Research

Research

As a political theorist, my primary interest is less in the development of a new interpretation of a historical text than in evaluating and developing political philosophies in terms of addressing contemporary social problems and political practices. Thus one of my current projects emphasizes the futility of looking to conceptions of liberalism developed by such theorists as Locke, Mill, and Kant for protecting individuals today from state interference with bodily autonomy. Similarly, my research into democracy and suffering offers an alternative possibility to the oft-asserted dichotomy between feminist ethics and moral philosophy and to the bind such a dichotomy poses for those who attend both to questions of abstract justice and to issues of respect for particularity. I am drawn to political theory precisely because it offers the opportunity to reject the false dichotomy between politics and the “life of the mind” that is both descriptively inaccurate and politically unproductive.

I am currently working on two book projects. The first, Liberal Bodies: Bodily Invasion and Political Theory concerns the problem of state invasion of the bodies of its citizens and residents and the ways in which contestations about bodily integrity illuminate broad tensions within liberal political theory. The second, The Subject of Suffering: Democracy and Injustice considers the connections and relationships between democratic theory, suffering, and injustice and explores the implications of recognizing the continuous operation of injustice within the law and established polity as inevitability rather than mistake.