There is little that York women’s studies Professor Andrea O’Reilly (BA Hons. '85, MA '87, PhD '96) hasn’t done when it comes to researching, writing and advocating for motherhood and mothering. She started a press, a journal and an association devoted to motherhood, designed the first university course on motherhood in Canada, and wrote and edited books on the topic, including the first ever Encyclopedia of Motherhood. In short, her research and what she has created is the motherlode of motherhood.
It is for her contribution – more than three decades of promoting the advancement of women in Canada’s universities and colleges – that O’Reilly has received the 2010 Sarah Shorten Award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
Left: Andrea O'Reilly
O'Reilly is founder and director of the newly launched feminist scholarly and activist organization, the Motherhood Initiative for Research & Community Involvement (MIRCI), developed from the former Association for Research on Mothering. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative, formerly the Journal of the Association for Research on Motherhood, now housed in the MIRCI along with Mother Outlaws, the International Mothers Network, the Young Mothers Empowerment Project and the Motherhood Studies forum. The MIRCI is also partnered with Demeter Press, which has two new titles out – Mothering Canada: Interdisciplinary Voices and Giving Breastmilk: Body Ethics and Contemporary Breastfeeding Practice.
In the newest CAUT bulletin, CAUT executive director James Turk called O’Reilly an illustrious scholar, a prolific writer and a devoted mentor and activist who “is a most deserving recipient of the Sarah Shorten Award.”
The Sarah Shorten Award was established in 1990 in honour of Sarah Shorten, who served as CAUT vice-president from 1982 to1983, and two terms as president (1983-1984 and 1984-1985), to recognize outstanding achievements in the promotion of the advancement of women in Canadian universities and colleges.
O'Reilly is also the editor and author of several books, including Toni Morrison and Motherhood: A Politics of the Heart (SUNY Press, 2004) and Rocking the Cradle: Thoughts on Motherhood, Feminism and the Possibility of Empowered Mothering (Demeter Press, 2006).
Her other honours have included 1998 and 2009 York Teacher of the Year awards and a 2007 Atkinson Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research.