BU prof’s book recognized for significant contribution to understanding #MeToo

An influential book co-authored by Brandon University sociology professor Dr. Christopher J. Schneider is receiving further recognition for its profound impact in its field.

“Defining Sexual Misconduct: Power, Media, and #MeToo” has been named the winner of the 2024 MSS Distinguished Book Award, presented by the Midwest Sociological Society, an international professional association of around 1,300 sociologists. The award is presented to a book that makes “an exemplary, original, and substantive contribution to sociological understanding,” according to the MSS. It’s the third major distinction for the book, which Dr. Schneider co-wrote with Dr. Stacey Hannem at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“This is a real honour for us, to be recognized by our peers for our work. The MSS was my very first academic conference as an undergraduate student in April 2001, so this award is even more meaningful for me” Dr. Schneider said. 

“We are absolutely delighted with this wonderful recognition,” echoed Dr. Hannem. 

A man and a woman smile while holding an award between them
Dr. Christopher J. Schneider, left, and Dr. Stacey Hannem are recipients of the 2024 MSS Distinguished Book Award, presented by the Midwest Sociological Society, for their book, “Defining Sexual Misconduct: Power, Media, and #MeToo.”

The book was published in 2022 by the University of Regina Press and has also received an honorable mention for the 2023 Cooley Award, given for a notable book in symbolic interaction, from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. It was shortlisted in The Hill Times Best Books of 2022. Beyond these accolades, the book has also had influence within the federal government. For example, leaders at the Department of National Defence have credited the book as a key reference helping them develop new policy to address culture change.

“Our book looks at how sexual misconduct is an ambiguous term, which can make it legally challenging, but which also permits it to be broadly defined by people who have experienced sexual harm,” Dr. Schneider said. “Sexual misconduct does not have to be illegal to be harmful and for perpetrators to be held accountable for that harm. This understanding is what gives social movements like #MeToo the power to drive change.”

The book draws on extensive research from more than four decades of news coverage, including thousands of articles, as well as social media posts in the wake of #MeToo. Using case studies that will be familiar to readers, from Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi to Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, this book offers insights into how media have represented and responded to accusations of sexual misconduct and helped to shape collective understandings of this persistent social problem. 

“The impact of social movements like #MeToo is undeniable — but the movement has also sparked a misogynist backlash. Research that produces books like this continues to bravely push us forward, shaping public policy to make things better for everyone in the future,” said Dr. Bernadette Ardelli, BU’s Vice-President (Research and Graduate Studies). “Convincing powerful institutions like the military to listen and change is difficult but important work. I congratulate Dr. Schneider and Dr. Hannem for writing such a powerful book on an essential topic; this recognition and award is well-deserved.”

Dr. Gregory Kennedy, Dean of Arts at Brandon University, agreed.

“To see this book recognized by academic peers and policy-makers across Canada as well as internationally demonstrates its impact. Dr. Schneider and Dr. Hannem’s work exemplifies the tremendous potential for academic collaborations to mobilize knowledge and respond to societal needs,” Dr. Kennedy said. “Positive change is possible with informed decision-making and the deep understanding of complex issues that emerges from research in the arts.”

An overview at the research was previously presented in a BU Research Connection, and Drs. Schneider and Hannem also contributed a recent op-ed in the Globe and Mail.

“Defining Sexual Misconduct: Power, Media, and #MeToo” is available through the University of Regina Press.


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