The Iris Marion Young Award: Call for Nominations | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

The Iris Marion Young Award: Call for Nominations

To read our call for 2014 nominations, click here.  Find out more about the 2013 event below.

Events: Iris Marion Young Award and Lecture   

Nancy Glazener

Associate Professor of English

The 2013 Iris Marion Young Award Ceremony and Lecture was a great success, but a slightly new model for the event is in the works for 2014.

This past year’s Young Lecture and Awards Ceremony was held on October 24, 2013.  Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, delivered a stirring lecture that followed up 20 years later on her landmark study – Death Without Weeping:  The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil (1993; about to be reissued) – of the cultural effects of child mortality in an impoverished Brazilian shantytown.  Scheper-Hughes was selected because of her outstanding records of scholarship and activism, which she has continued in her recent work about global trafficking in human organs. 

Nancy Scheper-Hughes delivering the 2013 Young Lecture.

The truly remarkable 2013 winners of the Iris Marion Young Awards for Political Engagement honored at the event were:

1) Audrey-Marie H. Winn, an undergraduate majoring in Philosophy, Chinese, and English Writing.  Winn has worked as a reading tutor and literacy activist and a legal intake intern for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and last summer she began documenting the lives of migrant workers while living and working in Chengdu, China.

Undergraduate Awardee Audrey Winn.

2) Alicia Williamson, a new PhD and visiting postdoctoral lecturer in English, who won the graduate student award for her work as a founding member of Pittsburghers for Public Transit.


Graduate Awardee Alicia Williamson.

3) Sherdina D. Harper, who won the staff award for her exemplary work as Coordinator of Cross Cultural Programming at Pitt.  Harper advises several student organizations at Pitt (including Rainbow Alliance, Black Action Society, and Campus Women’s Organization) and oversees Allies Training for staff and faculty about how to support LGBTQ students.

Staff Awardee Sherdina Harper (right), and her nominator, Deborah Walker (left).

4) Jessie B. Ramey, currently an ACLS new faculty fellow in women’s studies and history at Pitt, won the faculty award for her activism on behalf of public education in Western Pennsylvania.  She is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Great Schools Coalition and the lead author of the blog Yinzercation, working in both forums to improve public schools and public school funding.  Ramey has twice been invited to the White House to meet with President Obama’s senior policy advisors about educational issues.  Ramey is the author of Childcare in Black and White:  Working Parents and the History of Orphanages (University of Illinois Press, 2012), which has won numerous prizes. 

Iris Marion Young, a feminist philosopher who also wrote about public policy issues, was a faculty member in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) and an active member of the Women’s Studies Program steering committee during the 1990s.  After her death in 2006, the Women’s Studies Program collaborated with GSPIA to create the Young Award for Political Engagement, which honored Young’s activism as well as her scholarship about social justice.  The Young Awards have been presented for several years in conjunction with academic lectures about topics in social justice, but one of the most memorable features of each year’s event has been the remarks of the award winners, which have offered vivid glimpses of the activist work going on in and beyond the Pitt community.

Now that GSWS offers a star-studded lineup of lectures every year keyed to the current research theme, GSWS and GSPIA have decided to focus the Young Awards Ceremony on activism serving social justice, especially local activism. The 2014 Young Awards will feature a panel discussion about Race and Education in Pittsburgh.  The event will be held Thursday, November 6, at the Twentieth Century Club, and the panel will include 2013 Young Award winner Jessie B. Ramey.



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