Welcome! I am a political theorist and historian of political thought. My areas of research include Enlightenment political thought, emotions and politics, feminist theory, and politics and literature. I am currently a Lecturer in American Studies, Political Science, and Women’s & Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University, where I regularly teach courses on democratic theory, feminist theory, and modern political thought.
I am completing a book manuscript which unites my first two interests. Tentatively 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 ‘associative feelings,’ such as compassion and sympathy) to demonstrate that republicanism can support, and benefit from, a theoretically rich account of the passions as they relate to contemporary public life.
My third area of research is feminist political theory and the history of women in political thought. I am especially interested in the use of familial metaphors in early modern and Enlightenment thought, as well as debates over theories of freedom; embodiment and reproduction; and work and labor in contemporary continental and feminist thought. My next project, ‘Intimate Liberties,’ interrogates the ways in which proto-feminist thinkers of the early modern period understood the relationship between liberty and resistance and how to claim their liberty was necessarily an act of refusal - a refusal of social expectations, of norms, and often enough, of the law. It brings these insights to bear on recent debates about the nature of freedom.
Finally, my fourth area of research focuses on politics and literature, and related subjects including rhetoric, tragedy, fictional accounts of revolution, and the use of literary genres such as the fable and the novel to impart philosophical arguments. I am similarly interested in political ‘origin stories,’ such as accounts of the state of nature in works by early modern thinkers such as Hobbes and Locke; political anthropological accounts such as those of Diderot, Raynal, and Rousseau; and eighteenth-century reception of classical Roman literature and political thought.
In 2017-2018, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Vanderbilt Department of Political Science. I have previously been the Carol G. Lederer Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender Studies at Brown University’s Pembroke Center, where I taught in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, a visiting assistant professor with the Whitman College Department of Politics, and a lecturer in the UCLA Department of Political Science. I received my PhD in from the UCLA Department of Political Science in 2014. I regularly teach classes on the history of political thought, ancient through contemporary, and feminist theory.
You can download my CV here.