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, Ethnonationalism and the Politics of Debating Culture and Women's Rights, asks: how do we know when minority cultural practices and women's rights conflict? And who benefits from debating culture and women's rights in liberal democracies? To answer these questions she compares three dissimilar cases: polygyny in South Africa, the expulsion of indigenous women from the tribe for marrying non-native men in Canada, and the face veil ban in France.
Walsh's first book, Women’s Rights in Democratizing States (Cambridge University Press, 2010) finds that institutions like political parties and social movements often obstructed advances in women’s rights during transitions to democracy in South Africa, Poland and Chile. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, USAID, the Instituted 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.