Jessie Bernard

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Jessie S. Bernard
Born (1903-06-08)June 8, 1903
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Died October 6, 1996(1996-10-06) (aged 93)
Washington, District of Columbia, US
Nationality United States American
Fields Sociology and Feminist theory
Institutions Lindenwood College (1940–1947) Pennsylvania State University (1947–1964)
Alma mater

University of Minnesota (BA & MA in Sociology)

Washington University in St. Louis (PhD in Sociology)

Jessie Shirley Bernard (born Jessie Sarah Ravitch, June 8, 1903, Minneapolis, Minnesota, US – October 6, 1996, Washington, D.C., US) was a sociologist and noted feminist scholar. She was a persistent forerunner of feminist thought in American sociology and her life's work is characterized as extraordinarily productive spanning several intellectual and political eras.[1] Bernard studied and wrote about women's lives since the late 1930s and her contributions to social sciences and feminist theory regarding women, sex, marriage, and the interaction with the family and community are well noted. She has garnered numerous honors in her career and has several awards named after her, such as the Jessie Bernard Award.[2][3] Jessie Bernard was a prolific writer, having published 15 sole-authored books, 9 co-authored books, over 75 journal articles, and over 40 book chapters.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Jessie Bernard (born Jessie Sarah Ravitch) was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was the third of four children born to Jewish-Romanian parents, Bessie Kanter and David Soloman Ravitch. In the 1880s her parents immigrated separately to the US from Transylvania (today in Romania). Jessie's father started out delivering dairy products in Minneapolis, later became a haberdasher and finally a real estate broker. At the time, the Ravitch family were the only Jewish-immigrant family to reside in a middle-class community. With regards to Jessie's education, her parents believed she was better off pursuing an education in business school. However, Jessie graduated from public high school in 1920 and left home to study in social sciences at the University of Minnesota.[6][7]

Later life, education and career[edit]

Time at University of Minnesota[edit]

Jessie Bernard completed her undergraduate and post-graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. She earned her BA (magna cum laude) in 1923 and her MA in sociology in 1924. Her MA thesis was titled "Changes of Attitudes of Jews in the First and Second Generation" that earned her the Harris Prize. During her studies here she became actively involved in attempts to establish sociology as a recognized profession within American academia and she actively participated in the injection of empirical research into meetings of the American Sociological Society. Jessie studied with Pitirim Sorokin (founder of the sociology department at Harvard) and became research assistant to her sociology professor, Luther Lee Bernard. After working as his assistant for 4 years, she married him on September 23, 1925. Their union was considered controversial by some given that Luther was 23 years her senior and non-Jewish. The Bernards moved several times due to Luther's various appointments at academic institutions as a professor at Cornell University, Tulane University, and University of North Carolina before finally settling at Washington University in St. Louis in 1929.[8][9][10]

Time at Washington University in St Louis[edit]

At Washington University in St. Louis Jessie continued her research and later earned her PhD in sociology in 1935. Together, the Bernards challenged the dominance of the University of Chicago in the field of sociology that ultimately saw their involvement in the creation of the American Sociological Review. During her time here, Jessie struggled to obtain personal and professional independence and she separated from her husband in 1936 for a period of four years until the couple reconciled in the late 1930s. Despite Luther's initial objections, they overcame their differences and started a family.[11][12]

Time at Lindenwood College[edit]

Whilst pregnant with their first child, Jessie took up a teaching position in sociology at Lindenwood College in 1940 where she remained teaching for the next 7 years. Her start at Lindenwood College was marked by the birth of her first child, Dorothy Lee, in 1941 and the birth of her second child, Claude, in 1945. Following the events of World War II, in particular the Nazi Holocaust, Jessie started to move away from the positivistic approach dominant in social science and became increasingly supportive of the social contextuality of all knowledge. This time would also mark her movement toward a feminist position in sociology as seen in the qualitative research and critical analysis prevalent in her later work.[13][14]

Time at Pennsylvania State University[edit]

After Luther's retirement from Washington University in 1947, he negotiated positions as lecturers for Jessie and himself at Pennsylvania State University. Jessie gave brith to their third child, David, in 1950. Unfortunately, Luther died of cancer the next year and Jessie had to raise their children as a single-parent. Despite this, Jessie managed to establish her own academic independence and became a Full Professor of sociology at Pennsylvania State University. She remained here for the larger part of her academic career. During her time as professor she became a founding member of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and helped legitimize feminist studies. She retired as Professor Emeritus from Pennsylvania State University at age 62.[15][16]

