynthia Kipkorir, Graduate Student
Description:   This project seeks to evaluate i) the extent and nature of agrarian distress in India in the last decade; ii) The gendered impact of this agrarian distress; iii) the most useful empirical measures of agrarian distress that could be used in future research. India's liberalization process involved changes in the extent of government support for agriculture from price controls and input subsidies, to trade protection. Combined with larger shifts in global markets, this shift in policy led to a slowdown in agricultural output, yield, and employment growth. Numerous field studies pointed to rising indebtedness and losses in income for marginal farmers with un-irrigated farmland in particular. The tragic phenomenon of farmer's suicides did bring some public attention to agrarian distress, at least in part contributing to the development of India's rural employment guarantee scheme, which was designed to provide a safety net to rural agricultural workers. Since the mid 2000s there has been an increase in overall agricultural growth, measured in terms of agricultural output. However, there are sharp regional differences in the extent of recovery, and a continuing, perhaps even accelerating, decline in agricultural employment.