“A DRINK WITH A GENIUS” Celebrating Tressie McMillan Cottom’s 2020 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship



Thursday, January 28, 2021

6:45 pm EST – 8:30 pm EST

Programming to Celebrate Tressie McMillan Cottom’s 2020 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, “Genius Grant”

Image of Tressie McMillan Cottom
Photo Credit: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Tressie McMillan Cottom holds a BA (2009) from North Carolina Central University and a PhD (2015) from Emory University. In July 2020, she joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina as an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science and senior research faculty in the Center for Information, Technology and Public Life. She was affiliated with the Department of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University from 2015 to 2020 and has been a faculty affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University since 2015. McMillan Cottom’s additional publications include the edited volumes Digital Sociologies (2016) and For-Profit Universities: The Shifting Landscape of Marketized Higher Education (2017), and she has been a contributor to Slate, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Inside Higher Ed.

Schedule of Programming

6:45 pm EST – 7:05 pm EST

Multi-certified mixologist, philanthropist and industry educator, Alexis Brown of Serving Life Behind Bars and the founder of Causing A Stir, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to educating and empowering underrepresented individuals in the hospitality industry will guide us as we mix up a bourbon-based cocktail (Tressie’s favorite!) in addition to a non-alcoholic mocktail to help us to properly prepare for the celebration. Check out the grocery list so that you will have all the items on hand that you’ll need to help us toast to Tressie!

7:05 pm EST – 8:30 pm EST

Celebration of Tressie McMillan Cottom’s 2020 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Grant”

Shaping discourse on highly topical issues at the confluence of race, gender, education, and digital technology for broad audiences.

Tressie to speak, and then we celebrate!

Here’s a LINK to Tressie’s website: https://tressiemc.com/

Note: All SWS 2021 Winter Meeting Programming (January 28-31, 2021) is open to all SWS Members. Please stay tuned for the forthcoming registration form.

SWS Supports Establishing Office for Gender Equity in Department of Education, Letter to Biden-Harris Transition Team

SWS Recommends Establishing Office for Gender Equity in the Department of Education

See Letter Sent to Biden-Harris Transition Team

To view this letter on the Feminist Majority Foundation website, click HERE.


January 8, 2021

Linda Darling-Hammond, Director of the Biden-Harris Education Transition Team and the Transition Team

Dear Dr. Darling-Hammond and the Department of Education Transition Team,

The undersigned organizations, all of whom support greatly increased attention to educational equity, recommend that the Biden-Harris Department of Education (ED) prioritize establishing an Office for Gender Equity reporting to the Secretary of Education as soon as possible. This Office is the first priority in a longer letter sent to the transition teams by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education.

Creation of an Office for Gender Equity is critical in restoring and ensuring opportunity, safety, and gender equity in education particularly as the Department of Education rectifies the 2020 changes to the Title IX Regulations and withdrawal of important Guidance documents by the Trump Administration and as it advances initiatives to ensure educational opportunity for all. The Office for Gender Equity is immediately needed to obtain public input on revising theTitle IX regulations relating to sexual harassment and assault and other rescinded guidance on transgender individuals and Title IX Coordinators. It is also crucial that the new Biden-Harris Department of Education show proactive gender equity leadership to help establish an effective national infrastructure of Title IX Coordinators and other gender equity experts to implement full eradication of long-standing sex discrimination with attention to compounded discrimination based on race, disability, English Language Learners, immigration, pregnancy/parenting, and LGBTQ status in education. An Office for Gender Equity is also needed to coordinate policy and make high quality gender equity resources including research, policies, training, and student materials available to the public by re-establishing a Gender Equity Web-based Resource Center to serve all levels from pre-k to higher and adult education.

We recommend that the Department create the Office for Gender Equity administratively, with its Director reporting to the Secretary of Education. This office is also proposed in the Gender Equity Education Act (GEEA), and a Special Assistant for Gender Equity was authorized in the Department of Education Organization Act. A proactive ED Office for Gender Equity would also complement the parallel offices charged with leadership and coordination on gender issues in federal health agencies, Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of State.

