Charles A. McCoy Career Achievement Award

Charles A. McCoy Career Achievement Award 

The Charles A. McCoy Career Achievement Award recognizes a progressive political scientist who has had a long, successful career as a writer, teacher and activist.

2020 Recipient:
Rosalind Petchesky, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

2020 Committee:
Manal Jamal (chair), Laurence Davis, Joseph Peschek, Joseph Schwartz (honorary)

Rosalind Petchesky, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Political Science, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, is the 2020 Charles McCoy Career Achievement Awardee. The committee felt that Rosalind Petchesky’s long career of outstanding activism, especially (but not only) in the area of reproductive and sexual rights, and her distinguished record of teaching and scholarship which reflect her enduring commitments to political and social justice make her a wonderful candidate for the Charles McCoy Career Achievement Award.

She is a leading theorist on international reproductive and sexual rights, and her longstanding career reflects a record of outstanding activism as well as a distinguished record of teaching and scholarship committed to political and social justice.

Drawing upon ethics, political philosophy, feminist theory, history, political science, sociology, demography, semiotics, and law, Petchesky integrates many types of scholarly analysis to clarify the issue of reproductive and sexual rights in the context of transnational feminisms and gender and economic justice. She is the author of Fetal Images: The Power of Visual Culture in the Politics of Reproduction » (1987), Abortion and Women’s Choice: The State, Sexuality, and Reproductive Freedom (1984, 2d rev. ed., 1990), Global Prescriptions: Gendering Health and Human Rights (2003), and Sexuality, Health and Human Rights (2008), co-authored with Sonia Correa and Richard Parker.

Along with these research contributions, she initiated and coordinated the International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG) in its work of assessing, across cultures, women’s own views of their reproductive and sexual lives. She is the editor of IRRRAG’s seven-country study, Negotiating Reproductive Rights (1998). She has also been part of the international consortium, Sexuality Policy Watch (, which has coordinated numerous multicountry, multisite comparative studies of national and international policies and practices affecting sexuality and sexual rights.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and honors including the First Distinguished Professor Lectureship at Hunter College and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s MacArthur Fellows (“genius”) Award, as well as grants from the United Nations Population Fund, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Conference Center, Aaron Diamond Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. The first edition of Abortion and Women’s Choice, which has been widely noted as a landmark study after it was first published in 1984, was winner of the American Historical Association’s 1984 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History and was cited by both the United States Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) and the Supreme Court of Canada.

In spring of 2013, Rosalind Petchesky retired from over twenty-five years of teaching at Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center (and nearly two decades teaching elsewhere before that). As Distinguished Professor Emerita, she is devoted to three main projects: political activism with Jewish Voice for Peace; renewed study of classical piano; and more time enjoying her two grandchildren, now living in Texas. Since retiring, Petchesky has published “Owning and Disowning the Body: A Reflection,” in The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Feminist Movements (2015). She is currently finishing a co-edited book with Sarah Sills and Esther Farmer, A Land with A People; and is working on a memoir on the roots of her Jewish feminist questioning of Zionism.

In earlier years, Professor Petchesky was chair of the trustee board of the London-based journal, Reproductive Health Matters, and a board member of the Women’s Environment & Development Organization. More recently, in addition to her ongoing work with Jewish Voice for Peace, she was a steering committee member of Jews Against Islamophobia-New York City, advisory board member of the LGBT Unit of Human Rights Watch, and a planning committee member for the Women’s March-New York City (2018-2019).

Past Recipients
2019: Joseph Schwartz, Temple University
2018: Cynthia Enloe, Clark University
2017: Mark Kesselman, Columbia University
2016: V. Spike Peterson, University of Arizona

Additional Recipients »

Manal Ahmad Jamal accepts the award on behalf of Joseph Schwartz, presented by Cynthia Enloe.

Deadline for nominations: April 1, 2021

Award Committee

Rosalind Petchesky, Chair
Hunter College and the Graduate Center (CUNY)
Terrell Carver
Bristol University
Laura Katz Olson
Lehigh University
F. Peter Wagner
University of Wisconsin – Whitewater