Susan Sered, PhD
Department of Sociology
Office: 73 Tremont St., Rm. 567
- PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- MA, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- BA, University of Chicago
Office Hours Spring 2015
- Women’s health
- Illness and healing
- Anthropology of religion
- Gender and religion
- Criminalized women
2006-present, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Suffolk University
2004-2006, Senior Research Associate, Center for Women’s Health and Human Rights, Suffolk University
2000-2004, Research Director, ‘Religion, Health, and Healing’ Research Initiative, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University
1986‑2002, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Bar‑Ilan University, Israel.
2012 (with Maureen Norton-Hawk) “Criminalized Women and Twelve Step Programs: Addressing Violations of the Law with a Spiritual Cure,” Implicit Religion.
2011 (with Maureen Norton-Hawk) “Mothering in the Shadow of the United States Correctional System,” in Michelle Walks and Naomi McPherson, eds., Mothering: Anthropological Perspectives. Toronto, Ontario: Demeter Press. Pp. 293-306.
2011 (with Maureen Norton-Hawk) “Gender Overdetermination and Resistance: The Case of Criminalized Women,” Feminist Theory 12 (3): 317-333.
2011 (with Maureen Norton-Hawk) “Whose Higher Power: Criminalized Women Confront the Twelve Steps,” Feminist Criminology 6 (4): 308-322.
2011 (with Marilyn Delle Donne Proulx) “Lessons for Women's Health from the Massachusetts Reform: Affordability, Transitions and Choice,” Women’s Health Issues 21(1): 1-5.
2008 (with Amy Agigian) “Holistic Sickening: Breast Cancer and the Discursive Worlds of Complementary and Alternative Practitioners,” Sociology of Health and Illness 30(4): 616-631.
2005 Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity, University of California Press.
2005 (co-editor, with Linda Barnes) Religion and Healing in America (Oxford University Press).
2000 What Makes Women Sick?: Militarism, Maternity and Modesty in Israeli Society, University Press of New England.
1999 Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa, Oxford University Press.
1994 Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women, Oxford University Press.
1992 Women as Ritual Experts: The Religious Lives of Elderly Jewish Women in Jerusalem, Oxford University Press.
Recent Oral Presentations
“Where are They Now: Massachusetts’ Women Post-Incarceration,”presented at the Massachusetts State House (event sponsored by Representative Kay Khan), July 18, 2011.
“Criminalized Women, Health and Human Rights,” presented at IBIS Reproductive Health, May 2010.
“Mothering in the Shadow of the United States Correctional System,” American Anthropological Association, November 2011.
“Whose Higher Power? Criminalized Women Confront the ‘Twelve Steps,’” International Association for the History of Religions XXth World Congress, August 2010.
“Disrupted Lives, Fragmented Care: Illness Experiences of Criminalized Women,” National Women’s Studies Association, June 2008.
“Women and Health Care Reform in Massachusetts,” national webcast sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center, May 2008.
“The Death Spiral: How ‘The Uninsured’ Became an American Caste,” Boston University School of Public Health, September 2005.
“Women’s Health Briefing,” Kaiser Foundation briefing for policy makers and congressional aids, Washington DC, July 2005
- Book Series Editor, ‘Religion, Health, and Healing Series,’ Praeger Publishers
- Consultant on health policy for Our Bodies Ourselves
- Editorial board member: Social Issues in Israel
- Program co-chair of the “Ethnographic Studies of Religion” section for XXth
- Quinquennial World Congress of the International Association for the History of Religions (2010)
- Program chair, “Raising Women’s Voices for Health Care,” May 2008
Academic advisor to various women’s interfaith initiatives, including “Women, Tradition and Change: A Multi-Faith Conference on Contemporary American Religious Practice,” May 2000, Boston
Chairperson and then member of the Board of the Association for the Advancement of Women's Health in Israel
Consultant on health care systems and on holistic healing for Our Bodies Ourselves
Recent Grant Support
Suffolk University Summer Research Stipend, for research on barriers to health care for incarcerated women, 2007
Kaiser Family Foundation, Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, for research on the near elderly and on the health care safety net, 2004
Commonwealth Fund, for research on the uninsured, 2004
Germeshausen Foundation, for ‘Women Healing Women’ project on women as healers, 2002
Social Science Research Council, Religion and Immigration Program for study of religion, health, and gender in the U.S. Okinawan diaspora, 2000
Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University, Senior Fellow, 2000
Over the course of my career my research foci have transitioned from issues of gender and religion to issues of illness and health care. While these two intellectual clusters may sound somewhat far apart at first glance, it seems to me that all of the various phases of my work are tied together by my abiding concern with how individuals and groups interpret their corporeal experiences of suffering and how various powerful institutions endeavor to exert control over those experiences.
My current research, undertaken together with Sociology Department colleague Professor Maureen Norton-Hawk, follows a group of women who had been incarcerated in Massachusetts. We hope to stay in touch with these women for five years in order to gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how particular policies and program affect criminalized women, and how adult developmental processes unfold for women whose lives have been plagued by repeated trauma and deep suffering.
Recent Courses Taught
Global Health and Healing
Death and Dying
Diversity and Women’s Health
Religion in Popular Culture
Gender in Middle Eastern societies
Aging and Society
Women in the United States Health Care System
United States Health Care Landscape