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Jenny Mandelbaum, an Expert on Conversation Analysis, Transitions to Professor of Communication Emerita
Mandelbaum studies how a variety of aspects of the organization of interaction pertain to social relationships and identities.
Mandelbaum studies how a variety of aspects of the organization of interaction pertain to social relationships and identities.

Jenny Mandelbaum, an expert on Conversation Analysis who has served on the SC&I faculty for 35 years, has transitioned to Professor Emerita of Communication.

During her distinguished career, Mandelbaum has taught, mentored, and inspired countless Rutgers undergraduate and graduate students, served as chair of the Communication Department from 2003-2006, and as a co-director of the Rutgers University Conversation Analysis Lab (RUCAL).

"Jenny’s career at Rutgers has embodied the academic ideal of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service."

Professor and Chair of the Communication Department, Lea Stewart, said, “Jenny’s career at Rutgers has embodied the academic ideal of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service. She is an internationally recognized scholar of language and social interaction who has brought her academic expertise into classrooms ranging from our department’s largest undergraduate introductory class to small Ph.D.-level seminars. Her notable service includes serving as department chair and representing the department and school on numerous university committees including making major contributions to the implementation of the SAS core curriculum. Jenny has always been a wise guide for other faculty and a source of well-considered opinions. It is hard to imagine the department without her.”

Using the methods of Conversation Analysis to examine everyday talk-in-interaction, Mandelbaum’s research focus is on how a variety of aspects of the organization of interaction pertain to social relationships and identities. Her work includes studies of storytelling, repair organization, the management of social knowledge (epistemics), and the implementation and consequences of such actions as recruiting assistance from others, requesting, offering, assessing, and complaining. She is currently working with a large database of field video-recordings of families engaged in routine activities (eating meals, preparing and cleaning up from them, “hanging out” in front of the TV, doing homework, etc.). Currently, she is exploring how parents (and other family members) respond to children’s (including grown children’s) social infractions.

Mandelbaum taught many courses, including the department's Introduction to Communication (Comm 101),Family Communication; Relationships and Identities in Interaction; Language, Behavior and Communication; Qualitative Methods; and Interpersonal Communication.

"Jenny has always been a wise guide for other faculty and a source of well-considered opinions. It is hard to imagine the department without her.”

She taught Honors Seminars for the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) Honors Program in Storytelling in Everyday Conversation, and Communication and Construction of Family

She also taught two Byrne Seminars for freshmen: How to do things with storytelling; and (with Professor Galina Bolden) "It's Not Fair!": Complaining in Everyday Conversation.

RUCAL, according to the website, “brings together scholars with an interest in understanding the workings of social interaction across a wide variety of social settings and contexts. RUCAL faculty and students examine everyday communicative activities as they are captured in field recordings of naturally occurring interactions and study talk-in-interaction in both social as well and institutional settings.

Born in London, England, Mandelbaum received her bachelor’s degree from Oxford University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.

Learn more about the Communication Department at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information on the website

 

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