The gender equity community has been a long-time supporter of the GEEA and its predecessor, the Women’s Educational Equity Act (WEEA), which was the only federal legislation specifically focused on implementing Title IX. The current version of GEEA– the Patsy T. Mink and Louise K. Slaughter Gender Equity Education Act of 2019-20

(S. 1964, HR 3513) sponsored by Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Doris Matsui outlines the many responsibilities of the Office, such as policy making, training, dissemination, and federal coordination within ED as well as with other government offices. It also emphasizes the need for intersectional approaches to gender and other civil rights protections.

Hopefully, when the 117th Congress passes GEEA, the existing Office for Gender Equity would assume responsibility for implementing the GEEA grants program to expand the necessary gender equity infrastructure, including well-trained Title IX Coordinators and gender equity experts. As appropriate, the Office for Gender Equity would also be home for other legislative gender equity programs, dealing with sexual harassment and assault, STEM, athletics and of course it would coordinate closely with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and White House equity initiatives.

Establishing an Office for Gender Equity at the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration is an important and unmistakable signal of support for gender equity leadership. It gives the Biden-Harris Administration a head start on strengthening the Department’s capacity to address gender equity and will be an important asset in securing passage and needed implementation funding for GEEA and other civil rights legislation.

We urge the Transition Team to recommend the establishment of an Office for Gender Equity in the Biden-Harris Department of Education as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.


Feminist Majority Foundation-Eleanor Smeal, President and Sue Klein, Ed.D, Education Equity Director.

Organizations that signed as of 1-8-21: (117 organizations)

1st Amendment-1st Vote, Inc.
Activism Caucus of the Association for Women in Psychology
Alcyone LLC
Allies Reaching for Equity
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Arkansas Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, Equity Assistance Center Augustus F. Hawkins Foundation
Autistic Self Network
BHS Stop Harassing
BRAV Consultations
California National Organization for Women
Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@Network for Healthy Families and Communities Catholics for Choice
Center for Advancement of Public Policy
Center for Partnership Studies
Central New York NOW Chapter
Champion Women
Charlottesville National Organization for Women Claremont Graduate University-Applied Gender Studies Clearinghouse on Women’s Issue
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Collin College
Committee for Equity in Women’s Surfing Democratic Womens Club of The Villages, FL Disability Rights New York
Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, Inc. Durham NOW, Pauli Murray Chapter
East Valley Indivisibles
Education Law Center-PA
Equal Means Equal
End Rape on Campus
ERA Coalition
Feminist Majority Foundation
Florida NOW
Florida NOW Education Fund
Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at The University of Miami Girls Inc.
Girls on the Run International
Guam Department of Education
Healthy Teen Network
High School Title IX Consulting Services, LLC
Hollywood Chapter, National Organization for Women
Illinois Accountability Initiative
Indiana NOW
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Japanese American Citizens League
Jewish Women International
Justice for Migrant Women
Langelan & Associates
Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund Liberal Ladies Who Lunch of SE Kansas
Loudoun County NOW
MANA, A National Latina Organization
Maryland Commission for Women
Maryland National Organization for Women
Maryland Women’s Heritage Center
Michigan NOW Fund’s Heritage Center
Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health (MOASH) Monmouth County Democratic Women’s Caucus
Monroe County NOW
Multicultural Dimensions
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
National Center for Transgender Equality National Congress of Black Women, Inc National Council of Negro Women, Inc. National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance, Inc National Organization for Women
National Organization for Women, Alaska
National Organization for Women, Baltimore City/County
National Organization for Women, Columbia (MO) Area
National Organization for Women, Seattle Chapter
National Organization for Women, Texas
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
National Women’s Law Center
National Women’s Political Caucus
New Moon Girls
Ni-Ta-Nee NOW (Centre County PA National Organization for Women)
North Jersey Sierra Group
Northern New Jersey NOW
Ohio National Organization for Women
Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition
Picture Social Justice, Inc.
Pinellas County National Organization for Women
Racial Unity Team (RUT)
Renew California
Saving Democracy Team of the Villages, FL
Shift Cultures: One Student
Shrewsbury, New Jersey, Democratic Club
Sociologists for Women in Society
South Jersey NOW-Alice Paul chapter
Southwest PA National Organization for Women
Sport Equity
Stop Sexual Assault in Schools
Tacoma NOW
The Hub Project
The Global Community of Women in High School Sports
The Goddess Temple of Palm Springs
The Unity Council
US National Committee for UN Women
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Dept. of Women’s Studies and Dept. of English Urban Learning Teaching and Research: American Ed Research Assoc: SIG ULTR Virginia NOW, Inc.
Washington State National Organization for Women Westchester NY National Organization for Women
Wild West Women, Inc.
Women Enabled International
Women Leading in Education Across Continents Women’s Equal Justice Project
Women’s Media Center’s
Women’s Sports Foundation
Women’s Studies Department, Old Dominion University YWCA USA

