The Honorary Feminist Sociologist Distinction is presented annually to a feminist who is not a sociologist by training but has contributed significantly to the development of the field of feminist sociology. Established in 2021 under the leadership of then President-Elect Roberta Villalón, this initiative recognizes how the inherent interdisciplinary character of feminist theory and praxis has been fundamental to the development of feminist sociology. The work by feminists like bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Gloria Anzaldúa, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, and Maria Lugones, to name just a few, has been of great influence to our field by revealing nuances and complexities of social processes from angles that sometimes escape sociological research.
The President-Elect selects the annual recipient of the Honorary Feminist Sociologist Distinction and invites the awardee to participate at the SWS Winter Meeting to foster constructive interdisciplinary relationships among feminists who are devoted to advancing gender and sexual justice as well as dismantling intersecting systems of oppression.
The Inaugural SWS Honorary Feminist Sociologist Distinction was awarded to Dr. Ochy Curiel in 2022. Dr. Curiel is an Afro-Dominican feminist scholar activist who has been at the forefront of decolonial movements against heteropatriarchy, racism and capitalism. During her first years as a feminist, Dr. Curiel defined herself as a feminista negra lesbiana autónoma (autonomous black lesbian feminist). She has been very critical of the role that feminism emanating from the Global North as well as within Latin America has had in reproducing racial and colonial structures within the movement by silencing the voices of feministas negras. An anthropologist and singer songwriter, she teaches at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia where she leads the program on Gender Studies and the Universidad Javeriana, and is part of the Batucada Feminista de Bogotá. Dr. Curiel is one of the founders of the Grupo Latinoamericano de Estudio, Formación y Acción Feminista (GLEFAS, Latin-American group of study, formation, and feminist action) born out of the necessity to articulate feminist theory with praxis and center Latin American and Caribbean feminism against hegemonic feminist narratives.
She has numerous publications in various languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, French and English, such as “Identidades esencialistas o construcción de identitdades políticas: El dilema de las feministas afrodescendientes” (Essentialist identities or the construction of political identities: The dilemma of afro descendent feminists) (2005); “Critique postcoloniale et pratiques politiques du féminisme antiraciste” (Postcolonial Critique and Political Practices of Anti Racist Feminism) (2010); La Nación Heterosexual: Análisis del discurso jurídico y al régimen heterosexual desde la antropología de la dominación (The Heterosexual Nation: Analysis of the Juridical Discourse and the Heterosexual Regime from the Anthropology of Domination) (2013); Descolonización y despatriarcalización de y desde los feminismos del Abya Yala (Decolonization and Depatriarchalization of and from the Abya Yala´s feminisms) (with Maria Galindo) (2015); “Crítica Pós-colonial a partir das práticas políticas do feminismo antiracista” (Postcolonial Critique from the political practice of antiracist feminism) (2019); “The Contributions of Afro-descendant Women to Feminist Theory and Practice: Deuniversalizing the Subject “Women”” (with Ruth Pión) (2022); and “Constructing Feminist Methodologies from Decolonial Feminism” (2022), to name just a few (for more see, for example: https://repositorio.unal.edu.co/browse?type=author&value=Curiel%20 Pichardo,%20Rosa%20Yn%C3%A9s%20Ochy).
When Dr. Curiel was awarded the Inaugural Honorary Feminist Sociology Distinction at the 2022 SWS Winter Meeting, she gave a keynote that can be viewed on the SWS YouTube channel at Inaugural Honorary Feminist Sociology Distinction-Winter 2022 (in Spanish with English subtitles).Because she had been unable to travel for the 2022 meeting due to the Covid-related schedule change, Dr. Curiel joined the 2023 SWS Winter Meeting in New Orleans. Her session, “Decolonial Feminisms: An Interview with Ochy Curiel, Inaugural SWS Honorary Feminist Sociology Distinction Recipient,” was moderated by then Past President Roberta Villalón and can also be viewed at the SWS YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/jC8xuBUj2S0 (in Spanish with English subtitles).
SWS is honored to have been able to establish this transnational and interdisciplinary connection with Dr. Ochy Curiel, one of the most important decolonial feminists of our times.