Science: Social Science
Ruth Nanda Anshen, twentieth-century philosopher, lecturer, and author, was an “intellectual instigator” for such writers of genius and eminent thinkers as physicist Albert Einstein, scientist Jonas Salk, and others. Anshen created connections between the great thinkers of different fields, offering them opportunities to explain their work to each other and the general public.
Brilliant and controversial, Hannah Arendt was a German-trained political theorist whose books exerted a major impact on political theory in North America and Europe. The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) made her an intellectual celebrity in the early years of the Cold War. She was the first woman to become a full professor at Princeton University.
Cora Berliner was an economist and social scientist who held leadership positions in several major Jewish organizations in Germany between 1910 and 1942. These organizations included the Association of Jewish Youth Organizations in Germany, the Reich Representation of German Jews, and the League of Jewish Women.
Sociologist Jessie Bernard’s feminist epiphany came at age 67 in 1969, but her earlier work anticipated feminist theory by discussing the differences between men’s and women’s experiences and arguing that quantitative studies did not accurately represent women’s stories.
May Brodbeck, whose career in the sciences ran the gamut from teaching high school chemistry to exploring fundamental philosophical questions about the nature of human consciousness, was among the foremost American-born philosophers of science.
Ruth Leah Bunzel began her career as anthropologist Franz Boas’s secretary, soon becoming an accomplished anthropologist herself. She broke new ground in her research the relationship of artists to their work and on alcoholism in two villages in Guatemala and Mexico.
Sociologist Rose Laub Coser redefined major concepts in role theory—the idea that our actions are largely dictated by our roles in society—and applied them to expectations of women’s roles in the family and the workplace.
Ruby Daniel’s 1995 book, Ruby of Cochin: An Indian Jewish Woman Remembers, combines recounting of historical events with engaging storytelling. The book endures as a significant contribution to Jewish history and ethnography.
Ruth Lewis Farkas’ remarkable and varied career ranged from creating a retail chain that survived the Great Depression, to teaching sociology, to running international education initiatives. Her impressive and full life spanned many occupations: educator, sociologist, businesswoman, philanthropist, inventor, wife, and mother.
For half a century, Eleanor Glueck worked with her husband, a professor of criminology at Harvard Law School, to produce studies of juvenile delinquency and adult crime. In addition to statistical modeling of crime, they did follow-up studies to understand the roots of criminal behavior.
Although she never earned a degree in anthropology or taught a class, Esther Schiff Goldfrank made significant contributions to the field through her studies of communities as disparate as Pueblo Indians and New Yorkers.
Beth Bowman Hess was a feminist sociologist and gerontologist whose leadership, scholarship, teaching, service and mentoring were a model for many women. She brought a humanist and feminist sensibility to gerontology by discussing the difficulties the elderly faced not as problems inherent in older people, but as problems in the social order that should be confronted and changed.
American Jewish women have made important contributions to historical scholarship, especially in the arenas of social history of the United States and Europe, women’s history, and Jewish history. Jewish women, sensitive to the situations of minority groups, became pioneers in these fields as they developed from the 1970s on.
Distinguished historian Paula Hyman was engaged deeply in Jewish feminism and wrote extensively on the history of Jewish women in an effort to integrate their experience into the Jewish historical narrative. A role model for many, she challenged sacrosanct beliefs and stereotypes with vigor and knowledge and left behind a myriad of scholarly contributions and a profound vision for Jewish women.
Feminist sociologist and peace activist Dafna Nundi Izraeli spent her life dedicated to women's studies, a field of inquiry previously largely unrecognized and trivialized by Israeli academia. She was among the first researchers in Israel to point out the connection between the gender power structures in the Israel Defense Force and in Israeli civilian society. Through her academic and political leadership roles, she worked tirelessly for the advancement of feminist values and scholarship.
Marie Jahoda was a major figure in social psychology, known for her work on the effects of unemployment on emotional well-being, as well as the social impact of McCarthy-era blacklisting. Jahoda received an award for distinguished contributions to the public interest from the American Psychological Association in 1979.
Fay Berger Karpf made major contributions to social science with her analysis of the history of social psychology and specifically with her support of the psychoanalyst Otto Rank. She taught for many years and wrote several books about the profound influence Rankian theories had on American psychoanalysis.
Sara Landau was an accomplished twentieth-century economist who paired her scholarship with inexhaustible volunteerism in local and national organizations. Throughout her career in academia and service, Landau exemplified a category of economically independent middle-class Jewish women in America who both developed their own careers and devoted their energy to volunteer efforts, especially on behalf of their fellow Jews.