Retirement[edit]

Although her retirement marked her movement out of academic life, Jessie devoted herself to writing and research on a full-time basis as well as remaining an active feminist in the women's movement for the next two decades. This would also be the period of her life that saw extraordinary productivity in terms of her research and writings. She published the majority of her books in this period as well as several articles and presentations, establishing herself as a leading contributor to professional and lay understandings of the sociology of gender. Her work was further marked by a critical rejection of sociology as a positivistic science to the extent where she rethought her early writings in light of a feminist position.[17]

This period of Jessie Bernard's life would also see her as president of the Eastern Sociological Association, president and founding member of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, founding board member of the Center for Women Policy Studies as well as member of the boards of Urban Institute Women's Program and the Women's Equity Action League. During this time she was also a visiting professor at Princeton University. Jessie Bernard lectured at professional meetings and universities around the world and met women from all over the world in international women's meetings. She died in 1996 (aged 93).[18][19]

Research and writings[edit]

Jessie Bernard characterized her own work as a movement towards contemporary feminism or what she also referred to as "the feminist enlightenment".[20] Since the mid-1940s, Jessie's focus was to increase understanding of the effects of sexism on women's experience of marriage, parenting, education and economic life. This ultimately formed the largest part of her contributions to sociology and feminist theory. To sum up her contribution to sociology in her own words:

"I am concerned, as any fair-minded person must be, with the effects of sexism on the position of women in our profession and in our society; but I am also concerned, as any dedicated sociologist must be, with its effects on our discipline as well. Important as are the costs to women of the male bias in sociology, on which a considerable literature exists, I am concerned here not with them but rather with the costs of this bias to the discipline itself. I am not, therefore asking what sociology can do for women - for example, by filling in the gaps in our knowledge about them, itself a significant contribution - but rather what women (and sympathetic male colleagues) can do for sociology." .[21]

Jessie's research (statistical analysis of health and mortality data) published in The Paradox of the Happy Marriage (1971) and The Future of Marriage (1972) illustrated that marriage was good for men, but not for women. She argued that men and women live in different worlds and perceive of marriage differently. She attributed this to the gendered nature of social structures in society.[22][23] Building on her previous work and research, Jessie later published The Female World (1981) and The Female World from a Global Perspective (1987). In "The Female World" (1981) she argued that although men and women move in geographically similar places, households, political and economic arenas, they actually live in different single-sex worlds. In "The Female World from a Global Perspective" (1987) she mapped differences among women in terms of life expectancy, nutrition, wealth, literacy, work and politics as well as how racism, classism, and imperialism divide their worlds.[24]

Honors and recognition[edit]

Jessie Bernard retired [Professor Emeritus] and was awarded the title "Research Scholar Honoris Causa" by Pennsylvania State University in 1965. In 1976 the American Sociological Association established the Jessie Bernard Award for "work that has enlarged the horizons of the discipline of sociology to encompass fully the role of women in society" in Jessie's honor.[25] In 1976, Bernard received the Achievement Award from the American Association of University Women. On her 85th birthday The Center for Women's Policy Studies honored Jessie by the creation of the Jessie Bernard Wise Women Award in recognition of "women leaders, activists and scholars whose lives and work demonstrate and advocacy of feminist enlightenment".[26] She was honored by numerous associations and institutions of higher education in recognition of her work and contributions to sociology, feminist theory and the women's movement.[27][28]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Bernard, Jessie. 1942. "American Family Behavior". New York: Harper & Brothers.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1949. "American Community Behavior". New York: Dryden Press
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1956. "Remarriage: A Study of Marriage". New York: Dryden Press.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1957. "Social Problems at Midcentury: Role, Status and Stress in a Context of Abundance". New York: Dryden Press,
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1964. "Academic Women". University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1966. "Marriage and Family Among Negroes". New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1968. "The Sex Game". New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1971. "Women and the Public Interest: An Essay on Policy and Protest". Chicago: Aldine.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1972. "The Future of Marriage". New York Bantam Books.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1973. "The Sociology of Community". Glenview Illinois: Scott, Foresman Publisher.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1975. "The Future of Motherhood". New York: Penguin Books.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1975. "Women, Wives, Mothers: Values and Options". Chicago: Aldine.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1978. "Self-Portrait of a Family". Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1981. "The Female World". New York: Free Press.
  • Bernard, Jessie. 1987. "The Female World from a Global Perspective". Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Co-authored books[edit]

