Winter 2023 Award Winners

Congratulations to Dr. Kirsten Dellinger, the 2023 SWS Feminist Activism Award Winner!

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 Ghassan Moussawi (Subcommittee Chair), Brittany Battle, LaToya Council and Rocio Garcia. The Subcommittee selected Kirsten Dellinger as the SWS 2023 Feminist Activism Award Winner.

Kirsten Dellinger is a Professor of Sociology and the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi (2018 to present). She formerly served as Department chair in Sociology and Anthropology for 11 years (2007-2018).  She received her B.A. degree in psychology at Rollins College and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She brings a feminist sociological approach to bear on efforts to identify and address racial, gender, and sexual inequalities in department and university settings. She has helped build the Pathways to Equity plan for the College of Liberal Arts to create policies and practices that support faculty, staff, and students in their work.  As part of this effort she is leading the first cluster hire initiative to bring diverse and cutting-edge research, teaching, and scholars to the College at the University of Mississippi. She is currently collaborating with campus partners to seek funding from NSF ADVANCE Catalyst and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence 3 initiatives to foster institutional transformation in STEM and beyond.

Her research and teaching interests focus on gender and sexuality through intersectional and qualitative lenses to better understand the dynamics of workplace culture, inequality, and social change. She has mentored over 50 graduate students in their research on these and related topics.  She co-edited a book with Christine L. Williams entitled Gender and Sexuality in the Workplace (Emerald). She has published articles on workplace culture and sexual harassment, the construction of masculinities in organizations, workplace dress norms, and the dynamics of gay friendly workplaces, in journals such as the Annual Review of Sociology, Gender & SocietySocial Problems, Gender IssuesSexuality Research and Social Policy and Sociological Spectrum. She has also published work on the methodological implications of disaster research in the context of Hurricane Katrina and a variety of articles on the Global South.

She has been actively involved in campus and national organizations that promote gender and racial equality including the University of Mississippi’s Sarah Isom Center for Women/Gender Studies, the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women, the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement’s Diversity Liaison Committee, the Slavery Research Group, the Chancellor’s Committee on Sensitivity and Respect, Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS), and the American Sociological Association’s Committee on the Status of Women. She recently served on the executive committee for the Southern Sociological Society and has been an editorial board member for academic journals including Gender & SocietySocial Problems, and Social Contexts.

Kirsten’s central nominator, Christine Williams indicated, “For the past four years, Kirsten has held the position of Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Mississippi. She is the first person to occupy this position. In this role, Kirsten has engaged in strategic planning and built an infrastructure for DEI programming from the ground up. Providing direct support for the hiring, promotion, and retention of Black faculty is central to her work. To this end, she has instituted cluster hires, improved the faculty search process, and increased available resources for faculty research.  She also supports Black students from recruitment to graduation and beyond. Kirsten uses her significant background and expertise in sociology to promote feminist social change at the University of Mississippi.”

Kirsten has been a leader in promoting gender equity at the University of Mississippi. Through her service on the Pay Equity committee (part of the Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women), she co-wrote a report which led to increases in pay for many women faculty on campus. That report also looked at the impact of racial inequality on pay. With other feminists, she started “Equal Pay Day”–handing out “pay day” candy bars at the Student Union. The Provost at the time, Carolyn Staton (the first and only woman Provost at the University) implemented the recommendations of the report.

As a faculty member and as Chair, Kirsten is a highly visible proponent and supporter of feminist and anti-racist student groups. As her CV attests, she has participated in numerous panels related to gender and race equality and diversity. She makes herself available to student groups working for equality on campus and participates in student-led protests to support their work. For example, the movement to combat sexual assault on her campus is growing in part thanks to the emergence of a student group on campus called RASA (Rallying Against Sexual Assault). This group was founded by one of her students in her Sociology of Gender course.

Congratulations to Jun Zhou, 2023 SWS Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner!

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 2023 Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner is Jun Zhou.

Thank you to the Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Subcommittee that included Laura Bunyan (Chair), Suki Xiao, Rianka Roy, Sarah A. Robert, and Lisa Dilks.

