Kristin Waters (Philosophy) and Andrea L. Dottolo, professor of psychology at Rhode Island College, lectured at Brandeis University on “The Reinharz Revolution: Our Journeys in Feminist Research Methods” on March 16. The lecture was part of a year-long celebration of the work and legacy of Shulamit Reinharz, Jacob Potofsky professor of sociology and founding director of the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis, where Dottolo and Waters are resident scholars. The lecture focused on the influence of Reinharz’s book, “Feminist Methods in Social Research,” published 25 years ago.
The presenters recounted moments in the knowledge explosion that have taken place as a result of the women’s studies movement beginning in the 1960s that transformed research, scholarship, and teaching in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Waters and Dottolo cited ways that paradigms in liberal arts and science disciplines often entrench damaging racist, sexist, and classist ideas embedded in biological, medical, and social scientific fields (“scientific” racism and sexism). These problematic theoretical models were upended by cogent feminist and critical race critiques and by using feminist methodologies to create more objective science. By providing a comprehensive guide to a variety of methodological approaches, Reinharz’s book played an instrumental role in this ongoing transformation.