Culture & Identity

Sexism still permeates culture through the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes as well as misogynistic, negative and violent imagery in mass media. Perceptions of identity and gender roles are influenced, reflected and reinforced through myths, narratives and stories. Cultural cues about appropriate gender roles can have a negative and harmful impact by, for example, defining strength and rationalism as ”masculine” and submissiveness and emotionalism as ”feminine.” NCRW and its members are promoting awareness through research and critical analysis that uncover the tensions and assumptions involved in identity and gender roles.

Hadassah-Brandeis Institute

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute develops fresh ways of thinking about Jews and gender worldwide by producing and promoting scholarly research and artistic projects.

The world's only academic center of its kind, the HBI provides research resources and programs for scholars, students and the public. The Institute publishes books and a journal, convenes international conferences and local programming, and offers competitive grant and internship programs.


515 South Street
Waltham, MA 02454
Ph. (781) 736-2064
Fx. (781) 736-2078


Principal Staff

Shulamit Reinharz, Co-Director

Sylvia Barack Fishman, Co-Director

Debby Olins, Program Manager

Nancy Leonard, Office Coordinator

Amy Sessler Powell, Director of Communications

Featured Events

Employment Opportunities

Projects & Campaigns

The Project on Gender, Culture, Religion, and the Law (GCRL) was launched in February 2007 as part of the celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. The project is generously funded by a gift from the Dan Fischel and Sylvia Neil Philanthropic Fund.
The mission of the Project on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law is to support research and activism, which explores conflicts between women's claims to gender equality and legal norms justified in terms of religious and cultural traditions. Its location in the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, a leading research center on Jewish women's studies, shapes its unique approach to exploring these issues. The project supports research on the rights of women in Jewish law, both in Israel and the Diaspora. It also supports comparative work that examines the issues of women's rights under religious laws in inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural perspective.

Launched in February 2009, the mission of the HBI Project on Families, Children and the Holocaust is to introduce a new dimension to Holocaust studies – interdisciplinary research on the histories and representations of East European Jewish families and children from 1933 to the present. In particular, the project aims to explore the experience of childhood, motherhood and fatherhood in specific geographical locations and in a transnational context. The project also encourages methodological research and artistic expressions pertaining to adult and child survivors' accounts of their prewar, wartime and postwar lives.


Reports & Resources

614: The HBI EZINE

The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute (HBI) publishes and promotes a diverse range of works, from academic books and scholarly papers to popular prose and fiction and multimedia projects featuring some of today’s most prominent authors in the field of Jewish and gender studies. Topics covered in the HBI’s publications span the spectrum of Jewish women’s history and culture – from an in-depth exploration of women’s life in the Yishuv to contemporary trends of intermarriage in Jewish-American familial life, delving into the history of Jewish women in sports, to readings on Jewish women’s lives in Muslim societies, circulating the globe to examine pertinent issues and survey the oft-unexplored in Jewish women’s life.

The Reuben/Rifkin Jewish Women Writers Series

HBI Series on Jewish Women

Brandeis Series on Gender, Culture, Religion and the Law


Center News

Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships

Undergraduate Internship Program

-Participate in a 35 hour per week, Monday-Friday, internship program

-Produce, under staff supervision, an original piece of scholarly research or a creative and/or artistic project that focuses on Jewish gender issues

-Assist HBI-affiliated scholars and Brandeis offices with research and administrative tasks

-Learn about the daily operations of an academic research institute by occasionally assisting with administrative tasks

-Visit local institutions and organizations of Jewish interest

-Meet local community activists

-Live on the Brandeis campus in subsidized housing

-Receive a weekly stipend

Graduate Internship Program

Similar in structure to the undergraduate program, the graduate student interns also facilitate the research of HBI affiliated scholars while carrying out their own research projects. Graduate student interns interact closely with their supervisors, who act as their academic advisers. While not a requirement, the ideal candidates are working towards a degree in an area of study related to the supervisors’ expertise. All field trips and extracurricular activities are optional for the graduate student interns.


New Faculty Colloquium - The Effect of Acculturation and Racial Identity on the Body Image of African-American Women


New Faculty Colloquium - The Effect of Acculturation and Racial Identity on the Body Image of African-American Women

Dr. Germine Awad

Location: Gar 2.112

Expert Profile

United States
39° 44' 20.9544" N, 104° 59' 4.9308" W

Judith S. White is the executive director of Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), an educational non-profit that provides leadership and management training for women in higher education administration. The main offices of HERS are located on the campus of the University of Denver. Previously Dr. White was assistant vice president for campus services and adjunct professor of women’s studies at Duke University. She has taught and held administrative positions at Dartmouth College, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, and Queens College. Dr. White was a Senior Fellow of the Association of American Colleges and Universities from 2003-05, serving as an advisor to AAC&U’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Global Initiatives and the Project on the Status and Education of Women and as chair of the advisory board of Campus Women Lead. Judith attended Salem College before finishing her B.A. at Princeton University. She received her M.A.


Denver, CO
United States
39° 44' 20.9544" N, 104° 59' 4.9308" W

Queer the Census!

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has launched an innovative and important campaign called "Queer the Census" in response to the lack of data on LGBT people and families. Check out this video from NGTLF's Policy Institute Director Jaime Grant at Creating Change. Says Jaime, "We need data on on our communities!"

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Fat and Identity Politics, UCLA

UCLA Center for the Study of Women presents Paul Campos, author of "The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health." In this talk, he discusses efforts to make fat people thin, through weight-loss diets, drugs, and surgery. Campos sees weight as a political and social issue and notes that body size is often used as a tool of discrimination, especially against women. Organized by Prof Abigail Saguy, Department of Sociology at UCLA, this talk is part of the Gender and Body Size lecture series, which addresses the new interdisciplinary field of "fat studies." Recent discussions of body weight have been dominated by health policy concerns over the so-called obesity epidemic. Despite a long tradition of feminist critique of fat hatred as a problem of patriarchy, there has been very little critique of the growing emphasis on the importance of slenderness for health reasons.

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