The International Studies Association (ISA)-Canada Distinguished Scholar Award committee has nominated Professor Sandra Whitworth from York University as the ISA-Canada 2016 Distinguished Scholar. The International Studies Association (ISA) is the premier organization for connecting scholars and practitioners in fields of international studies. It has been in existence since 1959.
Whitworth, a professor of political science, is a leader in feminist approaches to International Relations, especially in relation to security, peacekeeping and human rights activism. She has played a major part in promoting work in this area as well as shaping the way in which the key issues are studied and analyzed. Her 1994 book Feminism and International Relations set much of the groundwork for the development of feminist International Relations as a specific approach in the field. Similarly, Whitworth’s 2004 book, Men, Militarism and UN Peacekeeping: A Gendered Analysis has been praised for its unique contribution to some of the field’s foundational concerns about war and peace.
Whitworth has demonstrated leadership is encouraging, cultivating, and defending quality feminist scholarship within the field, specifically through her six years as the editor of the International Journal of Feminist Politics. She has also made significant contribution to teaching materials in the field of international relations through her textbook International Relations, now in its third edition. Whitworth has made contributions to global political debates, notably through her 2002 award-winning report for the United Nations on Women, Peace, and Security. Whitworth’s other honours include being selected as the Henrietta Harvey Distinguished Lecturer at Memorial University in the Fall of 2012.
Whitworth was also the 2012 recipient of the Eminent Feminist Scholar award from the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section of the International Studies Association. A special panel was held in Whitworth’s honor. It honored her contribution to the development of “feminist International Relations” as a distinct “discipline” through her scholarship, and even more, through her pedagogy. She was central to the formalization of the Women and Politics field at the Department of Political Science at York.
A highly valued member of the York community, Whitworth has served as the Graduate Program Director of the graduate programs in Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. She has supervised a large number of graduate students who have gone on to become noted scholars of International Relations in academic institutions.
Admired by many, one of her former students, now an accomplished feminist scholar, described Whitworth as the “educator” of an entire discipline. When she received her distinction as the Eminent Feminist Scholar in 2012, her citation read as follows: “She teaches us that the very best teachers are the best learners who see themselves as educable at every moment. This takes a certain amount of humility… humility in the service of a greater purpose, a purpose larger and more collective than merely securing one’s own authority in the field. Her commitment is to feminist transformation and emancipatory politics, and to that humility in the service of a greater good.”