Additional Well Known Individuals who signed:

Lawrence Bloom, former Chicago City Council Member
Letty Cottin Pogrebin, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, writer and activist

SWS Condemns Atrocities at United States Capitol on January 6, 2021


Dear Colleagues,

Many of us have had our eyes glued to the news since January 6th, when urged by the United States President, a group of white supremacist domestic terrorists breached the United States Capitol in an effort to block the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election. In the days since the event, we have seen that the Capitol insurrection was far more serious and violent than what we even previously thought. Further, in stark contrast to the Capitol Police’s physical presence and their harassment and brutality towards Black Lives Matter protesters just this summer, many in the Capitol Police seemed to actively or passively aid domestic terrorists in their attack on the Capitol. These events were certainly unprecedented, but they were also not unexpected. For months, the President and his extremist supporters have been openly planning these events and literally telling us this would happen. In the days leading up to the inauguration, we may see more violence.

As an intersectional, anti-racist, feminist professional organization dedicated to promoting social justice and dismantling intersecting systems of oppression, Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) adds its voice to the growing number of organizations that strongly condemn the insurrection by white supremacist domestic terrorists last week. We hold the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, responsible for inciting this atrocity. We call upon our elected officials to hold him accountable for his actions. We support that the 25th Amendment be invoked, or the immediacy of impeachment proceedings. Additionally, we join other organizations in demanding a full investigation and the termination of any Capitol Police involved in aiding the domestic terrorists and the expulsion of any lawmakers who incited this violence through spreading lies/conspiracy theories about the 2020 Election.

However, this only addresses the events that occurred on January 6th. As sociologists, we need to better understand the conditions in which Donald J. Trump came to power and became increasingly fascist. Throughout campaign speeches and rallies since 2016, Trump has openly used ableist, sexist, racist, and/or xenophobic rhetoric to incite his base. And yet, he not only won the 2016 Presidential Election, more than 74 million people in the United States voted for Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election after his “ist” rhetoric had only become more blatant and overt and after he grossly mishandled a global pandemic that has resulted in more than 2.7 million people contracting the virus and the deaths of more than 367,000 people. Brown and Black people in the United States are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The COVID tracking project and researchers at Boston University report that Black individuals have “died at 1.6 times the rate of white people.” The Black Lives Matter protests of Summer 2020 and the growing documentation of the “Karen phenomenon” in which white women call the police to falsely claim criminal activity of Black people, particularly Black men, highlight a need to better understand deeply seated racism that permeates throughout the United States.

In short, we have been witnessing white supremacy in every layer of our government, in our healthcare system, in our academic institutions, and in our daily interactions. As sociologists, we can certainly increase our understanding of these processes that reproduce inequality, but we can also do more. In recent weeks, we have seen celebrations for the social justice work of Black women, but we have also seen calls from Black women for others to share the burden of this important work. Audre Lorde’s essay “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action” (1977) still inspires us to reflect and to act, particularly the following excerpt:

What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself – a Black woman warrior poet doing my work – come to ask you, are you doing yours?

Are we doing our work? We call our members to action, to reflect on these questions, and to get to work because clearly, we have a lot of work to do. We encourage members to attend relevant programming at our upcoming Winter Meeting and to stay tuned for future opportunities and resources for action from SWS.

In Solidarity,

SWS Council

January 13, 2021

The 2021 Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner is Laura Adler and the 2021 Honorable Mention Awardee is Sidra Kamran

Congratulations to Laura Adler, the 2021 SWS Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner, and to Sidra Kamran, the 2021 Cheryl Allyn Miller Honorable Mention Awardee!

Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) established The Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for graduate students and recent PhDs. working in the area of women and paid work: employment and self-employment, informal market work, illegal work. The award honors the late Cheryl Allyn Miller, a sociologist and feminist who studied women and paid work.

