Watkins-Hayes earns ASA’s Distinguished Scholarly Book Award

June 18, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Jean E. Fairfax Collegiate Professor of Public Policy and incoming associate dean for academic affairs, for receiving the Distinguished Scholarly Book Award from the American Sociological Association. This award is given to the single best sociology book published in the three preceding calendar years. Watkins-Hayes is also Professor of Sociology and holds a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship at the University of Michigan. 

Watkins-Hayes received the award for her book Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Inequality. The book maps the success of the HIV/AIDS community over the last 40 years and describes how the HIV/AIDS epidemic can guide us through today’s public health crises. It has received over seven awards and recognitions from organizations such as the American Sociological Association, National Women’s Studies Association, Eastern Sociological Society, Association for Humanist Sociology, Association of Black Sociologists, Association of American Publishers, and the Independent Publishers Association.

“My decades long research into the HIV epidemic tells me that it is critical to tell a comprehensive story of this massive shift, incorporating diverse voices who made enormous contributions over the years to fighting this epidemic,” Watkins-Hayes told Michigan News. “It is also important to understand the work that remains—confronting disparities, shoring up the resources needed to end the epidemic and never forgetting those who we lost.”

Watkins-Hayes spent over a decade recording and researching the experiences of more than 100 women diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. She employed this data to take “readers on an uplifting journey chronicling women’s movements from ‘dying from’ to ‘living with’ to ‘thriving despite’ HIV/AIDS as they fight for their physical, emotional, and political survival.” Throughout the book, Watkins-Hayes details how different stakeholders can collaborate to support those living with HIV/AIDS and provides policy recommendations to end the epidemic.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to receive this award,” Watkins-Hayes said. “I thank the HIV community, my colleagues, family, friends, the American Sociological Association, the University of California Press, and all those fighting to end the epidemic and the inequities that drive it.” 

This story was written by Olivia Bradish (BA '23).