Portrait of Brishette Mendoza


Research Interests
Women’s and gender studies, intellectual and institutional history; orality and literacy; anti-literacy mandates, structural marginalization, scribal education and influence in the ancient world, text production in ancient through contemporary contexts; the Hebrew Bible

Brishette Mendoza is a PhD student in the School of Arts and Humanities where she currently holds the Margo L. Goldsmith Fellowship in Women’s and Gender Studies in Religion. Her research draws on the fields of archaeology, sociolinguistics, and history and broadly includes the cultural, religious, and intellectual history of the ancient world as well as women’s and gender studies. Her research interests are characterized by a diachronic purview, and involve investigations concerned with both ancient and contemporary contexts. Pertinent to the ancient context, her research includes a focus on the Hebrew Bible, scribal education and influence, writing and its technologies, orality, literacy, and textualization, from the eighth century BCE through late antiquity. Concerning the contemporary context, Mendoza’s research and activities aim to contribute to meaningful reform, and include a critical examination of structures and discourse around the roles, agency, and status of women and other historically marginalized groups situated in communities, organizations, institutions, and broader geopolitical, socioeconomic frameworks.

Women’s and gender studies

Mendoza’s current research focuses on questions concerning the agency and role of women in the inception, production, editorial development, and redaction of ancient texts. Among lines of inquiry pursued, this investigation explores how changes in media transform the structure of authority, and the exertion of influence within emerging sociopolitical and religious hierarchies. In particular, she investigates the consequences of the media shift in the Ancient Near East from orality to written texts, the Hebrew Bible, and women’s roles, agency, authority, and influence.

Intellectual and institutional history

Mapping Scholarly Mentorship Relationships, Collaboration, Protégé Success, and the Evolution of Ideas

Mendoza is a site editor and contributor for the Academic Family Tree (https://academictree.org/), the open-access website and online database of mentoring relationships displayed in a family tree format. Run by neuroscientist Stephen V. David, PhD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Oregon Health & Science University, the Academic Family Tree is an expansion of an initial and primary project, Neurotree. The crowdsourced database of mentors, protégés, collaborators, and research publications was funded by a Metaknowledge grant from the University of Chicago Knowledge Lab and a grant from the National Science Foundation. The database explores “how mentorship influences the emergence and evolution of ideas.” Today, “tracing the growth of academic fields across multiple generations of researchers” the Academic Family Tree dataset includes over 769,200 researchers across more than 30 fields. Information about this project has been published in the article, “Intellectual synthesis in mentorship determines success in academic careers” in the journal Nature Communications (2018).