UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

Martha Acklesberg

Five College Affiliated Professor

Professor of Government and Professor of the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College
408
Office Hours: By appointment only
Email: mackelsb@smith.edu
Website: http://www.smith.edu/swg/faculty_ackelsberg.php

My teaching, research and writing have all centered on the nature and structure of political communities, and, in particular, patterns of power and participation within them. My research has focused on the anarchist movement in Spain, and, particularly, the place of the subordination and emancipation of women within the anarchist project; and on women's place in the political arena in the United States. I have been particularly concerned with the ways minority women are included in, or excluded from, the structures of communal life, the options for those who are excluded, and the ways in which those who have been on the margin respond to their marginality. I have come to believe that attention to these issues requires a reconceptualization of both political life and of the categories in which we analyze it.

Interests:

My teaching, research and writing have all centered on the nature and structure of political communities, and, in particular, patterns of power and participation within them. My research has focused on the anarchist movement in Spain, and, particularly, the place of the subordination and emancipation of women within the anarchist project; and on women's place in the political arena in the United States. I have been particularly concerned with the ways minority women are included in, or excluded from, the structures of communal life, the options for those who are excluded, and the ways in which those who have been on the margin respond to their marginality. I have come to believe that attention to these issues requires a reconceptualization of both political life and of the categories in which we analyze it.

Education:
B.A. in social studies from Radcliffe College, and M.A. and Ph.D. (in political philosophy) from Princeton University.

Courses Taught:
My teaching has included courses and seminars in (United States) urban politics, political participation, the politics of wealth and poverty, feminist and democratic theory, and the Spanish anarchist movement.

Current Projects:
My more recent work has been a further exploration of what I might call "applied feminist theory," and, specifically, constructions of gender and citizenship. I have been examining how feminist theorizing and feminist activism have affected the ways we think about some central political concepts (e.g., public and private, autonomy and dependence, participation and democracy) and exploring the implications of these changes for public policy and our understandings of what it is to be a citizen. I am also interested in questions of identity and identity politics: both the continuing power of such claims, and the dangers associated with them, for feminists and in the larger culture. During the 2010-11 academic year, I lived in Cordoba, Spain, where I was directing the PRESHCO program for US students studying at a junior year abroad program at the University of Cordoba. My stay there reawakened in me interest in questions of historical memory and accountability - both in terms of the Spanish Civil War and in terms of the Spanish Inquisition.

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