  • Luther, Lee Bernard and Bernard, Jessie. 1934. "Sociology and the Study of International Relations". St. Louis: Washington University Studies.
  • Bernard, Luther Lee and Bernard, Jessie. 1943. "Origins of American Sociology". New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
  • Bernard, Jessie, Smith, William M. and Buchanan, Helen E. 1958. "Dating, Mating, and Marriage". Cleveland, Ohio: Howard Allen, Inc.
  • Bernard, Jessie and MacLurg Jensen, Deborach. 1962. "Sociology". St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Co.
  • Broderick, Calfred B. and Bernard, Jessie. 1969. "The Individual, Sex and Society". Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.
  • Bernard, Jessie, Thompson, Lida F. and MacLurg Jensen, Deborah. 1970. "Sociology: Nurses and their Patients in a Modern Society". St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Co.

Chapters in books[edit]

  • Bernard, Jessie. "The History and Prospects of Sociology in the United States." In Trends in American Sociology. edited by George A. Lundberg, Read Bain, and Nels Anderson. New York: Harper and Bros., 1929.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Sources and Methods of Social Psychology." The Fields and Methods of Sociology, ed. Luther L. Bernard. New York: R. Long and R.R. Smith, Inc., 1934.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Biculturality: A Study in Social Schizophrenia". In Jews in a Gentile World, eds. Isacque Graeber and Steuart H. Britt. New York: Macmillan, 1942.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "An Analysis of Jewish Culture." In Jews in a Gentile World, eds. Isacque Graeber and Steuart H. Britt. New York: Macmillan, 1942
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Social Work." In Contemporary Social Science, eds. Philip L. Harriman. Harrisburg: Stackpole Co., 1953.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Sociological Study of Conflict." In The Nature of Conflict ed. International Sociological Association. Belgium: UNESCO, 1957.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The United States." In The Institutions of Advanced Societies, ed. Arnold M. Rose. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Divorce and Remarriage." In Sex Ways in Fact and Faith, eds. Evelyn and Sylvanus Duvall. New York: Association Press, 1961.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Adjustments of Married Mates." In Handbook of Marriage and the Family, ed. Harold T. Christensen. Chicago: Rand McNally and Co., 1964.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Present Situation in the Academic World of Women Trained in Engineering." In Women in the Scientific Professions, ed. Jacquelyn A.Mattfeld. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1965.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Conflict as Research and Research as Conflict." In The Rise and Fall of Project Camelot, ed. Irving L. Horowitz. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1967.
  • Bernard, Jessie. Present Demographic Trends and Structural Outcomes in Family Life Today." In Marriage and Family Counseling, ed. James A. Peterson. New York: Association Press, 1968.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Eudaemonists." In Why Men Take Chances ed. Samuel Z. Klausner. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1968.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Counseling, Psychotherapy and Social Problems in Value Contexts." In Explorations in Sociology and Counseling, ed. Donald A. Hansen. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1969.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Functions and Limitations in Counseling and Psychotherapy." In Explorations in Sociology and Counseling, ed. Donald A. Hansen. Boston; Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1969.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Infidelity: Some Moral and Social Issues." In The Dynamics of Work and Marriage, ed. Jules H. Masserman. New York: Grune and Straton, 1970.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "No News, but New Ideas." In Divorce and After, ed. Paul Bohannan. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1970.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Paradox of a Happy Marriage." In Women in Sexist Society, eds. Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran. New York: Basic Books, 1971.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Sex as a Regenerative Force." In The New Sexuality, ed. Herbert A. Otto Palo Alto. California: Science and Behavior Books, 1971.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Housewife: Between Two Worlds." In Work, eds. Phyllis Stewart and Muriel Canter. Chicago: Markham, 1972.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Women, Marriage, and the Future." In Toward a Sociology of Women, ed. Constantina Safilios-Rothschild. Lexington: Xerox College Pub., 1972.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Adolescence and Socialization for Motherhood." In Adolescence in the Life Cycle, Psychological Change and Social Context, ed. Sidney E. Dragastin and Glen H. Elder, Jr. Washington: Hemisphere Publishing Co., 1975.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Jealousy and Marriage." in Jealousy, eds. Gordon Clanton and Lynn G. Smith. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "'Contingency' or 'Career' Schedules for Women." In Increasing Student Development Options in College, ed. David E. Drew. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1978.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Models for the Relationship between the World of Women and the World of Men." In Research in Social Movements, ed. Louis Kriesberg. Greenwich: JAI Publishing, 1978.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Policy and Women's Time." In Sex Roles and Social Policy, eds. Jean Lipman-Blumen and Jessie Bernard. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications 1979.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Update on Women." In The Future American College, ed. Arthur W. Chicering. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1980.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "The Housewife." In Varieties of Work, ed. Phyllis Stewart and Muriel Cantor. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1982.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Benchmark for the '80s." In Handbook for Women Scholars, ed. Monika Kehoe. San Francisco: Center for Women Scholars, 1983.
  • Bernard, Jessie. "Reflections on Style, Structure, and Subject." In Scholarly Writing and Publishing, ed. Mary Frank Fox. Colorado: Westview, 1985.

