Inés Valdez

Assistant Professor

I am a political theorist and an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the Ohio State University. I am also affiliated with Comparative Studies, Germanic Languages & Literature, Latina/o Studies, and Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

In the Spring of 2019 I will be a Humboldt Stiftung Fellow at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg. In the past I have held a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellowship at the European University Institute (2011-2012) and a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Princeton University Center for Human Values (2017-2018).

My research agenda is centered on the problem of racial, gender, and religious difference within political theory. Questions that animate my research include: How is difference constructed politically? What are its effects on democratic politics? How does attending to difference require us to conceptualize basic concepts of political theory—including freedom, democracy, and cosmopolitanism—differently?

I address this core concern through two main projects. The first project theorizes cosmopolitanism from a transnational perspective. It argues that the productivity of the Kantian framework of cosmopolitanism is limited by the different problem space it address and the persistence of hierarchies in Kant's thought. I trace how these limitations remain in neo-Kantian approaches and build a transnational cosmopolitanism upon the neglected post-World War writings and political action of W. E. B. Du Bois. This approach considers the questions of domestic and international exclusion as entwined and puts forward a normative account that attends to how subaltern groups throughout the world act politically to contest these exclusions. Based on this engagement, I theorize a novel form of (transfigured) hospitality, a notion of transnational solidarity, and a transnational anti-colonial counterpublic.

The second project considers how central concepts in political theory—including freedom, violence, law, and the state of exception—must be theorized differently when considering racial and gender oppression. A connecting thread in this project is the focus on how law and state action are entwined with racial and gender narratives prevalent in society. I address these questions through articles that (1) critique the notion of freedom as non-domination as useful to consider contemporary debates on gender and secularism in France, and  (2) theorize the question of violence and punishment as functions of state power (with particular attention to immigration policing, racialized policing, and the labor question).


forthcoming. Toward Transnational Cosmopolitanism. Kant, Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft (New York: Cambridge University Press).

forthcoming. "Cosmopolitanism without National Consciousness is not Radical: Creolizing Gordon’s Fanon through Du Bois," Social Identities [part of symposium on Jane Gordon's Creolizing Political Theory] (go to accepted manuscript).

2018. "It's not about Race: Good Wars, Bad Wars, and the Origins of Kant's Anti-Colonialism." In American Political Science Review

2017. "Missing in Action: Practice, Paralegality, and the Nature of Immigration Enforcement,"  Citizenship Studies 21(5): 547-569 [with Mat Coleman and Amna Akbar]

2016. "Punishment, Race, and the Organization of U.S. Immigration Exclusion," Political Research Quarterly 69(4):640-654

2016. PDF icon "Nondomination or Practices of Freedom? French Muslim Women, Foucault, and the Full Veil Ban," American Political Science Review 110(1): 18-30. 

2015. "DACA, DAPA, and Beyond: Plus ça change?" In Newsletter of the APSA Migration & Citizenship Section 3(2): 35-38

2013. " Reel Latinas? Race, Gender, and Asymmetric Recognition in Contemporary Film," Politics, Groups, and Identities, 1(2): 180-197.

2012. "Perpetual What? Injury, Sovereignty, and a Cosmopolitan View of Immigration," Political Studies, 60(1): 95-114.

2011. “From Workers to Enemies. National Security, State Building and America’s War on Illegal Immigrants,” (with Desmond King) in Narrating Peoplehood amidst Diversity. Historical and Theoretical Perspectives , ed. Michael Böss (Aarhus: Aarhus Academic Press), pp. 145-182.

2011. "Residues of Border Control." In Southern Spaces, April [with Susan Harbage Page, reprinted in 2016 in Global Mobilities. Refugees, Exiles, and Migrants in Museums and Archives, ed. Amy Levin (New York: Routledge)]

PDF icon CV


PS 4465 Feminist Political Theory PDF icon Syllabus

PS 4455 / IS 3450 Human Rights PDF icon Syllabus

IS 4451 The Immigration Controversy through film Syllabus

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