Denise Walsh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality at the University of Virginia and a co-editor of the American Political Science Review. Her research investigates how liberal democracies can become more inclusive and just. Walsh's current book project, Weaponizing Rights: The Politics of Debating Culture and Women's Rights, compares policy debates about the face veil ban in France, polygyny in South Africa, and Indigenous women’s citizenship status in Canada. Walsh is finding that politicians insist clashes between the right to culture and women’s rights exist and that this intensifies divisions among groups and legitimizes greater exercise of state power. Walsh also has a concurrent project on actions that can impede political participation, including a co-edited special symposium on "Backlash and the Future of Feminism" (Signs, January 2020) and a paper on obstruction to political participation.
Walsh's first book, Women’s Rights in Democratizing States (Cambridge University Press, 2010), compares women's political political participation in South Africa, Poland, and Chile. The book argues that as public debate becomes more open and inclusive within institutions such as unions and political parties these institutions advance women’s rights. Walsh's research has been funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies at Notre Dame, 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. Walsh is the recipient of an all-University Teaching Award and regularly teaches undergraduate courses on power, violence and inequality in the global South; identity politics; gender politics in comparative perspective; and feminist theory. She also teaches graduate courses on identity politics and gender and sexuality studies.
Photo Credits: Bailey Photography; Mark Edwards