Every year, Feminist Theory and Gender Studies (FTGS) Section honors an Eminent Scholar
in International Studies for their contributions to feminist theory and gender studies. Scholars
nominated have made significant impact in pushing the boundaries of the subfield, and
advancing feminist scholarship through their teaching, mentoring and leadership. Further, they have distinguished themselves through commitment to the Section.
This year, we are very pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 Eminent Scholar Award is
conferred posthumously to Professor Geeta Chowdhry. Professor Chowdhry was a long-time
member of the ISA and served as the ISA Diversity Committee (2006-2008) and the ISA
Executive Council (2005-2006). She served FTGS in various capacities, as a Section Chair,
Program Chair and Vice Chair, Executive Council Member and on the Graduate Student Paper
Award Committee. As one of the first women of color to serve as a Chair of FTGS, Professor
Chowdhry brought her academic commitment to practice by creating institutional space for
other women of color.
Professor Chowdhry was a leader in the discipline. She was on the cutting-edge of feminist
post-colonial and race theorisations that expanded the study of International Studies and the
way we produce knowledge in the social sciences. Her research and community outreach work contributed to rethinking the discipline, the structures of feminist theory’s configuration, postcolonial and Global South approaches and South Asia. This work has not only expanded the boundaries of the field of International Studies, but also pushed feminist scholarship theoretically, methodologically, and empirically.
Professor Chowdhry has an exceptional record over decades of her academic career in creating institutional space for those marginalised in the academy and knowledge at the margins. She was instrumental in advancing the position and standing of scholars and students facing structural exclusions along intersecting lines of gender, racialisation and class in these programs and within and beyond the field of International Studies. Professor Chowdhry not only successfully developed and expanded programs in Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies, but she also served as the Director of both programs and took on countless (and often thankless) committee assignments, serving often as the sole woman and/or person of color on committees that otherwise invisibilised the efforts of faculty and staff pushing for curricular and racial diversity in the institution and programming. In her capacity as Chair of the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University, she ensured that her long running efforts to steer the curriculum toward more balance and provide a space for critical lines of inquiry in the graduate and undergraduate curriculum were sustained and advanced during her tenure.
It is with great pleasure that the FTGS confer the award of Eminent Scholar to Professor Geeta
Chowdhry for her impact on and service to the field. Like too many women scholars of color,
who go unrecognized in their lifetimes, Professor Chowdhry will not be able to accept the
award, but we hope that this recognition provides historical bookmark of the important legacy of her scholarship, commitment and care for her many students around the globe and across the years.
FTGS Eminent Scholar Award Committee
20 July 2021