Joanne Wright



Political Science

Tilley Hall 215

1 506 458 7422

My research and teaching interests encompass early modern British political thought as well as contemporary culture and political thought.  Since completing my PhD in Political Theory and Women and Politics at York University in 1999, I have published Origin Stories in Political Thought: Discourses on Gender, Power and Citizenship (UTP, 2004), which is a comparative study of the construction and use of narratives about the beginnings of politics in works by Plato, Hobbes, and second wave radical feminists, and co-edited (with Nancy Hirschmann) Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes (Penn State, 2013).

Much of my recent work has centered on the reception of, and approaches to, early modern women’s political writing, including Brilliana Harley’s letters, and texts by Margaret Cavendish, Mary Astell and María de Zayas, among others. I am currently working on a book-length study of Margaret Cavendish’s ideas about politics and war. In this study, I consider the relationship of Cavendish’s political thought to that of some of her contemporaries, especially William Cavendish and Thomas Hobbes. I also situate Cavendish’s ideas about conflict, war and masculinity on the spectrum of women’s war writings and feminist interpretations of IR, comparing them to later texts such as Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas.

I continue to teach and work in the areas of contemporary feminist theory and the politics of rights and choice in the neo-liberal era. Some of my recent research focuses on the politics of elective cosmetic surgery, especially breast augmentation, and the rise of choice feminism. In 2011-2012, I was a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.


Articles and book chapters

  • “Darkness, death and precarious Life in Cavendish's Sociable Letters and Orations.” In God and Nature in the Thought of Margaret Cavendish. Eds. Brandie R. Siegfried and Lisa T. Sarasohn. Ashgate: forthcoming, October 2014).
  • “Questioning war, gender and “the old lie”: the military expertise of Margaret Cavendish.” In A History of British Women’s Writing, 1610-1690, Vol.3. Ed. Mihoko Suzuki. Palgrave Macmillan: 2011.
  • “Not just dutiful wives and besotted ladies: Epistemic agency in the war writing of Brilliana Harley and Margaret Cavendish.” Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 4, Fall 2009.
  • "Recovering Locke's Midwifery Notes.” In Feminist Interpretations of John Locke, Eds. Nancy Hirschmann and Kirstie McClure. Penn State University Press: 2007.
  • "Reading the Private in Margaret Cavendish: Conversations in Political Thought." In British Political Thought in History, Literature and Theory. Ed. David Armitage. Cambridge University Press: 2006.

Teaching areas

Political theory & the politics of rights

  • POLS 1403 Contemporary Political Ideas & Ideologies
  • POLS 3103 Rights in Conflict in North America
  • POLS 6445 Politics of Consent and Coercion

Feminist and Gender politics

  • POLS 2503 Women and Politics*
  • POLS 3443 Feminist Issues in Political Thought*
  • POLS 3441 Women political thinkers*
  • POLS 4495/6495 Gender and War: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives*

* can be taken for credit in Gender and Women's Studies.