Penn Professor Nancy Hirschmann Looks at Intersection of Disability and Feminism Through a Unique Lens

University of Pennsylvania professor Nancy Hirschmann studies how disability and feminism intersect from a unique perspective, that of a political theorist. She directs the Program on Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies and Penn’s Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality & Women.

Hirschmann borrows from feminist theory to consider how the understanding of freedom has developed. She reimagines the philosophical understanding of what the will is and how it relates to ideas of freedom in light of new insights from the field of disability studies.

Hirschmann’s work focuses on the history of political thought, analytical philosophy, feminist theory, the intersection of political theory and public policy. Her current work centers on disability, particularly disability rights and theory.

This year Hirschmann’s research to advance understanding of the connection between the body, freedom and the will has been recognized by several scholarly organizations and institutions.

Hirschmann is the recipient of a 2017 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for her book project Freedom, Power and Disability. Hirschmann, also a professor of political science in the School of Arts & Sciences, is among 71 ACLS fellows selected from a pool of nearly 1,200 applicants.

The National Humanities Center has named Hirschmann one of 33 fellows, chosen from 630 applicants. During the 2017-18 academic year, she will be on sabbatical to work on her book as a resident fellow at the National Humanities Center campus in Research Triangle Park in Durham, N.C., in the fall and in the spring at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, as a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow.

Hirschmann’s publications include Political Theory Meets Disability, co-edited with Barbara Arneil and published this year; Civil Disabilities: Citizenship, Membership and Belonging, co-authored with Beth Linker, an associate professor in Penn’s History and Sociology of Science Department; and Gender, Class and Freedom in Modern Political Theory.



Hirschmann Nancy with book