The American-based Association for Women in Psychology has awarded Professor Catriona Macleod the 2011 Distinguished Publication Award (DPA) for her book, 'Adolesence', pregnancy and abortion: Constructing a threat of degeneration.
Prof Macleod, Psychology Professor at Rhodes, humbly admitted that she did not know that her book, which is published by Routledge, was nominated and only learnt after the award that a member of the DPA committee nominated it.
The Association formed in 1969 at the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual convention was directly responsible for the establishment of the APA Division of the Psychology of Women (Division 35) in 1973.
According to the APA website, “Submissions are judged on creativity, methodological soundness, clarity, and importance to the understanding of women, gender issues, and sex roles.
“Awards are announced at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association and are given to books and articles that make significant and substantial contributions to research and theory that advance our understanding of the psychology of women and promote the goals of the Association for Women.”
Prof Macleod who was taken by surprise, said, she was completely bowled over by the award. “I have looked at the previous awards listed on their website and feel honoured that my name will appear alongside some of most famous women psychologists – people like Sandra Bem, Michelle Fine, Rachel Hare-Mustin, Rhoda Unger, Brenda Major, Carol Vance, Celia Kitzinger, Patricia Collins, Jill Morawski and Mary Crawford – people I am in awe of,” she said.
Carla Golden, Chair of the DPA Committee of the Association for Women in Psychology, said, “One of our committee members offered this assessment of your book, and the rest of us on the committee wholeheartedly agreed: This ground-breaking work shakes the foundations of developmental psychology’s modern fascination with ages and stages of development and the so-called ‘problem of teenage pregnancy.’
“Using feminist critical theory and post-colonialist interrogations of assumed constructs, this book thoroughly unravels the worn claim that teenage pregnancy is ‘the problem’. New ways of conceptualising unwanted pregnancy regardless of a woman’s age are girded by exacting evidence that invites the reader to understand the world differently.
“The central value of full reproductive choice for all women also informs the invitation to look at all women’s pregnancies as sites of autonomous action. Particularly engaging is a revisioning of adolescence as social trope with a peculiar colonialist sentiment to create the adolescent as “the other” rather than as a fully ‘developed’ person in her own right. Research and work with young people in general needs to be informed by this text, but it should be central reading for anyone working with young women in particular.”
Prof Fred Hendricks, the Dean of Humanities at Rhodes, congratulated Prof Macleod. He said the award was“fantastic news” and “richly deserved”.
Prof Macleod will attend the 37th Annual Conference of their Association which will be held in Palm Springs, USA during March, 2012.
Picture by Sophie Smith