Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York  

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  Orit Avishai, Ph.D. 
Sociology (at Rose Hill)
LL.B., Tel Aviv University Law School, 1994; LL.M., Yale Law School, 1996; M.A., Ph.D., University of California Berkeley, 2007

Dealy Hall 403
Bronx, NY  10458-9993
tel: (718) 817-3859
fax: (718) 817-3846
Research Interests

Gender, religion; marriage and family, qualitative methods; Israel studies.

I am an ethnographer who is interested in how ideology and culture, very broadly defined, shape social institutions, political dialogue, and cultural practices.  I have written about breast-feeding and the politics of motherhood in the United States, gendered regimes in Israeli Jewish Orthodoxy, and women in conservative religions.  I am currently studying the marriage education movement in the United States.
Selected Publications

Articles on Gender, Sexuality & Religion, and Jewish Orthodoxy

Orit Avishai. Forthcoming 2012. "What to do with the problem of the flesh? Negotiating Jewish sexual anxieties." Fieldwork in Religion.

Orit Avishai. Forthcoming 2012. "Contesting Sex-restrictive Sexual Narratives from Within: Jewish Laws of Menstrual Purity and Orthodox Sexual Anxieties." Invited chapter in The Ashgate Research Companion to Sexuality and Religion, edited by Andrew Yip and Stephen Hunt, Ashgate.

Orit Avishai. Forthcoming. "Premarital Preparation as a School for Marriage: Religion, Gender, and the State in Israel." In Religion, Gender, Politics, edited by Hanna Herzog.  Van Leer, Jerusalem. (in Hebrew)

Orit Avishai. 2010. "Women of God." Contexts 9(4):46.

Orit Avishai. 2008. “Doing Religion in a Secular World: Women in Conservative Religions and the Question of Agency.” Gender and Society 22(4):409-433.

Orit Avishai. 2008. “Halakhic Niddah Consultants and the Orthodox Women’s Movement: Evaluating the Story of Enlightened Progress.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 7(2):195-216. 

Orit Avishai. 2007. “Imagining ‘the Orthodox’ in Emuna Elon’s Heaven Rejoices: Voyeuristic, Reformist, and Pedagogical Orthodox Artistic Expression.” Israel Studies 12(2):48-73.

Articles on Breast-Feeding

Orit Avishai. Forthcoming, “Breast-feeding.” Entry in the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society. Sage Publications.

Orit Avishai. 2007. “Managing the Lactating Body: The Breast-Feeding Project and Privileged Motherhood.” Qualitative Sociology 30(2):135-152.

Orit Avishai. 2004. “At the Pump: Lactating Bodies at Work.” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 6(2):138-149.

Articles on the Marriage Movement

Orit Avishai, Melanie Health, and Jennifer Randles. Forthcoming 2012. "Going to School for Marriage." Contexts


Work in Progress

“Secularism, Secularization, and Religious Change: Notes on an Interdisciplinary Dialogue.”  Article in preparation.

“Religious Change in the Name of Tradition: Lessons from the Orthodox ‘Marriage Industry’ in Israel.”  Article in preparation.

Politics of Purity: Menstrual Defilement and the Negotiation of Modern Jewish Femininities.  Book manuscript in preparation.

Holy Unions: Faith Based Marriage Education and the Remaking of American Religious Traditions.  New research project.


Courses Taught


Introduction to Sociology; Gender, Bodies, and Sexuality; Identities and Inequalities in American Society; The Ethnographic Method


Qualitative Methods


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