The 2021 Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner is Laura Adler.

Photo of Laura Adler

Laura Adler is a PhD candidate in sociology at Harvard University, where she works on topics at the intersection of economic sociology, organizations, gender, and cultural sociology. Her dissertation, “What’s a Job Candidate Worth? Pay-Setting, Gender Inequality, and the Changing Understanding of Fair Pay,” investigates how employers set pay and how organizations respond to pay equity laws. She uses multiple methods including in-depth interviews, archival research, and survey experiments to provide insight into pay-setting as an organizational practice and site for the reproduction of inequality. In new work, she is looking at the phenomenon of retaliation, proposing that instances of discrimination and harassment are only the beginning of a longer struggle over whether, when, and how to respond to the abuse of power.

Laura is a 2020-21 American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellow. Prior to her time at Harvard, she worked as an urban planner in New York City. She holds a Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley and a BA in the Humanities from Yale University.

Laura’s article, “From the Job’s Worth to the Person’s Price: The Evolution of Pay-setting Practices since the 1950s” focuses on how the pay-setting process changed over time. She documents a major shift from the 1950s, when employers determined pay using precise measures of the internal value of each job, to today, when employers rely almost exclusively on data from the external labor market including the candidate’s own past salary, viewed as their individual market price.

Drawing on a new database of 982 pay-related articles from the Society of Human Resources Management and 75 interviews with people who set pay, she first describes these two pay-setting practices. She then provides a historical account of the shift, in which one period served as a catalyst. Between 1980 and 1985, American courts concluded that pay inequality arising in response to market conditions was not discriminatory, even if the market systematically undervalued women’s jobs. She shows that human resources practitioners strategically adopted market-based practices to reduce their legal liability. She uses the case to suggest a new pathway for the expansion of market processes: professional groups shift controversial responsibilities onto the impersonal market, using the market as a responsibility abdication machine to distance themselves from discriminatory outcomes.

Photo of Sidra Kamran

Sidra Kamran, the 2021 Honorable Mention Awardee, is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at The New School for Social Research in New York. Her research and teaching interests include gender and sexuality, labor, economic sociology, social class, urban life, and global social theory. Her dissertation draws on interviews and ethnography in a women-only marketplace and a mixed-gender department store in Karachi to investigate why some occupations are associated with contradictory moral and economic statuses for women workers. She argues that working-class beauty and retail workers in Pakistan occupy a position of gendered status ambiguity and demonstrates how these workers leverage this ambiguity to maximize their economic and social status in different ways. Her other research uses digital ethnography and semi-structured interviews to explore emerging digital cultures among working-class women in Pakistan, with a special focus on TikTok. Her research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and The New School. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she was a Fulbright Scholar at The New School and researcher at the Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi. Sidra’s submitted article “A Patchwork of Femininities: Fluctuating Gender Performances in a Women-only Marketplace in Pakistan” is currently under revision at a peer- reviewed journal. In this article, Sidra examines gender performances in the context of social stratification and develops an account of working-class women’s gendered struggles for class distinction.

Special thanks to the Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Subcommittee Members: Tre Wentling (Chair), Suki Xiao, Rianka Roy, Sarah A. Robert, Lisa Dilks and Maria Cecilia Hwang.

We hope you will join us in congratulating Laura and Sidra, and that you will make plans to join us for the 2021 Winter SWS Awards Reception to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Please register here for the 2021 Winter Meeting.


Congratulations to Dr. Heather Laube, the 2021 SWS Feminist Mentoring Award Winner!

Photo of Heather Laube

Dr. Heather Laube is the 2021 SWS Feminist Mentoring Awardee

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 Corinne Castro (Subcommittee Chair,) Manisha Desai, Rebecca P, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Bandana Purkayastha, and Ashley Kim. The Subcommittee selected Heather Laube as the SWS 2021 Feminist Mentoring Award Winner.

Heather is an associate professor of sociology and core faculty in the Women’s and Gender Studies program at the University of Michigan-Flint. She served as the UM-Flint Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching Faculty Fellow for Mentoring and continues to work with a team of people on her campus to build and strengthen mentoring programs for faculty and staff. In 2015, she taught and researched at Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, as a Fulbright scholar. Heather has long been interested in how feminist academics find ways to remain true to their feminist ideals while also attending to the reality and goals of their professional lives. Her work explores how scholars’ feminist and sociological identities intersect with their institutional locations to offer opportunities to transform the academy. She has explored how innovative faculty mentoring programs might contribute to institutional change in higher education. Heather has served in a number of leadership roles in SWS. The organization and its members have been central to her development as a feminist sociologist, teacher, scholar, and colleague.

