Rosalind Pollack Petchesky
Position: Distinguished Professor
Campus Affiliation: CUNY Graduate Center
Degrees/Diplomas: BA Smith College, PhD Columbia
Research Interests: feminist theory, international relations, human rights
Prof. Petchesky received her B.A. summa cum laude from Smith College, where she was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After studying international law in France as a Fulbright Scholar, she received her PhD. in Political Science from Columbia University, specializing in political theory, international law and relations. After 15 years at Ramapo College of New Jersey, Professor Petchesky came to Hunter in 1987 to head the Women's Studies Program, in addition to teaching in the Political Science Department. In the fall of 2000 she joined the faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center in both Political Science and the Women's Studies Certificate Program. Her numerous articles and books on issues of reproductive and sexual rights have been translated into five languages and have influenced scholars, advocates and legal forums. The US Supreme Court cited her award-winning book, Abortion and Woman's Choice, in the landmark 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In 1995 Professor Petchesky was awarded a MacArthur Fellows Award, and in 2001 she was madea CUNY Distinguished Professor.
Professor Petchesky's work in the area of reproductive politics led her to found the International Reproductive Rights Research Action Group (IRRRAG), serving as its international coordinator from 1992 until 1999. Under her direction, IRRRAG's seven country teams conducted in-depth qualitative research among urban and rural women, across diverse age and ethnic cohorts, about their sense of entitlement to make reproductive and sexual decisions. The group implemented this research through advocacy and educational programs at the national and international levels, including at the UN population conference in Cairo (1994) and the World Women's Conference in Beijing (1995). The book containing the cross-country findings and policy implications of IRRRAG's work-Negotiating Reproductive Rights: Women's Perspectives Across Countries and Cultures-was published in 1998. Professor Petchesky has also been part of transnational women's coalitions working for women's rights and social justice in UN and other arenas and is a board member of WEDO (Women's Environment and Development Organization) and chair of the journal Reproductive Health Matters. She is a member of theexecutive committee of Hunter's PSC-CUNY chapter.
After September 11, Professor Petchesky engaged in a flurry of writing, teach-ins, and peace efforts along with others in CUNY and New York City. Her article, "Phantom Towers: Feminist Reflections on the Battle between Global Capitalism and Fundamentalist Terrorism," which originated as a talk for the Political Science Department's teach-in at Hunter, subsequently appeared in the Women's Review of Books, Ms. Magazine, the Economic and Political Weekly in India, and in Spanish, French and German versions in Latin America and Europe. Most recently, Professor Petchesky's research has focused on the intersections between human rights, health, gender equality and globalization. Her book on this topic, Global Prescriptions: Gendering Health and Human Rights, was published in 2003 by Zed Books in London and is distributed by Palgrave International in the United States. Her next book, Sexuality, Health and Human Rights, co-authored with Sonia Correa and Richard Parker, will be published by Routledge in 2008. Recently, Professor Petchesky has also been active working with the transnational group Sexuality Policy Watch (www.sxpolitics.org).