Karen Brodkin is a prominent figure in the field of Anthropology. Her research focuses on gender studies and race studies, primarily dealing with Jewish issues. Brodkin received her A.B. from Brandeis University in 1963, her M.A. from Harvard University in 1964, and her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1971. Her dissertation was titled “Economic Bases of Sexual Equality: A Comparative Study of Four African Societies.” She held Assistant Professor positions at several universities from 1967-1980 and spent seven years at Oakland University during that time. After holding various other faculty positions, Brodkin served for six years as the Director of Women’s Studies at UCLA beginning in 1987. In 1989, she became Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at UCLA, and is currently Professor Emerita.
Brodkin has received several fellowships, honors, and grants in her scholarly career, including an Honorable Mention for the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America (Rutgers University Press, 1998) and the Conrad Arensberg Award from the Society for the Anthropology of Work for Caring by the Hour (University of Illinois Press, 1998). Her other awards include two National Science Foundation grants.
Brodkin’s published books are Sisters and Wives: The Past and Future of Sexual Equality (University of Illinois Press, 1982), My Troubles are Going to Have Trouble with Me (Rutgers University Press, 1984), Making Democracy Matter: Identity and Activism in Los Angeles (Rutgers University Press, 2007), and Power Politics: Environmental Activism in South Los Angeles (Rutgers University Press, 2009). She has also been published in scholarly journals including Anthropologica, American Ethnologist, and Jewish Currents, and has served on over fifteen editorial and advisory boards.