In memory of Helen: Scholar, community activist, and friend

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We have received that sad news that Dr. Helen Eigenberg, a friend, a pioneer in feminist criminology and a true community warrior, passed away last Friday after a long illness. Helen was a scholar, a teacher, and most importantly an academic who did what all academics must do, serve their communities. Helen made major research contributions in the areas of women and crime, victimology, violence against women, and male rape in prisons.

In 2017 Dr. Eigenberg was awarded the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award for her work in providing service to victims of sexual assault and violence on the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) campus and for establishing the Transformation Project at UTC. UTC Chancellor Steven Angle commented that “Dr. Eigenberg has contributed greatly to the well-being and safety of not only her campus, but her community and state, impacting victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.”

Helen’s record of community service included her membership on the Tennessee State Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Tennessee Victims of Crime State Coordinating Council (2006-2010) and as the faculty liaison for the Senator Tommy Burks Victim Assistance Academy which provides training for victim advocates throughout Tennessee. Dr. Eigenberg also played a major role in assuring that violence against women and the LGBTQ community were given significant attention in the design of law enforcement training curricula through the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC), Southeast Command and Leadership College.

Dr. Eigenberg received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Eastern Kentucky University and her Ph.D. from Sam Houston University. During her career she served as a Department Chair at Old Dominion University, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dr. Eigenberg also established an enviable record of leadership in the academy serving as Vice Chair and Executive Counselor for the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Women and Crime.

Throughout her career Dr. Eigenberg’s work was recognized over and over again. The American Society of Criminology awarded her their New Scholar Award (1995), their Inconvenient Woman Award (which recognizes the scholar/activist who has participated in publicly promoting the ideals of gender equality and women’s rights throughout society), and the Sara Hall Award (for service to the profession). She was selected as the Eastern Kentucky University Distinguished Alumnus in 1994. In 2000, she received the UTC College of Health and Human Services’ Research Award. In 2003 and 2005 she was selected for the UTC Grant and Program Review Research Award and in 2006 she received the College of Arts and Sciences Service Award.

Dr. Eigenberg’s contributions to criminological scholarship are too numerous to list in their entirety. Her 2001 book Woman Battering in the United States was a ground-breaking examination of intimate violence. Over her career she authored numerous book chapters and articles appearing in journals such as the American Journal of Police, Women and Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Review, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, Journal of Criminal Justice, Justice Quarterly, and The Prison Journal. In addition, Helen was the Editor of Feminist Criminology for four years, which is an international peer-reviewed journal.

Among her recent and widely recognized publications are:

  • Eigenberg, H. and Park, Seong min (2015).Marginalization and Invisibility of Women of Color: A Content Analysis of Race and Gender Images in Introductory Criminal Justice and Criminology Texts. Race and Justice.
  • Eigenberg, H. and Whalley, E. (2015). Gender and Publication Patterns: Female Authorship Is Increasing, But Is There Gender Parity? Women and Criminal Justice.
  • Eigenberg, H. and Policastro, C. (2015). Blaming victims in cases of interpersonal violence: Attitudes associated with assigning blame to female victims. Women and Criminal Justice.
  • Eigenberg, H., Kappeler, V. and McGuffee, K. (2012). Confronting the Complexities of Domestic Violence: A Social Prescription for Rethinking Police Training. Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations, 12(2), 122-145.
  • Hensley, C., Eigenberg, H., Gibson, L. (2012). Gay and lesbian inmates: Sexuality and sexual coercion behind bars. In L. Gideon (Ed.), Special needs offenders in correctional institutions (pp. 233-257). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Eigenberg, H., McGuffee, K., Iles, G. and Garland, T. (2012). Doing Justice: Perceptions of Gender Neutrality in the Jury Selection Process. American Journal of Criminal Justice. 37, 258-275.
  • Eigenberg, H. (2012). The National Crime Victimization Survey and Rape: Does it It Really Measure Rape Better Now That it Has Been Re-designed? In R. Muraskin (Ed.). It’s a Crime: Women and Justice 5th Ed (pp. 247-262). New York: Prentice Hall.

For many of us Helen was a friend and an inspiration. Many of us spent long nights, occasionally over a drink or two, talking with, arguing with and eventually agreeing with Helen. Dr. Eigenberg’s life was a model of academic/scholarly/community integration. It is a model that all academics should aspire to. Helen will be greatly missed.

-The Imagining Justice Editorial Board

Memorial donations in Helen Eigenberg’s name can be sent to: The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, 1800 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404.

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