Denise Walsh is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Politics and Women, Gender & Sexuality at the University of Virginia. Her research investigates how liberal democracies can become more democratic and just. Walsh's current book manuscript, The Politics of Debating Multiculturalism and Women's Rights, compares three dissimilar cases: the face veil ban in France, polygamy in South Africa and the expulsion of indigenous women from the tribe for marrying non-native men in Canada. Walsh finds that all three of these debates fueled cultural chauvinism, entrenched the political marginalization of women members of minority cultural groups and subordinated multiculturalism and women's rights to the nation.
Walsh's first book, Women’s Rights in Democratizing States (Cambridge University Press, 2010) argues that institutions like political parties and social movements often obstruct advances in women’s rights during transitions to democracy, specifically in South Africa, Poland and Chile. Walsh's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, USAID, the Institute for Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Italy, the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College and many organizations at the University of Virginia.