The Liberalism Trap: John Stuart Mill and Customs of Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2023)
The Liberalism Trap argues that the focus on liberalism has become a customary limit on our political imaginations. To examine the costs of that custom, I turn to John Stuart Mill-the so-called paradigmatic liberal. As I argue, Mill's famed liberal status is habitually substituted for his political arguments such that the now standard association of Mill with liberalism determines how and why he is read. My reading takes a break from that ready association. In a comparative reading of Mill's work concerning women's emancipation, class reform, and the British Empire, I instead find a thinker guided not by the ideological certainties he is often made out to represent, but by a politics of uncertainty-a politics which generated radical, gradualist, and paternalist strategies throughout his proposals on domestic and imperial questions.
The Wives of Western Philosophy, edited with Jennifer Forestal (Routledge, 2021).
The Wives of Western Philosophy examines the lives and experiences of the wives and women associated with nine distinct political thinkers—from Socrates to Marx—in order to explore the gendered patterns of intellectual labor that permeate the foundations of Western political thought. Organized chronologically and representative of three eras in the history of political thought (Ancient, Early Modern, and Modern), nine critical biographical chapters explore the everyday acts of intellectual labor and partnership involving these "wives of the canon." Taking seriously their narratives as intimate partners reveals that wives have labored in remarkable ways throughout the history of political thought.
Violence in the American Imagination: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Superheroes.
American Political Science Review, 116(2), 470-483 (2022)
What does the superhero—an icon of the American imaginary—communicate about the politics of violence? Responding to nationwide protests of police brutality in 2020, law enforcement officers adopted the skull logo of The Punisher, an exceptionally violent fictional vigilante. That adoption signals what I call the privilege of violence: the force individuals may deploy based on normative expectations concerning gender and race. Comparing Marvel-Netflix productions including The Punisher series, I identify three modes of violence in operation: the unrestricted rage of a white male vigilante, the vulnerability of a feminist heroine, and the sacrificial control of a Black male hero. The article demonstrates the gendered and racialized conditions under which heroic violence is rendered legitimate to American audiences. As I conclude, Punisher’s unrestricted violence valorizes white male grievance, and this is precisely what appeals to armed agents of the American state.
This article examines how preoccupations with liberalism have shaped scholarly work at the intersection of gender and culture. Through a comparative analysis of Susan Moller Okin and Saba Mahmood, I argue that those preoccupations keep scholars of gender in the space of ideological opposition, and displace opportunities for political collaboration.
Recipient of the 2020 Okin-Young Award in Feminist Political Theory (APSA)
Drawing on Mill's Autobiography to recover what I call his 'appreciation for uncertainty', I argue that Mill is a far more complex, and capacious political actor than is commonly depicted in contemporary studies of this famed liberal.
I argue that gendering practices within the field of political theory have made Harriet Taylor Mill one of the most recognized, and unjustly censured spouses of a canonical political figure (JS Mill).
Washington Post, August 6, 2020.
Democracy Dies in Darkness? Anonymity, Accountability, and Information as a Public Good, with Jennifer Forestal.
We examine the democratic utility and challenges of anonymously sourced information.