The nominators for Heather Laube were Jennifer Alvey, Sharon Bird, Tristan Bridges, Krista Brumley, Kris De Welde, Sasha Drummond-Lewis, Angie Hattery, and Sarah Sobieraj. In the collectively penned nomination letter, the writers enthusiastically describe how Professor Laube “takes feminist mentoring to an entirely other level.” Her work with individuals as well as organizations, such as SWS and the University of Michigan-Flint, to transform mentoring highlights Laube’s personal and scholarly commitments to this work. Speaking as her colleague at UM-Flint, Jennifer Alvey states the following: “her sustained and highly successful work revitalizing and re-envisioning the Faculty Mentor Program is a direct result of her research driven approach to identifying and solving problems, as well as to her ability to think creatively and foster the implementation of evidenced based best practices tailored to our unique circumstances. Heather’s mentoring in the department constitutes what I can only call a sea change.” The nominators also highlight Laube’s transformational work in re-envisioning the SWS Professional Needs Mentoring Program through adopting cutting edge best practices such as Mutual Mentoring models. Nominators also consider Laube a “holistic mentor” that “upends traditional expectations of mentoring as a senior-to-junior activity and instead approaches mentoring as a way of being, a way of caring, of advancing others regardless of their career stage.” Laube is also described as a “scout” for new feminist leaders on her campus and across SWS who need just a little bit of encouragement. However, the nominators make clear that “Professor Laube doesn’t just scout people. She also mentors by preparing organizations for the leadership they sometimes don’t know they need. While she is simultaneously mentoring a novice to take on their first leadership position, she is also preparing the organization for a leader who may be unconventional, someone who may not look like previous leaders, or who may work at an institution that is not typically at the table.” Sarah Sobieraj clearly conveys one of the many reasons why Heather Laube has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Feminist Mentoring Award: “Over decades of SWS summer and winter meetings, Heather has made a point of finding those who are at the literal margins — of the conversation, of the table, of the dancefloor– and working to welcome them in.”

We hope you will join us in congratulating Heather and that you will make plans to join us for the 2021 Winter SWS Awards Reception to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Please register here for the 2021 SWS Winter Meeting where we will celebrate with Heather.


Congratulations to Dr. Mary Romero, the 2021 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award Winner!

Photo of Mary Romero

Dr. Mary Romero is the 2021 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer

The 2021 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award Winner is Mary Romero. Thank you to the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Subcommittee that was comprised of Kimberly Kelly (Chair), Katie Acosta and Morgan Matthews. The SWS Distinguished Feminist Lectureship was founded in 1985 as a way of recognizing members whose scholarship employs a feminist perspective, and of making this feminist scholar available to campuses that are isolated, rural, located away from major metropolitan areas, bereft of the resources needed to invite guest speakers, and/or characterized by hostility to feminist scholarship. A key goal of the program is to provide a feminist voice on campuses where such a perspective is unusual and/or unwelcome. Please note that the Lectureship originally carried the name of Cheryl Allyn Miller, but now there is a separate Cheryl Allyn Miller Award.

Mary Romero is Professor Emerita, Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She served as the 110th President of the American Sociological Association. She is the 2017 recipient of the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, 2015 Latina/o Sociology Section Founders Award, 2012 Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award, the Section on Race and Ethnic Minorities 2009 Founder’s Award, and the 2004 Study of Social Problems Lee Founders Award. She is the author of Introducing Intersectionality (Polity Press, 2018), The Maid’s Daughter: Inside and Outside the American Dream (NYU, 2011), Maid in the U.S.A. (NYU, 1992), co-editor of eight books, and numerous social science journals and law review articles.

