Other lives

Deb­o­rah Lynn Stein­berg

The Guardian - - OBITUARIES - Deb­bie Ep­stein

My friend Deb­o­rah Lynn Stein­berg, who has died aged 55 of breast cancer, was a fem­i­nist cul­tural the­o­rist com­mit­ted to schol­ar­ship and teach­ing. She made a huge con­tri­bu­tion to the Cen­tre for the Study of Women and Gen­der, the so­ci­ol­ogy de­part­ment and the fac­ulty of so­cial sciences at War­wick Univer­sity.

Deb­o­rah was born and brought up in Los An­ge­les, the daugh­ter of Ir­win, a ra­di­ol­o­gist, and his wife, Maxine (nee Beck­er­man), a lawyer, and at­tended schools in the city, in­clud­ing Univer­sity high school. She grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, with a BA in women’s stud­ies.

She then moved to Bri­tain, gain­ing an MA at Kent Univer­sity and her PhD at the Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary Cul­tural Stud­ies, Birm­ing­ham, where she and I met as doc­toral stu­dents. Deb­o­rah’s aca­demic ap­point­ments, first at Birk­beck and then at War­wick, were in so­ci­ol­ogy de­part­ments, but she was first and fore­most a fem­i­nist cul­tural the­o­rist. She be­came pro­fes­sor of gen­der, cul­ture and me­dia stud­ies at War­wick in 2008.

Deb­o­rah could be com­bat­ive about aca­demic rigour and so­cial jus­tice – and she could ar­gue her point from an ex­traor­di­nar­ily wide and deep knowl­edge. Some found her in­tim­i­dat­ing, but she was a bril­liant scholar who was also gen­er­ous to her stu­dents.

She was di­ag­nosed with breast cancer in 2007, but was given the all clear in 2013. How­ever, the dis­ease re­turned the fol­low­ing year. She was de­ter­mined to con­tinue work­ing for as long as pos­si­ble and was su­per­vis­ing doc­toral stu­dents and chair­ing the grad­u­ate stud­ies com­mit­tee of the fac­ulty of so­cial sciences un­til Jan­uary.

Re­cently, Deb­o­rah ex­am­ined cul­tural con­struc­tions of the cancer pa­tient, writ­ing an­a­lyt­i­cally and per­son­ally in a study, The Bad Pa­tient: Es­tranged Sub­jects of the Cancer Cul­ture. She also wrote a blog, in­clud­ing both po­etry and prose, about her per­sonal jour­ney.

Deb­o­rah’s work was be­gin­ning to re­ceive the wider recog­ni­tion it de­served. Her last book, Genes and the Bio imag­i­nary: Sci­ence, Spec­ta­cle, Cul­ture (2015), re­ceived ex­cel­lent re­views, in­clud­ing in the Guardian.

She is sur­vived by her part­ner, Ger­shon Silins, her par­ents and her brother, David.

Deb­o­rah Lynn Stein­berg, a lead­ing fem­i­nist the­o­rist, be­came pro­fes­sor of gen­der, cul­ture and me­dia stud­ies at War­wick Univer­sity in 2008

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