Colleagues celebrated the life's work of retired Harvard University psychologist Rachel Hare-Mustin, PhD, as a pioneering feminist family therapist, feminist activist, postmodern theorist and mentor, at a presidential program at APA's 2006 Annual Convention.
"Among Rachel Hare-Mustin's contributions to psychology is her ability to identify and deconstruct notions that had gone unquestioned," said panelist Janis Bohan, PhD, of Metropolitan State College of Denver, noting that Hare-Mustin's analytic approach to understanding social and cultural biases and power differentials has helped a generation of psychologists rethink long-held assumptions.
For instance, Bohan and co-presenter Glenda M. Russell, PhD, of New Leaf: Services for Our Community in San Francisco, turn to Hare-Mustin's work when they often suggest that people framing the same-sex marriage debate in terms of its relationship to heterosexual marriage-rather than as an entity unto itself-muddle the debate.
"The discussion is couched in terms of difference...but that discussion is a ruse," Bohan said. "The real issue is not similarity or difference; the real issue is power and its distribution, just like [Rachel Hare-Mustin and Jeanne Marecek] pointed out is the case with gender."
At the end of the hour, Hare-Mustin, who is also the APA Council of Representatives Parliamentarian, noted: "The sense that [my] ideas hold and also further other people's thinking is very gratifying."
Additional speakers included session chair Jeanne Marecek, PhD, of Swarthmore College; Sharon Lamb, EdD, of Saint Michael's College; Eva Magnusson, PhD, of Umea University in Sweden; and Dana Becker, PhD, of Bryn Mawr College.