Biography




Currently, I am a recently tenured Associate Professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at Washington State University, Pullman. I am also a research affiliate of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. I received my M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Theory and my Ph.D. in Political Theory from The New School for Social Research in New York City. I also hold an M.S. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Philosophy of Science from the University of Vienna, Austria. My work in political theory and philosophy draws on critical, feminist, and psychoanalytic theory to address questions of power and resistance in contemporary societies.

There are two questions that drive my recent research: What are the mechanisms of power that dominate and subordinate the working classes, women, and minorities in contemporary societies? What can we do to break through these mechanisms of power to create more just societies? I work at the intersection of early Frankfurt school critical theory, feminist theory, and psychoanalytic theory to address these questions in relation to three research areas: capitalism, political guilt and democracy, and the rise of the far right. 

In all of the three research areas I have published or forthcoming peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals, including Political Theory, Perspectives of Politics, Theory & Event, Contemporary Political Theory, Constellations, Social Philosophy Today, The Good Society, Theory & Event, Open Cultural Studies, Philosophy & Social Criticism, The Berlin Journal of Critical Theory, and Radical Philosophy Review. I have also contributed peer-reviewed book-chapters to several critical theory and political theory and philosophy anthologies.

1. Capitalism: My research in this area is mostly focused on how we can transform power structures in capitalist societies. In Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism (2017, Oxford University Press), I bring German critical theory (Marx and Adorno) and French psychoanalytic thought (Lacan) into conversation to analyze power and socio-political change in capitalist societies. I develop the idea of the moment of the limit, which refers to those moments when power structures fail to completely subordinate the working classes, women, and minorities, and transformative agency becomes a possibility. I also develop the idea of the political subject-in-outline, as the agent of socio-political change, which moves within the tension of a certain coherence, necessary for agency, and permanent openness, necessary to counter the exclusionary character of a political collectivity based on an identity. The book has been reviewed in Political Theory (2018), Perspectives of Politics (2018), Gender and Politics (2018), Hypatia (2018), and Choice (2018). I was also interviewed about the book for New Books in Political Science (2017).

In my previously published book, Working-Class Women in Elite Academia (2004, Peter Lang Publisher), I discuss the subtle mechanisms of power in academic institutions that contribute to keep working-class, female and minority scholars either out or at the margins of academic institutions, and explain the strategies they use to resist their marginalization in academia. In my other earlier book, Die Zerstӧrung des Mythos von der Friedfertigen Frau [The Destruction of the Myth of the Peaceful Woman] (1998, Peter Lang Verlag), I show that discourses that suggest that women are naturally less aggressive than men contribute to marginalize assertive women by suggesting that such behavior is “unnatural” for women, and demonstrate that human aggression is more determined by social group contexts than by gender.


My future research and new book project in this area, Women on the Move: European Women as Scientific Migrants, sheds light upon the ways in which the “scientific mobility” of women who leave Europe to pursue their academic and scientific careers in the United States, is not so much a free choice but the result of power structures (which are that of gender, class and ethnicity) that made these women leave their countries of origin and pursue their careers in the United States. It explores the struggles these women face as international scholars in the United States, and how they retain their capacity of agency on both continents.

2. Political Guilt and Democracy: My second research area explores the mechanisms used by totalitarian power to perpetrate crimes and to cover over such crimes by repressing guilt for them. In my book The Politics of Repressed Guilt (2018, Edinburgh University Press), I bring political and critical theory (Arendt and Adorno) in conversation with psychoanalytic theory (Anna Freud) to elaborate the functioning of power in the context of totalitarian regimes. I analyze post-war trial cases of Austrian Nazi perpetrators and contemporary debates about Austria’s involvement in Nazi crimes to expose the mechanisms used by individuals and nations to fend off individual and political guilt. I argue that only by confronting guilt can individuals and nations take responsibility for past crimes, show solidarity with the victims of crimes and their descendants, and ensure that such crimes are not repeated. I also take up concepts developed in Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism, such as the moment of the limit to explain those few instances when people resisted the Nazis; and to show that subjects-in-outline, who do not wholly identify with a nation, are best in a position to work through the nation’s past, which is necessary to live up to guilt and break the cycle of negative consequences that result from repressed guilt. An interview about the book appeared in the Austrian Jewish magazine Wina in June 2018 (in German). 

3. The Rise of the Far-right: My new research area explores the mechanisms of power that allow the far-right to exploit the suffering created by capitalism for its own political ends. My current book project, Analyzing the Far-right: A Psychoanalytic and Critical Theory Perspective, draws on critical theory and psychoanalytic theory to explain how economic and psychological factors interact in the rise of the far-right in the United States and Europe, as current literature either focuses on one or the other, and thus misses their interaction. I ground the theoretical framework with an analysis of interviews with supporters of the far-right, as well as literary examples. I further develop themes from The Politics of Repressed Guilt, such as the ways in which a nation’s repressed guilt is connected to the rise of the far-right, and apply concepts introduced in Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism, such as the ways in which the far-right has exploited people’s attempts to achieve a whole subjectivity for its electoral gains.

My research has also been supported by substantial grants, including a J. William Fulbright fellowship and the APART (Austrian Program of Advanced Research and Technology) grant, and Washington State University (WSU) Arts and Humanities Fellowships.

She is also currently supervising several doctoral students.


HOME