Professor Emerita Joan Tronto Receives Benjamin E. Lippincott Award From APSA

Headshot of Professor Emerita Joan Tronto

Professor Emerita Joan Tronto has received the 2023 Benjamin E. Lippincott Award, presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA), for her book Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. The award recognizes a work of exceptional quality by a living political theorist that is still considered significant after a time span of at least 15 years since the original date of publication. 

In Moral Boundaries Tronto argues that care cannot be a useful moral and political concept until its traditional and ideological associations as a woman’s morality are challenged. She contests the association of care with women as empirically and historically inaccurate, as well as politically unwise, as members of unprivileged groups such as the working class and people of color also do disproportionate amounts of caring. Tronto presents care as one of the central activities of human life and illustrates the ways in which society degrades the importance of caring to maintain the power of those who are privileged. 

“I am both deeply honored and deeply humbled to receive this great recognition,” Tronto commented. “Receiving the Lippincott Award makes me hopeful that care will soon be taken seriously and broadly as a political idea and as a political ideal.”

Joan Tronto and dog

Joan Tronto is among the top 25 active political theorists and top 40 women political scientists in all fields. Tronto has also published Le risque ou le “care”, Caring Democracy: Markets, Justice and Equality, and Who Cares? How to Reshape a Democratic Politics, as well as more than 60 articles. She co-edited Women Transforming Politics with Cathy Cohen and Kathy Jones, and Posthuman and Political Care Ethics for Reconfiguring Higher Education Pedagogies with Vivienne Bozalek and Michalinos Zembylas. As of December 8, 2022, Tronto’s h factor is 40, indicating the productivity and citation impact of publications. Her works have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Polish, and Portuguese.

After teaching at Hunter College and the Graduate School at City University of New York from 1982-2009, Tronto taught at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities until her retirement in 2019. Her courses centered around political theory and highlighted her expertise in such areas as women’s studies and feminist theory. She served as the chair of the Department of Political Science from 2013-2016.  

Tronto chaired the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Political Science Caucus of APSA during 1993-1994. Among her other service to the Association, she served on the APSA Council from 1997-1999 and was Vice President of the Association during 2004-2005. She has served on the editorial boards of both The American Political Science Review and Perspectives on Politics.

While at the University of Minnesota, Tronto’s service extended well beyond the Department of Political Science. She was involved in such committees as the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Promotion and Tenure Committee, Advisory Committee to President on Selection of Regents Professors, the University of Minnesota Medical Center’s Fairview/University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital Ethics Committee, Committee on the Press, and Imagine Fund Advisory Committee. Additionally, Tronto was an Associate Faculty member for the Center of Bioethics, involved in the CLA Dean’s “Road Ahead Task Force'' on Research, and on the Board of Faculty Advisors with the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC).

Among her other academic honors, Tronto served as a Fulbright Fellow in Bologna, Italy in 2007. In 2008, she and Stephen Leonard were co-recipients of the first Okin-Young Award in Feminist Political Theory, awarded by APSA. At the University of Minnesota, Tronto was Scholar of the College of Liberal Arts from 2013-2016. She received the Brown Prize in Democracy in 2015 from Penn State University. In 2014 in the Netherlands, she was awarded a doctorate, honoris causa, by the Universite Catholique Louvain. She received the first Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence at Hunter College in 1990.

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