Joan Acker 1924-2016

It is with sadness that we acknowledge the death of Joan Acker a Professor from the University of Oregon in the US on the 22nd June 2016. Joan was a renowned feminist, sociologist, educator, researcher and writer who carried on working in her eighties.

I had the pleasure of working with Joan as guest editor on compiling a special edition of articles for the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Journal in 2012 for an edition that celebrated her contribution to theorising gender and organisation.   What was exciting about working with Joan was her generosity to other academics, as she reviewed the other academics contribution for this journal which underpinned her claim that academic dialogue is needed to bridge the generations between academics. In her work on gendered processes in organisations she outlined the reoccurring need to be reflexive about inequalities regimes and new patterns of gender, class and race inequalities. It the continuing existence of these gendered, racial and class sub-structures that continue to make discussion about outcomes linked to the intersectionality of class, gendered and racial processes relevant to theorists today.

What came through from Joan was her humanity whether it was towards her family, or to other activists or academics.  She was always an approachable feminist academic who was driven by the belief that academics in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion can make a difference. She was supportive but clear-sighted when advocating change.  Even in 2011 she considered that there was still work to be done by academics to challenge ideas of gender neutrality within the idea of the abstract worker as well as recognising the complexity of other competing forms of inequalities in periods of crisis.

She will be much missed.

Dr Susan Sayce

Co-editor Interdisciplinary perspectives on Equality and Diversity

Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia


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