As noted in her nomination materials submitted by Bandana Purkayastha, Josephine Beoku-Betts, Melanie Heath, Georgiann Davis, Shobha Hamal Gurung, Vrushali Patil, and Ranita Ray:

“Dr. Romero’s work in Maid in America and The Maid’s Daughter remains pertinent to the immigration landscape in the U.S. today. The earlier book, not surprisingly, has remained in print for over 20 years. These books tap into a key theme—the need for decent work conditions. As the number of female workers have grown in the U.S., often, women and men in upper-level white collar jobs have used the labor of poor immigrant women to manage “family responsibilities.” This story needs to be told repeatedly if we are truly striving for equity, and Professor Romero has done so with great sensitivity. Importantly, Professor Romero has produced her analysis from her location in the state of Arizona where anti-immigration politicians have created a state of fear and hate for immigrants and people of color.”

The nominators also noted: “Professor Romero’s work with faculty and graduate students of color at Arizona State University is legendary. However, we have seen her quiet activism within SWS as she supported so many junior and senior faculty by lending an ear when they needed it, including them in programs she was involved in, and travelling to their universities to give lectures to show the strength of sociologists on campuses that had very few feminist scholars.”

We hope you will join us in congratulating Mary and that you will make plans to join us for the 2021 Winter SWS Awards Reception to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Please register here for the 2021 SWS Winter Meeting where you will have the opportunity to attend the Awards Ceremony where we will honor Mary.



Congratulations to Dr. Brittany Pearl Battle, the 2021 SWS Feminist Activism Award Winner!

Photo of Brittany Pearl Battle


Dr. Brittany Pearl Battle is the 2021 SWS Feminist Activism Awardee

The SWS Feminist Activism Award, established in 1995, is presented annually to an SWS member who has notably and consistently used sociology to improve conditions for women in society. The award honors outstanding feminist advocacy efforts that embody the goal of service to women and that have identifiably improved women’s lives. This year’s Feminist Activism Award Subcommittee included Karine Lepillez (Subcommittee Chair), Amy Blackstone, LaToya Council, Ophra Leyser-Whalen, and Cierra Sorin. The Subcommittee selected Brittany Pearl Battle as the SWS 2021 Feminist Activism Award Winner.

Brittany Pearl Battle is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Wake Forest University and a passionate scholar-activist. Her research interests include social and family policy, courts, social justice, carceral logics, and culture and cognition. She teaches courses on social justice in the social sciences, criminology, and courts & criminal procedure, and is currently designing a course on abolition and reimagining justice. Brittany’s scholarship has been funded by the Ford Foundation, American Sociological Association, and Sociologists for Women in Society, and she recently won the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice Praxis Award.

She is currently working on a book manuscript (under contract with NYU Press), “They’re Stealing My Opportunity to Be a Father:” The Child Support System and State Intervention in the Family, which examines the experiences of parents involved in the child support system using courtroom observations and interviews. The project illuminates the ways that the child support system functions as a neoliberal construct at the intersection of the welfare and criminal justice systems. Brittany is currently collaborating on a research project examining evictions in North Carolina, in a partnership with a local grassroots organization focused on housing justice. She is also working on an interview project with activists examining the pathways to abolition. Her activism as a founding member of Triad Abolition Project in North Carolina included organizing a 49-day occupation during the summer of 2020 to demand policy changes in response to the murder of John Neville in the local jail. The organization also hosts direct protest actions, civic engagement actions, and community political education sessions.

Brittany is also a founding Board of Directors member of the Ocean City Juneteenth Organization, which honors Black elders and ancestors in her hometown, and began a donation drive to the local Coalition Against Rape and Abuse in the name of a Black woman community member murdered in an act of domestic violence. She has been recognized with a New Jersey Legislature Senate and General Assembly Citation for her work with the Ocean City Juneteenth Organization, as well as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award from the City of Ocean City, New Jersey. Brittany regularly appears in local news media and engages in public scholarship on podcasts and community panels, and through her blog on her experiences as a Black woman on the tenure track.

Her work stands out for its timeliness, intensity, and the clear results and impact they have had in a short time on the lives of colleagues, students, and members of her community. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Brittany founded the Triad Abolition Project, mobilizing the organization for Occupy Winston Salem. Brittany worked with other organizers to put forth a set of demands to local government; they held educational events, community dinners, vigils, marches, and other actions that resulted in policy change at the county level. The county committed to notifying the public when an inmate dies in police custody and banned the use of “hogtie” restraints, among other changes. Brittany’s activism is also visible in her mentoring, particularly of first-generation, Black, and POC students. Noting her dedication and intersectional feminist work on issues of racial justice in her community and the demonstration of her exceptional commitment to intersectional feminist activism within her community, SWS is awarding Brittany Pearl Battle the SWS 2021 Feminist Activism Award.

