Jodi O'Brien selected 2013-2015 Wismer Professor

March 13, 2013

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Jodi O'Brien has been selected the Wismer Professor for 2013-2015. Following is the full e-mail sent by William Ehmann, associate provost for research and graduate education, to announce O'Brien's selection.

Dear Colleagues: 

I'm pleased to announce that Dr. Jodi O'Brien, Chair and Professor, Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work, has been selected as the 2013-15 Wismer Professor for Gender and Diversity. A new Wismer Professor is selected every two years and is awarded release time from teaching to work on her or his research, scholarship, or artistic projects. The Wismer Professor also receives $3,000 in funding for research materials or travel to conferences and/or research sites. The current Wismer Professor, Dr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, will complete her term on June 30, 2013. 

Dr. O'Brien received her Ph.D. from University of Washington, and has been a faculty member at Seattle University since 1995. While at Seattle University, Dr. O'Brien has held several leadership positions, including membership on the University Rank and Tenure Committee (2012-present) and University Committee on Transgender Inclusion (2010-present), the Louis B. Gaffney Endowed Chair (2007-2009), College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Collegium Director (2004-2010), Director of Women Studies (1999-2002), and of course her current position as Chair of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work (2002-present). 

Having expertise in the areas of institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, and related forms of discrimination, Dr. O'Brien's publications include Social Prisms (1999), Everyday Inequalities (1999), and The Production of Reality (2010, 5th ed.). She is also a prolific author of articles featured in noted scholarly journals and co-edits the sociology hybrid magazine Contexts.

As the Wismer Professor, Dr. O'Brien's scholarship will focus on the development of a new book that will tie together several threads from her current teaching, scholarship, and activism work. The book, tentatively titled Beyond Tolerance: The Cultural Politics of Belonging, is organized around three central concepts: the paradox of perspective, the paradox of power, and epistemologies of contradiction.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. O'Brien as the next recipient of this special honor.


William J. Ehmann, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education