April 08, 2008

Society honors two SIUC sociologists

by Andrea Hahn

Kathy Ward

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Two Southern Illinois University Carbondale sociologists garnered recognition from the Midwest Sociological Society at its recent annual conference.

Kathryn B. Ward received the Jane Addams Outstanding Service Award and Jennifer L. Dunn received the Early Career Scholarship Award.

Ward's recent research and work took her to Bangladesh, where she established an award-winning blog, located at www.narijibon.com. The blog, she said, provides a communication device for women in a part of the world where "women experience low levels of education, few economic opportunities outside of garment, domestic and agricultural work, and high rates of violence against women."

Ward said she hopes her study of the way Bangladeshi women seek to empower themselves will help women in similar circumstances in other places to develop new strategies for taking a stronger, more secure place in society.

"In the intersection of my academic and personal life as a sociologist and feminist activist, I've always thought that we should step out from our offices, classes and theories and into real-life situations to see how they work, but also to use our experiences to transform our theories, classes and lives," she said.

The Women in the Profession Committee of the MSS, the group responsible for handling nominations for the Jane Addams award, stated in the description of the award that service to girls and women is under-rewarded. The award, according to the committee, is intended to reward that effort and to highlight those who seek to advance girls and women's issues.

Jane Addams (1860-1935), an Illinois native, was a pioneer social worker and feminist, and the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dunn's award is given as part of the society's efforts to encourage and develop scholars who are in the early stages of their academic careers. Eligible scholars must have received their terminal degrees within the previous 10 years. Dunn earned her doctoral degree from the University of California-Davis in 1999. She joined the SIUC faculty that same year.

Dunn said she was deeply honored to capture the award, particularly in its inaugural year.

"It is a huge honor," she said. "I am especially grateful for the support and the mentoring I have gotten from my department at SIUC."

Dunn's publications include six articles in peer-reviewed journals and a book, "Courting Disaster: Intimate Stalking, Culture and Criminal Justice." In 2004, the book won the Charles Horton Cooley Award for Recent Book or Article from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, a professional group of sociological scholars.

Dunn's recent publications include co-authoring the article, "Everybody's Got Choices: Victim Advocates' Constructions of Battered Women's Victimization and Agency," in "Violence Against Women," published in 2007, and articles on related topics in "Sociological Inquiry," "Sociological Focus," and "Social Problems."

Jennifer Dunn