Articles[edit]

(See external link below for a complete bibliography of Jessie Bernard's 75-plus journal articles)

Further reading[edit]

  • Bannister, Robert C. 1991. "Jessie Bernard: The Making of a Feminist". Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-1615-8
  • Deegan, Mary Jo. 1991. “Jessie Bernard” In Women in Sociology: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-26085-8
  • Lipman-Blumen, Jean. “Jessie Bernard - A Reasonable Rebel”. Gender and Society, 2 (1988): 271–273
  • Howe, Harriet. “Jessie Bernard.” Sociological Inquiry, 64 (1994): 10–22

References[edit]

  1. ^ Myers, Kristen A., Anderson, Cynthia D. & Risman, Barbara J. "Feminist Foundations: Toward Transforming Sociology". SAGE Publishers, 1998, p.78
  2. ^ Lengermann, PM and Niebrugge, J. "Contemporary Feminist Theory" in Sociological Theory by George Ritzer (ed). 1996. p.452-3
  3. ^ American Sociological Association. "Jessie Bernard Award". [1]. Retrieved 30 November 2010
  4. ^ Love, Barbara J. "Feminists Who Changed America: 1963–1975". University of Illinois Press, 2006. p.40
  5. ^ Swarthmore College. "Jessie S. Bernard". [2]. Retrieved 1 December 2010
  6. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.51-52
  7. ^ Bannister, Robert C. "Jessie Bernard".[3]. Retrieved 30 November 2010
  8. ^ Lengermann, PM and Niebrugge, J. "Contemporary Feminist Theory" in Sociological Theory by George Ritzer (ed). 1996. p.452
  9. ^ Bannister, Robert C. "Jessie Bernard". [4]. Retrieved 30 November 2010
  10. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  11. ^ Lengermann, PM and Niebrugge, J. "Contemporary Feminist Theory" in Sociological Theory by George Ritzer (ed). 1996. p.452
  12. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  13. ^ Lengermann, PM and Niebrugge, J. "Contemporary Feminist Theory" in Sociological Theory by George Ritzer (ed). 1996. p.452
  14. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  15. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  16. ^ Love, Barbara J. "Feminist Who Changed America: 1963–1975". University of Illinois Press, 2006. p.40
  17. ^ Lengermann, PM and Niebrugge, J. "Contemporary Feminist Theory" in Sociological Theory by George Ritzer (ed). 1996. p.452-453
  18. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.53
  19. ^ "Jessie Bernard". [5], Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 1 December 2010
  20. ^ Bernard, J. "The Female World from a Global Perspective", 1987, cited in Lengermann, PM and Niebrugge, J. "Contemporary Feminist Theory" in Sociological Theory by George Ritzer (ed). 1996. p.452
  21. ^ Bernard, Jessie. "My Four Revolutions: An Autobiographical History of the ASA". The American Journal of Sociology, 78(4):776
  22. ^ Love, Barbara J. "Feminist Who Changed America: 1963–1975". University of Illinois Press, 2006. p.40
  23. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  24. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  25. ^ Martin, Patricia Y. "The Significance of the Jessie Bernard Award [6], American Sociological Association Network. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  26. ^ Love, Barbara J. "Feminist Who Changed America: 1963–1975". University of Illinois Press, 2006. p.40
  27. ^ Ware, Susan and Braukman, Lorraine S. "Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century". Harvard University Press, 2004. p.52
  28. ^ "Jessie Bernard [7], Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 1 December 2010

External links[edit]

Complete Bibliography[edit]

  • Swarthmore College. "Jessie S. Bernard" [8]. Retrieved 1 December 2010

Obituary[edit]

  • Thomas, Robert McG. Jr. "Jessie Bernard, 93; Ideas Inspired Feminists". [9], New York Times, October 11, 1996. Retrieved 1 December 2010