The 2022 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award Winner is Dr. Marlese Durr. Thank you to the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Subcommittee that was comprised of Kimberly Kelly (Chair), Jill Bystydzienski, Christobel Asiedu, Margarita Levine, Marcella Gemelli, and Sara Tyberg. The SWS Distinguished 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, underfunded and without 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.
Marlese Durr is a Professor of Sociology at Wright State University, a Senior Fellow of the Yale University Urban Ethnography Project, and a Research Associate at the Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities at the University at Albany. Her research focuses on African American women in managerial positions in public institutions, alongside specialized interests in labor markets, social networks, entrepreneurship, inner-city neighborhoods, and stressful life events for African American women. She has served as the President of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) (2014-2015), Sociologists for Women in Society (2004-2005), and as a Chair of the Publications Committee for Sociologists for Women in Society. She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for Social Problems. Marlese is also a member of the American Sociological Association’s Publications Committee and serves on the American Sociological Associations W.E.B. Du Bois Career Distinguished Scholarship Committee. She is also a Founding Editorial Board Member of The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
Marlese has also served as a Franklin Fellow for The United States Department of State, Bureau of International Organizations, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural, Organization (UNESCO)- Social Science Advisor at the United States Department of State, Bureau of International Organizations (UNESCO), Postdoctoral Fellow on Stressful Life Events and Addiction Recovery in the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Program at the National Development Research Institutes (NDRI) in New York City, and Ohio Public Health Leadership (OPHLI) Institute Scholar, Columbus, Ohio. She was also a 2018 Summer at Census Scholar. In addition, she discussed her research with Deborah K. King entitled “Braiding, Slicing, and Dicing: The African American Woman‘s Home as a Site of Work, hosted by the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division of the U.S. Census Bureau.
She has served on the Editorial Boards of the American Sociological Review, Gender & Society, Social Forces, and Social Problems. In addition, she has served as a member of the Lewis Coser Theory Award Committee, The Max Weber Award Committee, the American Sociological Association Status on the Women Committee, and the Founding Editorial Board of the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.
Her publications include several publications on these topics (“The Donut Hole Experience: Using a Discerning Eye while Walking in Cities in For the Walking in the City: Quotidian Mobility and Ethnographic Method, Temple University Press, and “Small Town Life: A Study in Race Relations.” Ethnography, Vol. 11(1): 127–143. and “Sex, Drugs, and HIV: Sisters of the Laundromat,” “African American Women: Gender Relations, Work, and The Political Economy in The Twenty-First Century.“ Gender & Society, Vol. 16. N0. 4. with Shirley A. Hill. Additionally, she has published two edited books, The New Politics of Race: From Du Bois to the 21st Century (Praeger Press, 2002) and Work and Family, African Americans in the Lives of African Americans with Shirley A. Hill (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Dr. Durr is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
As noted in her nomination material collected by Manisha Desai, Bandana Purkayastha, and Margaret Abraham: “Apart from these testaments to her research excellence, it would be remiss of us not to mention Dr. Durr’s pioneering work in creating spaces of inclusion in the discipline. Since she was often among the first scholars of color to hold a variety of positions, she made sure that marginalized scholars could access these spaces and grow in stature in the discipline. Such transformation takes time and effort, and she has unstintingly provided that time to make Sociology a better, more inclusive discipline.
As her growing body of research shows, for hitherto marginalized groups, pioneering scholars have often had to both conduct the research and create the conditions of acceptance in the field. She has done so through both her scholarship and willingness to work with others.”
We hope you will join us in congratulating Marlese and that you will make plans to join us for the 2022 Winter SWS Awards Celebration. We will be honoring Marlese in person at the 2022 Winter Meeting at the Awards Banquet and Silent Auction on April 1, 2022.