Prof. Thomas Teo earns award for ‘remapping boundaries of psychology’

Image announcing Awards

York University Professor Thomas Teo has been honoured by the American Psychological Association (APA) with the prestigious Theodore Sarbin Award. The award recognizes a body of work by a psychologist that demonstrates achievements in one of the areas that Theodore Sarbin contributed to, including innovative theoretical work that is “critical” in the broad sense of the term.

The award is sponsored by the Society for Theoretical & Philosophical Psychology (Division 24 of the APA), and was announced in August during the APA Convention in Chicago.

Professor Thomas Teo (centre) receives the Theodore Sarbin Award with Division 24 President Mary Beth Quaranta Morrissey and President-Elect Stephen Yanchar

Teo was recognized as an international scholar who is remapping the boundaries of psychology and raising new fundamental questions about dominant ways of theorizing about identity and subjectivity in psychology.

Mary Beth Quaranta Morrissey, president of Division 24 of the APA, said Teo has used theoretical, historical and conceptual means to challenge unquestioned assumptions, problematic concepts and research practices, with the aim of improving disciplinary, academic and societal conditions.

“His work has gone a long way in making critical psychology a legitimate field within psychology,” she said. “Thomas’s breadth of publications has been astonishing, not only in terms of quantity but also in terms of depth and interdisciplinarity.”

Teo has more than 100 academic publications and more than 100 refereed conference presentations, as well as 10 books. He has also contributed his leadership and service to Division 24 in his roles as member-at-large, international liaison, program Chair, president and former editor of the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology.

Teo is a professor of psychology in the Historical, Theoretical & Critical Studies of Psychology program at York University. He has been active in the advancement of theoretical, critical and historical psychology throughout his professional career. His research has been metapsychological, to provide a more reflexive understanding of the foundations, trajectories and possibilities of human subjectivity.

“I did not know Theodore Sarbin personally, but I knew some of his many works,” said Teo. “I have always been impressed by the depth and breadth of his psychological knowledge, his original ideas and his support for the marginalized. This academic habitus is hardly found nowadays and something that I aspire to. I am very honoured to have received this award.”