The 2015 Victoria Schuck Award committee recognizes Defying Convention: U.S. Resistance to the U.N. Treaty on Women’s Rights (Cambridge) by Lisa Baldez of Dartmouth University. In Defying Convention, Baldez addresses important and regretfully neglected puzzles regarding the failure of the U.S. to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In doing so, Baldez provides an extremely valuable, well-researched examination of what is at stake in the ratification of CEDAW, how CEDAW and its impact have evolved over time (and why), and the consequences of U.S. non-ratification for women in the U.S. and around the world. As only one of seven nations that have failed to ratify this important treaty, the U.S. provides an ideal context for assessing the impact of gender and feminism on the formation of international frameworks and norms regarding inequality.
Drawing from archival and secondary sources, direct observation, and multiple data sources, Baldez offers a nuanced, complicated, and politically, institutionally, and historically sensitive argument. Her careful attention to formal deliberations, debates between competing women’s groups, and mobilization of rhetorical strategies in solidifying women’s rights globally is particularly commendable. Defying Convention is a well-grounded transnational feminist study, one that carefully avoids using the U.S. or Western frames to critique non-Western nations. In this respect, it exemplifies the best of transnational feminist political analysis. Indeed, Defying Convention is a sub-field and discipline boundary crossing work that should be of interest to students not only of international relations, but also of American politics, legal theory, comparative politics, and women’s and gender studies. It is also a text with relevance to policy-makers and activists beyond the academy. We are pleased to recognize this very important contribution to the study of women and politics.
Christina Wolbrecht, University of Notre Dame
Nikol Alexander Floyd, Rutgers Universitydies
Beth Reingold, Emory University
Recipients: Lisa Baldez
Title: Defying Convention: U.S. Resistance to the U.N. Treaty on Women’s Rights, Cambridge University Press