Jun Zhou is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan, a student affiliate with the Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics, and a certificate holder in the Science, Technology & Society Program. Her research interests intersect gender/sexuality, political economy, and science and technology studies.

Jun’s dissertation project is a comparative study of gender in the political economy by tracing the varying human-machine relations across China’s manufacturing and digital labor regimes. Specifically, drawing on ethnographic and historical methods, this project looks at how digital technologies such as algorithms reconfigure human-machine relations in digital workplaces compared to those in the pre-digital age. Juxtaposing the panopticon-style machinery on assembly lines that restrict women’s body in time and space and present-day technologies of tracking, surveilling, and valuing on digital platforms, the project attends to both the continuities and ruptures of (apparently) new digital machinery with antecedent forms of capital accumulation and state control.

Jun’s article looks at how women negotiate work-family relations when the family is internal to their work and how much autonomy women can attain during this process. Drawing on ethnographic data in Chicago’s Chinatown and in-depth interviews with immigrant women entrepreneurs, the article examines how women construct the boundary between “family” and “business” even though the business-making practices in the market are undergirded by the thick gendered kinship relations grounded in the family. The article offers implications of their entangled work-family experiences on the implicit power relations and inequalities in the increasingly informal and irregular workplace against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and mass unemployment.

Jun is the recipient of the ASA Economic Sociology section 2022 Best Student Paper in Economic Sociology and Entrepreneurship Award, the ASA Family Section 2022 Linda Burton Award, the 2022 McGuigan Prize for Best Graduate Essay in Women’s and Gender Studies at University of Michigan, and the 2020 Raymond Fogelson Award for Best Master Thesis in the Ethnological and Historical Sciences at University of Chicago.

Congratulations to Kavya Subramaniam, the 2023 SWS Undergraduate Social Action Award Winner!

The Undergraduate Social Action Award is given annually to recognize students or a team of students making a substantial contribution to improving the lives of women in society through activism. SWS initiated this award in 2003. The work honored by this award is central to the SWS goal to foster activism for women. SWS recognizes that action “for women” does not mean that the work was done “with women” or even “by women.” Substantial need exists for social action working with working with men, boys, LGBTQ communities and other groups where change will benefit women and can be understood as feminist action. Therefore, SWS recognizes work done in this spirit regardless of applicant gender identity. A special thank you to the SWS 2023 Undergraduate Social Action Subcommittee: Kris De Welde (Co-Chair), Heather Hlavka(Co-Chair), Marley Olson and Melody Huslage. In 2022, we are pleased to announce that Kavya Subramaniam is the 2022 Undergraduate Social Action Awardee. Thank you to Dr. Clare Daniel for nominating Kavya for this prestigious award.

Kavya Subramaniam is a fourth-year student at Tulane University studying Neuroscience and Philosophy. She is currently serving as the Executive Coordinator of Big Easy EC, a local organization dedicated to providing free and confidentially delivered emergency contraception and pregnancy tests to students 24/7. Kavya has been involved in various aspects of reproductive justice work on Tulane’s campus, including serving as a peer advocate through Tulane’s Sexual Aggression and Peer Hotline Education Program (SAPHE) and as an Emergency Medical Technician through Tulane EMS.

As noted in her nomination materials submitted by Dr. Clare Daniel: Upon being elected to her position as executive coordinator, Kavya took the initiative to create a handbook for all volunteers, which explains the procedures and considerations that ensure the safety of volunteers and facilitate access to EC, pregnancy tests, and other sexual and reproductive health resources. Kavya has also worked hard to ensure a consistent supply of EC and other sexual health materials in the midst of a national EC shortage. She manages a team of 33 volunteers and oversees outreach for the organization. In this post-Roe era, in which there is no access to legal abortion in the state of Louisiana, the work of Big Easy EC has become increasingly important, and Kavya has stepped up to the task of leading them with the utmost skill and thought.

