My research deals broadly with the early modern history of European political thought, and sits at the intersection of political theory, intellectual history, and feminist theory. I am interested in seeing how historical perspectives can help us think through contemporary political problems or questions, in two ways. First, by reminding us of forgotten, alternative ways of thinking, and second, by showing us what we take for granted in political theory today. In my research, I show why going beyond the canon and taking into account neglected voices in history––in my case, primarily women’s voices––is a promising way of doing this.

Partisan Virtue 
Historians of political thought interested in partisanship have long privileged the perspective of male canonical thinkers: from Plato on statis, to Machiavelli on tumults, to Hume and Burke on parties. Yet, as I show in my book, this narrow focus on canonical men has led scholars to neglect an important if counterintuitive perspective on partisanship which we find in the political thought of eighteenth century women, for whom partisanship offered an unexpected but essential means to political inclusion.

Partisan Virtue focuses on two such women political thinkers from opposite ends of the political spectrum: the Tory conservative and “first English feminist” Mary Astell (1666–1731) and the “first female historian” and radical republican Catharine Macaulay (1731–1791). Their identity as women and partisans placed them on the margins of politics––they were neither fully excluded nor included. As women, they were not allowed to run for public office or to cast votes. Yet they were nonetheless partisans who belonged to a political group and intervened in the principal debates of their time. This marginal position enabled Astell and Macaulay to appreciate both the benefits of partisanship as a mechanism of political inclusion for those formally excluded from politics––a mechanism their male contemporaries ignored––and the dangers of the political virtues these men advocated to bridle partisanship.

The Politics of Ambition
My second project focuses on the history of the concept of ambition and its relation to politics, with a special interest in female ambition. There is a standard narrative that says that ambition used to be a Christian sin, and then transformed into the virtue it is today. I want to question this narrative. What was the political function of hailing someone as ambitious––did it serve as a marker of exclusion and inclusion? Is this different from today, or perhaps more similar than we might think? In other words, who was “allowed” to be ambitious and who was not, and why?

Beyond this, I am also interested in the history of the concept of political friendship, the methodologies and practice of feminist history of political thought, and Kantian moral philosophy.

Mary Astell on Moderation: The Case of Occasional ConformityThe European Legacy 2023. Special issue “Recovering Moderation” eds. Aurelian Craiutu, Nicholas Mithen, Alexander Smith. (peer reviewed)

Public Writing
'Om systeemverandering voor elkaar te krijgen vertrouw ik liever op solidariteit en activisme.' Review of Rutger Bregman's Morele Ambitie (2024). De Morgen. April 2, 2024.
'Affirmative Action.' Review of Manon Garcia's The Joy of Consent (2023) and Robert Goodin's Consent Matters (2024). Times Literary Supplement. March 29, 2024.
'Ahead of her time.' Review of Max Skjönsberg's Catharine Macaulay: Political Writings (2023). Times Literary Supplement. April 28, 2023.

Under Review
1. Paper on friendship in the history of political thought
2. Paper on feminist history of political thought and its methodologies

In Progress
1. “Catharine Macaulay, Radicalism, and the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89,” accepted for publication in Radical Republicanism in Early Modern Europe, eds. Anna Becker, Alessandro Mulieri and Nicolai van Eggers, Brill.
2. “‘Fortunate enough to fit into this world’? Maria von Herbert on Life and Death,” co-authored with Mara van der Lugt (St Andrews), intended for publication in Kant and Maria von Herbert: Friendship, Trust, and the Meaning of Life. Sources and Critical Explorations, eds. Jens Timmermann and Bernhard Ritter, Oxford University Press.
3. “Mary Astell on Ambition, Rank, and Talent"