Research

I am a feminist political philosopher with a special expertise in Kant’s and Kantian thought; while my research interests often (though not always) refer back to Kant, emphatically arguing for the necessity of both understanding his philosophical legacy better and going beyond it, questions that guide my thinking have always been about the relationship between history and politics from a critical theory tradition or perspective.

I have argued in the past that in locating Kant’s political philosophy we must not limit our attention to his ideal theory of cosmopolitanism; rather, part of Kant’s contemporary legacy for political thought is the very fact that he grasped and grappled with the fundamental relevance of history for political theorizing via his methodology of teleology; that a fuller account of the contemporary relevance of Kant’s political thought must include his writings on philosophy of history, cultural anthropology, and geography, under the umbrella of what I name as his “nonideal theory of politics.” This Eurocentric, white supremacist, and cisheteropatriarchal nonideal theory articulates the underlying epistemological agreement of Kant’s ideal political vision, laying out complementary theories of a political history, anthropology, and geography in which Kant elaborates on who matters to historical progress, who counts as human, or whose activities constitute proper human culture. In my view, Immanuel Kant is incontrovertibly one of the major architects of the modern world as we know it. Because of this overwhelming presence of Kantian frames of thought in our lives, my work aims to highlight the continuity and complicity between many of his ideas and our current socio-political issues and sensibilities. My wager is that philosophers will do a better job of both interpreting and changing the world when we attend to the undercurrents of Kantian ideals, together with their still-unfolding history in the present, from the scientific concept of race, to the Eurocentric idea of a world history and cultural productivity, and to the conditional hospitality of commercial rationality reigning in the Global North.

At the moment I am working on a number of writing projects on social and political thought that converge around a Black, intersectional, and decolonial feminist figures and traditions, articulating what I call “Emerging Concepts in Feminist Political Thought.” I recently finished an “Introduction” for the updated version of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) entry on “Continental Feminism;” I completed an article (co-authored with Jordan Pascoe) on re-assessing Kant’s notions of Enlightenment, citizenship, and public sphere from Black, intersectional, decolonial, and materialist feminist perspectives; I am working on an article on the “radical” part of Charles Mills’s “Black Radical Kantianism.” Lastly but most importantly, I am constantly thinking and learning about what a feminist/decolonial/antiracist approach, orientation, or attitude demands of practices of philosophers, academics, teachers, and humans.