Congratulations to Rhacel Salazar Parreñas and Rachel P., the SWS Mentoring Award winners!
The SWS Feminist Mentoring Award was established in 1990 to honor an SWS Member who is an outstanding feminist mentor. While the word “mentoring” is commonly used to describe a faculty-student relationship, this award has shown the breadth of ways that feminists do mentoring. In establishing the award, SWS recognized that feminist mentoring is an important and concrete way to encourage feminist scholarship.
This year’s Feminist Mentoring Award Subcommittee included Manisha Desai (Subcommittee Co-Chair) Paula England (Subcommittee Co-Chair,) Laura Simon, Courtney Caviness, Patti Giuffre, and Nicole Bedera. The Subcommittee decided that both Rhacel Salazar Parreñas and Rebecca P. will be the SWS 2020 Feminist Mentoring Award Winners.
Rhacel Salazar Parreñas is Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California. Her areas of research include labor, gender, international migration, the family and economic sociology. She is an ethnographer whose research examines experiences of migrant workers from the Philippines. Professor Parreñas has written five monographs as well as numerous peer- reviewed articles including the book Servants of Globalization: Migration and Domestic Work (Stanford Press, 2015). Her most recent project examines the constitution of migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates as unfree workers. She has received research funding from the Fulbright, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and National Science Foundation, and fellowship invitations from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University and the Institute for Advanced Study. In 2019, she received the Jessie Bernard Award. She is currently Vice President-Elect for ASA and is a former Vice President for SWS.
The nominators for Parreñas were Victoria Reyes, Emmanuel David, LaToya Council, Marco Garrido, Maria Hwang, katrina quisumbing king, Rick Alanos Baldoz, Carolyn Choi, Kimberly Kay Hoang, Minwoo Jung, Monica Liu, Julia Meszaros, and Steven McKay. In the nomination letter, many mentioned Parreñas’ energy and compassion. Several noted that Parreñas is able to mentor others to do excellent feminist scholarship partly because she is such a great scholar herself – having done important intersectional work on Filipina domestic worker migrants and their families, and on human trafficking. Kimberly Kay Hoang of University of Chicago lauded her mentoring work with the Ford Foundation Scholars program. Letter writers talked about her mentoring as multidimensional—helping budding scholars to make their work better, explaining unspoken norms, suggesting when and how to negotiate, and connecting them with networks helpful to their interests. Rick Baldoz of Oberlin College wrote that it is common for her to commit to writing 6-9 tenure and/or promotion letters per year, prioritizing writing on behalf of those “doing cutting edge feminist work that might not be legible to older scholars.” Several writers noted that she actively links feminist activists across the globe. Carolyn Choi, a student at the University of Southern California, noted that Parreñas has trained and mentored over a dozen students of color in less than a decade at the University of Southern California.
Rebecca P. is Professor of Sociology and is a Women’s & Gender Studies Affiliate at a private undergraduate college. She teaches all aspects of sociology, including research methods, theory, capstone and cornerstone. Her research addresses the sociological construction of sexualities and sexual climates and cultures. In addition to standard academic scholarship, she writes books and chapters about sexualities and gender for undergraduate readers, striving to make sociology accessible. Among other accomplishments, she has provided servant-leadership for two sexualities journals and for several ASA sections (Council). She has done public sociology for decades, including co-hosting a regional radio call-in show, talking about virginity with an international women’s magazine, and writing about sexual consent campaigns in the higher education industry newspaper. Recent activism has focused on sexual harassment and abuse of power in graduate programs. She cherishes her mentorship of undergraduates and works extensively to create communities that inclusively support faculty, staff, and students.
Rebecca P.’s nomination packet was submitted by 10 of her students and colleagues. One of her nominators indicated, “Rebecca helped me navigate the complex experience of being a feminist woman in Sociology, supported me through the sometimes debilitating self-doubt that accompanies the doctoral process and job search.” One undergrad noted: “As a first-year student who primarily learned about gender and sexualities from a conservative Christian family, Dr. P. played a pivotal role in my development as a feminist thinker. Like so many of the other supporters of her nomination for this award, Dr. P. provided the right combination of high expectations and enthusiasm for social analysis that was helpful both inside and outside of the classroom. Her empathetic yet critical approach to teaching has served as my model for helping students, faculty, and (unfortunately) administrators unpack their similarly-dogmatic assumptions about “racial” differences and crime.” Nominators noted that Dr. P. constantly promotes the value of self-care—especially with undergraduate students. Finally, one nominator wrote “Rebecca is the epitome of feminist mentor. She is fierce in her commitment to the field and her students/mentees. She is critical of the inequalities that structure our lives and our discipline. She is vulnerable, sharing her real experiences of life in the academy. While some mentors try to make success look effortless, Rebecca keeps it real and messy—because that is the truth. Striving for ease and perfection makes us fall to pieces; Rebecca has always let me know that it is ok to feel like falling apart, to take time to take care of myself, and to celebrate my achievements for the hard work that we put in.”