Brittany’s nomination was submitted by Amanda M. Gengler, Andrea Gómez Cervantes, Victoria Reyes, Antonia Randolph, Bruce Jackson, Zawadi Rucks Ahidiana, and LaTonya J. Trotter. In her nomination package, it stated: “In the classroom, Dr. Battle also utilizes her scholar-activist framework to teach sociology and empower her students to work towards social change. In only her second year at Wake Forest, Dr. Battle has already created and taught four different classes, all utilizing a Black feminist framework to understand sociology. This is perhaps most visible in her Social Justice class, where she teaches students to question knowledge and power production in the pursuit of “justice.” Nonetheless, her most transformational acts of scholar-activism reveal themselves in the Teach-ins she organized during the Occupy Winston Salem work described earlier. Whether it was gathering on the sidewalk pavement in front of the local detention center, or sitting in a circle at a park, Dr. Battle broke the walls of the ivory tower bringing academia into the streets. With weekly, sometimes daily teach-ins, Dr. Battle brought together scholars, community organizations, and community members to talk about structural and local issues, on topics ranging from abolition to housing; the criminalization of Black youth, to immigration detention, and much more.”

We hope you will join us in congratulating Brittany and that you will make plans to join us for the 2021 Winter SWS Awards Reception to be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Please register here for the 2021 SWS Winter Meeting where you will have the opportunity to attend the Awards Ceremony.



2021 SWS Winter Meeting Registration System is Open

50 Years of SWS:

Embracing the Past, Analyzing the Present, Anticipating the Future

President-Elect, Mignon R. Moore

Photo of SWS President-Elect, Mignon R. Moore

January 27-January 31, 2021

To Be Hosted on: ePly Virtual Venue supported by MemberClicks

Click HERE to Register
2021 Winter Meeting Registration is Open to All SWS Members with 2021 SWS Membership
There is a voluntary registration fee and the optional opportunity to sponsor 2021 SWS Membership for your colleagues and students within the 2021 Winter Meeting Registration Form. 
Thanks to the generosity of our SWS Feminist Community, we are able to provide a limited number of 2021 SWS Memberships to those who would like to request a complimentary 2021 SWS Membership.
If you would like to request a sponsored 2021 SWS Membership for yourself, please fill out this form.

Program Committee Chair: S.L. Crawley

Program Committee Members: Paulina García-Del Moral, Ashley Green, Rebecca Hanson, Erica Hill-Yates, Tristen Kade, Barret Katuna, Zakiya Luna, Ana Rael, Natasha Santana

Theme: The 2021 Winter Meeting will commemorate 50 years of SWS!  Our programming will focus on the contributions to and impact that SWS has made on the discipline of sociology as we celebrate the progress we have made. It will also look towards the future by exploring how to build and retain connections to one another in ways that will make everyone in our community feel visible, included and heard. We will emphasize three areas: (a) gender non-binary and trans scholars, and how to make their experiences and sociological research on these areas visibly important to the organization and beyond; (b) race and ethnicity, looking intersectionally when considering the experiences of women in society; and (c) social class and the needs of scholars from under-resourced institutions or who have limited economic means. We will consider ways they can participate more fully in the life of the organization. Gender, race and class continue to be at the forefront of considerations that must be attended to for SWS to continue to grow and flourish in the 21st century. We will honor and build on the foundational work of those who established the organization, while we recognize and work on those issues that will help SWS reach its full potential.

Join/Renew SWS Membership 

Link for renewal: https://sws.memberclicks.net


All program participants (presenters, presiders, discussants, panelists, moderators, etc.) must be registered for the 2021 Winter Meeting by January 10, 2021. SWS Members with 2021 SWS Membership can register at no cost. You must pre-register in order to have access to the Virtual Venue.


Please direct questions to Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at swseo.barretkatuna@outlook.com

Learn more about the Presidential Plenaries HERE
Learn more about the “A Drink With A Genius” Celebration (January 28, 2021) in Honor of Tressie McMillan Cottom’s 2020 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship HERE