Abby Gondek

Abby Gondek

Abby Gondek is a PhD candidate majoring in Anthropology/Sociology. This is her fifth year of the program; she earned her M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies as part of the combined program with GSS in May 2015. She defended her dissertation proposal in April 2016. She received a Dissertation Year Fellowship from the FIU Graduate School for the 2017-2018 school year. Her project, "From an in-between space: Jewish women writing women of color - the significance of transracial networks, 1930s-1980s" uses social network analysis and grounded theory methodology to consider how Jewish women social scientists relationally established their own "modern" and "civilized" gendered and racialized subjectivities and theories about race-gender-sexuality-colonization through their portrayals of their non-white female research participants. I demonstrate how Jewish women’s networks across racial, disciplinary and national boundaries influenced their specific positions and strategies regarding this relational subjectivity formation and their theorizing. Abby received a series of Ruth Landes Memorial Fund grants through The Reed Foundation in order to complete archival data collection in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Johannesburg, South Africa with the papers of Jewish social scientists: Vera D. Rubin, Hilda Kuper, Ruth Landes, and Ellen Hellmann. Previously, Abby received a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship through the Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU, which supported her fieldwork in Brazil regarding the contemporary impact of the 1938-1939 research of Jewish American anthropologist Ruth Landes who argued that Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian, Yoruba-based, spirit-possession religion, was matriarchal. Abby wrote her M.A. exit paper on this topic: "Placing Ruth Landes within Afro-Brazilian Studies: The Debates about 'Black Matriarchy' 1930-1950 and Contemporary Critiques," arguing that Ruth Landes' specific Jewish background influenced her arguments and position within these debates as well as her treatment by men (some Jewish) within the disciplines of anthropology and sociology.