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 Victoria Reyes (Subcommittee Chair), LaToya Council, Mindy Fried, and Emmanuel David. The Subcommittee decided that Amy Blackstone will be the SWS 2019 Feminist Activism Award Winner. As part of this award, Amy will deliver her Feminist Activism Talk at the SWS Summer Meeting in 2020 to take place in San Francisco, California and will participate in a campus visit during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Amy Blackstone is a professor in Sociology and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, where she studies childlessness and the childfree choice, workplace harassment, and civic engagement. She is the author of Childfree by Choice: The Movement Redefining Family and Creating a New Age of Independence (Dutton, 2019). Professor Blackstone’s research has been featured by various media outlets including the Katie show, public radio, New York Times,Washington Post, BuzzFeed, USA Today, and Huffington Post. Her work has been published in journals such as Gender & Society,American Sociological Review, Law & Society Review, Sociology Compass, and others.
Heather McLaughlin, the central nominator of Amy Blackstone, shared the following:
“Beyond her scholarship and public sociology, Amy makes a difference in the lives of women in other ways: as a mentor, teacher, administrator, and community member. I first met Amy in 2004 when she was an Assistant Professor and I was an undergraduate student at the University of Maine. I would soon learn that Amy is a brilliant sociologist and a powerful activist, but she was important to me even before I knew these things about her. She was warm, kind, enthusiastic, and patient—qualities that allowed me to open up about my concerns and struggles as a first-generation college student. Amy was incredibly generous with her time and invested in me in a way that no other professor had. She was (and continues to be) there to listen, to brainstorm, and to offer expertise. Simply put, Amy’s mentorship has made me a better teacher, researcher, feminist, and human. Amy instilled a passion for social science research and activism, but her mentorship also gave me the confidence to believe in myself and pursue a career in academia.”
Of Amy’s commitment to gender equality and work toward that end, collaborator and current director of the Rising Tide Center Susan Gardner shared: Dr. Blackstone’s scholarship reflects her values as an academic citizen, colleague, and collaborator. She is devoted to creating change through the work she does and inspires excellence among all with whom she works. As a long-term collaborator of Dr. Blackstone’s, I have found her ability to work across disciplinary boundaries and navigate differences in disciplinary methodologies to be another one of her scholarly gifts. Most important, Dr. Blackstone uses the work she creates in the larger public sphere to foment change and make a difference. To me, this is the pinnacle of academic excellence.
Of Amy’s commitment to feminist social change in her community, Mabel Wadsworth Center Director Andrea Irwin said: Amy Blackstone has been an exemplary supporter, friend, and champion of the Center, lending her valuable expertise, energy, time and connections to ensure our success in meeting our mission. Independent abortion providers like Mabel Wadsworth Center depend on the support of volunteers and community members to keep our doors open. While non-profit fund and resource development can be intimidating for many, Amy enthusiastically welcomed the challenge, eagerly accompanying staff on key donor meetings. Amy has leveraged her local reputation and profile to bring awareness to the Center and invite others to learn more about our work by speaking publicly about the Center or co-hosting events. Most important, while her role at the University and national reputation as a feminist thought leader grows, she continues to hold space for community organizations like ours that are on the ground working to improve the lives of women and girls. Amy’s dedication to feminist social change shines through in everything she does and we are so grateful for her continued support.
We hope you will join us in congratulating Amy and that you will make plans to join us for the 2019 SWS Awards Reception to be held on Sunday, August 11, 2019 starting at 6:30 pm at the Hilton Midtown, New York, NY. More details will come soon regarding Summer 2019 Meeting Registration.