Janet Z. Giele is Professor Emerita at the Heller School of Social Policy and Management and in the Department of Sociology. She holds an A.B. from Earlham College, an A.M. and Ph.D in sociology from Radcliffe College at Harvard University, and a Certificate of Political Studies from the Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris. Professor Giele came to the Heller School in 1976 as a Lecturer and Senior Research Associate. Prior to her arrival at Brandeis, she served as a Fellow and later Senior Fellow of the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe (1970-1975). Before that, she was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College. She has held numerous visiting positions and lectureships, including as a Guest Scholar at the Wissenschaftszentrum (Social Science Center), Berlin and the Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (German Institute for Economic Research) from 1992-1993. She served as the founding Director of the Family and Children’s Policy Center from 1990-1996 and acting Dean of the Heller School during the 1993-1994 school year. Her research has been supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the German Marshall Plan of the United States, among other sources.
Professor Giele’s research has focused in large part on women’s changing roles, aging and life course, and family policy. Her dissertation, completed in 1961, dealt with comparisons between the trajectories and strategies of the women’s suffrage and women’s temperance movements in the 19th century. More recently, she has sought to apply her research into changes in women’s gender roles and the changes in the life courses of women since the 19th century to problems of social policy. Her books include Women and the Future: Changing Sex Roles in Modern America (New York: Free Press, 1978) and Two Paths to Women’s Equality: Temperance, Suffrage and the Origins of American Feminism (New York: Twayne Publishers, Simon and Schuster, 1995). She has also written widely on the methods of life course research. As a teacher at the Heller School, she has directed over 30 dissertations and participated in over 50 doctoral committees. She has also worked with a number of civic organizations and projects, including one to establish a virtual retirement home (through a group called Wellesley at Home) that will help individuals in her community to remain in their homes and maintain their independence in old age.