Moreover, Kavya maintains a rigorous academic course load and various other extracurricular commitments, including as a member of the Sexual Aggression Peer Hotline and Education and an emergency medical technician for Tulane University and the City of New Orleans. Tulane’s community has benefited immensely as a result of her time here.

Congratulations to Dr. Zakiya Luna, the 2023 SWS Feminist Lecturer Award Winner!

The 2023 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award Winner is Dr. Zakiya Luna. Thank you to the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Subcommittee that was comprised of Shobha Hamal Gurung (Chair), Christobel Asiedu, Jill Bystydzienski, Margarita Levine, Sara Tyberg, and Marcella Gemelli. 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.

Zakiya Luna is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Dean’s Distinguished Professorial Scholar at Washington University in Saint Louis. Her research, teaching and community work focus on social movements, reproduction, human rights, and intersectionality. She has published multiple peer-reviewed articles and chapters and secured multiple grants including from the National Science Foundation. Her research on the reproductive justice movement includes the book Reproductive Rights as Human Rights: Women of Color and the Fight for Reproductive Justice (NYU Press), which was included on the Oprah Daily list “The 12 Books You Need to Read Post the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade Smackdown.” She is coeditor of Black Feminist Sociology: Perspectives and Praxis (Routledge) with Whitney Laster Pirtle. Her other writing includes contribution to Ms. and Refinery 29. Professor Luna earned a joint PhD in Sociology and Women’s Studies from University of Michigan, where she also earned a Master of Social Work. She was a University of California (UC) President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley affiliated with the Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies, Sociology and the Center for the Study of Law and Society. She was hosted by the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law, which she accidentally helped co-found (long story). She was also the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Human Rights Postdoc at University of Wisconsin, a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow and member of inaugural cohort (2019) of Society of Family Planning Changemakers in Family Planning.

As noted in her nomination materials collected by Victoria Reyes and Whitney Pirtle:

Dr. Luna is a dedicated teacher, a key part of her feminist praxis. She has developed many  courses in order to teach students about feminist and sociological principles, including seminars  of Intersectionality, Gender, Race, and Class, Reproduction, Reproductive Justice, Sociology of  Gender, and Social Movements. Innovation, just as in her research, is also found in her  pedagogy. For example, she was part of the collaboration between the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law /Center for Race and Gender that created the Center for Race & Gender Reproductive Justice Working Group while a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and has advised many students in the area of gender, sexuality, intersectionality, reproductive justice and social  movements

For example, she was [part of the collaboration between the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law /Center for Race and Gender that created of the Center for Race & Gender Reproductive Justice Working Group] while a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and has advised many students in the area of gender, sexuality, intersectionality, reproductive justice and social  movements. In recognition of her excellence in mentoring even at an early stage in her career, she was the inaugural recipient of the Sociology Outstanding Graduate Student Mentor Award while a graduate student at Michigan.  …

Dr. Luna has also established herself as one of the most visible advocates of Black feminist  sociology and praxis with an inspiring record of service, community activism and public  scholarship. She has worked and marched alongside activists to increase rights for women of  color in particular. Her commitment and labor for social justice in the academy and beyond was  evident in graduate school. Four scholars, Drs. Hirschfield, Kazyak, Pfeffer, and Scherrer all met Dr. Luna while they were all in graduate school together and note that even then, “Dr. Luna  quickly emerged as a leader at UM, working to organize across several cohorts to ensure  graduate student rights and well-being, particularly among those most marginalized within the  discipline.”  …

Dr. Bridges, a former colleague of Dr. Luna’s when she was at University of California, Santa  Barbara, writes that her feminist praxis also “left a lasting impact on our department, having  instituted many changes that have made work in the department more equitable, transparent, and  considered with shared goals in mind.” Her current WUSTL colleagues agree to the transformative character of Dr. Luna’s scholarship and praxis, note in their supporting letter that “Her commitment to forging collaborative networks that directly draw power from, as well as speak to, reproductive justice activists epitomizes the promise of an engaged, public sociology.  And of course, this work has never been more urgent following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe earlier this year.”

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