Christine Stansell, the Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton, writes about the social, sexual, and cultural history of American women and gender relations. Her most recent book, American Moderns: Bohemian New York and the Creation of a New Century (Henry Holt, 2000), follows an influential group of writers, artists, and political radicals from 1890 to 1920. She writes regularly for the New Republic.
At Radcliffe, Stansell will complete a book on the long history of feminism, 1792–2002, from the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women to the US invasion of Afghanistan. She is interested in how women’s rights—a body of ideas first adhered to by a small group of enthusiasts of the French Revolution—gravitated from the margins to the very center of democratic politics in the United States and, increasingly, throughout the world. She seeks to write about feminism’s achievements, but also its tensions and enduring conundrums.
Stansell’s first book, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789–1860 (Knopf, 1986), reveals the central role that working-class women played in the city’s history. She worked in the new field of the history of sexuality, collaborating with Ann Snitow and Sharon Thompson to publish Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality (Monthly Review Press, 1983). She has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.