SWS Celebrates Dr. Sharon Harley, SWS 2023 Honorary Feminist Sociologist

The Honorary Feminist Sociologist Distinction, established in 2021, is presented annually to honor the contributions of feminists who are not sociologists to the field of Feminist Sociology. This initiative recognizes the inherent interdisciplinary character of feminist theory and praxis and how it 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. 

This award offers an “Honorary Feminist Sociology Distinction” to scholars and activists that have allowed Feminist Sociology to grow and foregrounds the cross-disciplinary links of Feminist Sociology.  

The 2023 SWS Honorary Feminist Sociologist Distinction Awardee is Dr. Sharon Harley. Sharon Harley is a Professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Maryland. Sharon researches and teaches black women’s labor history and racial and gender politics.

Her work in this field began with the co-edited anthology with Roslyn Terborg Penn, The Afro-American Woman:  Struggles and Images in 1978 and in 1987 another pioneering volume, Women in Africa and the African Diaspora.  Sharon was later the principal investigator on two projects supported by the Ford Foundation that led to major anthologies on women and work, namely, Sister Circle:  Black Women and Work (2002) and Women’s Labor in the Global Economy:  Speaking in Multiple Voices (2007).  In 2019, she received a major grant from the Mellon Foundation for the project, “African/Black Diasporan Studies:  Academic and Public Discourse.”

Sharon has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as well as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, and the National Humanities Center at the Research Triangle, North Carolina. In 2010, she was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Medallion for Outstanding Scholarship. 

Sharon has served as chair of the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service’s Mary McLeod Bethune Commission, and former chair of Letitia Woods Brown book/article prize committee. As an active public historian, Sharon has given lectures and served as a consultant with numerous museum projects and directed an award-winning teaching training institute in multiculturalism for the Prince George County Public School System. Sharon was selected by her students as one of the top-rated faculty in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland in 2019.

During the 2023 SWS Winter Meeting, Sharon participated on a Presidential Panel: Intersecting Identities and Communities in Migrations and Sexualities. We hope you’ll join us in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 19 from 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm for Sharon’s talk: “‘Have More Brains on the Fingers of My Hand than…’: Nannie Helen Burroughs’s Courageous Crusade for Feminist Equality and Social Justice.” Please visit: https://sws.memberclicks.net/2023summerreg.

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