The Wives of Western Philosophy

Forthcoming, Routledge

This volume brings together examinations of the lives and labors of “wives of the canon”—women who have been kept within political theory’s ‘private sphere’ because they played roles regarded as personal rather than political in the history of political thought. Including chapters on Xanthippe (wife of Socrates), Pythias and Herpyllis (wives of Aristotle), Barbera Salutati (mistress of Niccolò Machiavelli), Therese Levasseur (mistress of Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Mary and Betty Clarke, and Demaris Masham (John Locke’s close friends), Jeanne de Lartigue (wife of Baron de Montesquieu), Mary Mottley (wife of Alexis de Tocqueville), Jenny Marx, Helene Demuth, Mary Burns, & Lydia Burns (wives and mistresses of Karl Marx & Fredrich Engels), and Harriet Taylor-Mill (wife of JS Mill), ‘Wives’ of Western Philosophy aims to highlight the experiences of these ‘wives of the canon,’ to offer new insights into the men who shaped and were shaped by them, and to draw attention to the intimate, though fraught, relations between the foundations of western political thought, intellectual labor, and the politics of gender.

The Liberalism Trap

Manuscript in progress

This project examines how liberalism is used as a frame of interpretation in political theory. The book pursues this question through a study of John Stuart Mill's 'canonization' within liberal political thought. As I argue, the identification of Mill with liberalism has limited the way his work is read on questions of gender, class and empire. 

"Hamilton and the Unsung Labors of Wives," with Jennifer Forestal (Loyola)

Washington Post, August 6, 2020.

“Feminist Preoccupations: Liberalism as 'Method' in the Gender/Culture Debate.”

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. 

"Troubling Appropriations: JS Mill, Liberalism, and the Virtues of Uncertainty."

European Journal of Political Theory 18(1): 68-88 (2019).

This article draws on Mill's Autobiography to recover what I call his 'appreciation for uncertainty'. As I argue, taking account of this appreciation reveals a more complex, and capacious view of his work than is allowed in contemporary studies of Mill as the 'exemplary liberal'.

"The Beloved and Deplored Memory of Harriet Taylor Mill: Rethinking Gender and Intellectual Labor in the Canon."

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 33(4): 626-642 (2018).

In this article, 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).

“The Masked Demos: Anonymity and Democratic Practice” with Jennifer Forestal (Loyola).

From pseudonymous pamphleteers, to anonymous social media users, we examine how anonymity in public spaces can impact democratic politics.

“Gender and the ‘Great Man’: Recovering Philosophy’s ‘Wives of the Canon,’” with Jennifer Forestal (Loyola).

Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 33(4): 587-592 (2018).

Introducing a themed symposia issue of Hypatia, which aims at recovering the contributions of the wives and partners of canonical figures in western political thought.

“Harriet Taylor Mill."

Friends of the John Stuart Mill Library Newsletter 1(2): 13 (2018)

A vignette of Harriet Taylor Mill, invited by the JS Mill Library society at Oxford University.

“Democracy Dies in Darkness? Anonymity, Accountability, and Information as a Public Good,” with Jennifer Forestal (Loyola)

Under review

We examine the democratic utility and challenges of anonymously sourced information.

Violence in the American Imagination: Gender, Race, and the Politics of Superheros

Under review

The Revolutionary, the Aristocrat, and the Company Man: Rethinking Liberalism-as-Empire in Marx, Tocqueville, and JS Mill

Working paper

“We are Legion: New Digital Social Movements and the Challenges of Democratic Organizing” with Jennifer Forestal (Loyola)

Working paper

This paper looks at the evolution of social movements and organizational practices of groups like Anonymous in the era of 'online citizenship'. 

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