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Feminism in Theory and Practice

Feminism encompasses a diverse set of concepts, arguments, and practices. At Exeter, we pursue a number of different feminist approaches, from the highly theoretical to the concrete. Feminist scholars in various fields engage with the Centre for Political Thought in order to decolonize conventional political theory, which tends to privilege a white, capitalist, male point of view and to marginalize women, people of colour, and the working classes. We look at political philosophical questions (such as “how might we reshape concepts like justice, equality, and freedom so that they are more inclusive?”), historical questions (such as “how has the relegation of women to the private sphere shaped public life in democratic societies?”), and empirical questions (such as “how can we shape public policy in a way that better reflects the lived experience of marginalized people?”).

Dr Sarah Drews Lucas

Sarah Drews Lucas's areas of research are feminist philosophy and critical theory. She works on questions of agency, autonomy, care ethics, communicability, narrative, and personal identity. Her current projects focus on feminist narrative agency and on ordinary language philosophy and the ethics of care. She is also interested in gender and politics, ancient political theory, contemporary political theory, continental philosophy, human rights, and the work of Hannah Arendt.

Dr Ross Carroll

Ross Carroll's research interests are in the history of early modern political thought, with a focus on eighteenth and nineteenth century Britain and France. His first book, Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain (Princeton 2021), recovers the Enlightenment debate on the appropriate use of ridicule as an instrument of moral and political reform. He has also published recently on Mary Wollstonecraft's views on political economy, the history of contempt as a political and moral concept, and the hidden intellectual labour performed by the wives of great political thinkers such as Alexis de Tocqueville. At present Carroll is writing a short book on Edmund Burke and plans a future research project on the political thought of the French political theorist and abolitionist, Gustave de Beaumont.

Dr Xianan Jin

Xianan is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus. She joined the department in September 2022. Xianan has studied politics and practised feminism in Beijing, Taipei, Bologna, London and Kigali. She is interested in the representation and resistance of gendered subjects in global politics, and how gendered subjects from rich and poor backgrounds participate in politics differently. For her first book project, she did her fieldwork in Rwanda for a year to investigate women’s engagement with politics after the genocide in 1994. This book is based on her PhD thesis, The Political Economy of Women's Political Participation in Rwanda: Gender, Class and Statebuilding, at SOAS, University of London.


Dr Bice Maiguashca

Bice Maiguashca’s research has focused on a set of questions around the origins, strategic trajectory and political significance of contemporary forms of left-wing politics and feminist activism in particular. Her current research projects revolve around three different strands of inquiry. The first involves the critical interrogation of “populism” as an analytical concept and as a political signifier. The second involves research into “Corbynism” as a new left landscape. Finally, the third concerns the challenges faced by feminist activists in the face of gendered power relations and globalised neoliberalism.


Dr Karen Scott

Karen Scott’s research interests focus on the politics of knowledge and epistemic injustice, particularly where it relates to evidence for public policy and sustainability. She has worked in, and alongside, local and central government to improve evidence for public policy on wellbeing and sustainability issues. Dr Scott is co-editor for the Palgrave MacMillan book series The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing, and also teaches various courses in the theories and governance of ‘The Good Life’ from classical to contemporary times.



Dr Kate Goldie Townsend

Kate Goldie Townsend is a normative political theorist who takes an interdisciplinary approach to interpreting social and political phenomena. She is particularly interested in injustices affecting children and women. She tries to make sense of the world as it is, and to respond to injustices with feasible ideals; her work is methodologically feminist in this respect. Townsend is currently working on two research projects. The first project has two main aims: to defend all children’s right to genital integrity; and to expose moral inconsistencies in current legislation on child genital cutting. The second project examines the normative and political tensions that emerge if both children’s rights and women’s rights are taken seriously within the context of increasing reliance on science and experts to decide policy and inform public morality. She is particularly interested in how scientifically informed understanding about what is in children’s (including foetuses’ and infants’) interest, impacts on norms and policies concerning perinatal women’s bodies. She has recently joined the steering committee for the Children and Young People's Wellbeing @ Exeter Research Network.

Sarah Drews Lucas
‘Loneliness and Appearance: Toward a Concept of Ontological Agency,’ European Journal of Philosophy, 27 (2019), 809-722
‘The Primacy of Narrative Agency: Re-Reading Seyla Benhabib on Narrativity.’ Feminist Theory, 18(3), 2018, 123-143.
‘Dancing Feminist Conversations: Nevr Without Materiality,’ (with Dana Mills), Contemporary Political Theory, 2017.

Ross Carroll
‘The Hidden Labors of Mary Mottley, Madame de Tocqueville,’ Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 33, no. 4 (2018)

Xianan Jin

Female Street Vendors' (dis)engagement with Politics in Rwanda (Excursions Journal, 2019) 

Land Dispossession as Continuum of Violence: Women’s Political Agency in Post-genocide Rwanda (Under Review of the Journal of Peasant Studies)

Jenna Sapiano and Gina Heathcote. Adding Women Isn't Enough: An Intersectional Approach to Women’s Inclusion in Peace Mediation (Under Review of Gender and Politics)

Bice Maiguashca
‘Making Feminist Sense of Precarity Politics,’ Contemporary Political Theory, issue 2, 2020.
‘Resisting the ‘Populist Hype’: A Feminist Critique of a Globalizing Concept,’ Review of International StudiesVol. 45, issue 5, 2019, 768-785.

Kate Goldie Townsend

"The child as right-bearer: protecting intersex children’s rights", In Expanding Intersex Studies, Edited Collection, (under consideration by MUP).

Brian D. Earp and Kate Goldie Townsend (eds), "Editorial", special issue on Bodily Integrity and Bodily Autonomy in Pediatric Populations, Clinical Ethics (forthcoming).

Kate Goldie Townsend, "Children's Welfare Interest in Bodily Integrity", special issue on Bodily Integrity and Bodily Autonomy in Pediatric Populations, Clinical Ethics (forthcoming).

Brussels Collaboration on Bodily Integrity. (2024). Genital Modifications in Prepubescent Minors: When May Clinicians Ethically Proceed? American Journal of Bioethics, in press.

Townsend, K.G. Culturally Diverse Societies and Genital Cutting Controversies. Res Publica 29, 665–682 (2023). DOI

Townsend KG (2022). On becoming autonomous and "coercive cultural acts": a reply to Max Buckler. International Journal of Impotence Research Full textDOI

Townsend KG (2021). Defending an inclusive right to genital and bodily integrity for children. International Journal of Impotence Research  Full textDOI

Townsend KG (2019). The child’s right to genital integrity. Philosophy & Social Criticism46(7), 878-898. Abstract. DOI

Bice Maiguashca

  • 2013-2014: British Academy Grant on ‘Gendering Protest - A Gender Analysis of Contemporary Radical Activism in the UK’