Welcome! I am a political theorist and historian of political thought and currently a Lecturer in American Studies, Political Science, and Women’s & Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University. My areas of research include early modern and Enlightenment political thought, emotions and politics, feminist theory, and politics and literature. A complete list of the courses I have offered is available here.
I am completing a book manuscript which unites my first two research interests. Titled The Lost Passions of Republican Thought: Politics and Emotions of the French Enlightenment, the manuscript examines the role of emotions in the republican tradition, with a focus on the French Enlightenment. I interpret a wide variety of texts by Montesquieu and Rousseau that consider the emotions related to civic virtue (fear, courage, ambition, and sympathy) in order to demonstrate that a theory of republicanism reliant upon institutional and juridical solutions to assure non-domination is critically flawed. A turn to republicanism’s rich history via new readings of Montesquieu and Rousseau reveals that contemporary republicanism requires the incorporation of citizens’ affective relationship to one another and the nation-state.
My third area of research is feminist political theory, with an emphasis on issues of labor, freedom, and the body in contemporary thought. A new research project, ‘Intimate Liberties: Spaces of Freedom and Refusal in Feminist Thought,’ traces the theme of refusal in contemporary feminism to its early modern predecessors. Interrogating the ways in which thinkers of the seventeenth century, including Mary Astell and John Milton, defined the relationship between liberty and resistance, the project aims to expand the scope of liberty as it is conventionally understood by attending to voices often excluded from the public sphere. Ultimately, ‘Intimate Liberties’ brings its analysis to bear on modern debates about the nature of freedom and what it means to be free to refuse.
My fourth area of research is politics and literature, particularly the use of literary genres like the fable and the novel to impart political arguments. A future research project, ‘Out of Order: Misrule in the History of Political Thought,’ will examine fictional accounts of political misrule that not only criticize hypocrisy and vice but actively imagine an alternative social order and the presumed horrors that would accompany it. In so far as such tales offer parodies of inversion, critiquing “the world turned upside down,” they necessarily comment upon what they understand to be the correct political and social structures, norms, and practices. In short, misrule reveals a society's criteria of good rule. ‘Out of Order’ will analyze the ways in which fictional depictions of misrule capture views of both extant rule and concerns about proffered alternatives.
In 2017-2018, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Vanderbilt Department of Political Science. I have previously been a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Whitman College Department of Politics and a Lecturer in the UCLA Department of Political Science. I have held the Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellowship in Gender Studies at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and the Clark Dissertation Fellowship at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library in Los Angeles. I received my PhD in from the UCLA Department of Political Science in 2014.
You can download my CV here.