Inés Valdez

Inés Valdez

Inés Valdez

Associate Professor, On Sabbatical 2021-2022


2072 Derby Hall
154 N Oval Mall
Columbus, OH

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I am a political theorist. At The Ohio State University, I am an associate professor in the Department of Political Science

My research has been or is currently supported by the Humboldt Stiftung, the Global Arts & Humanities Society of Fellows, the Princeton University Center for Human Values, and the Max Weber Programme.

My research is on critical race and feminist theory, migration, transnationalism, empire, and racial capitalism.

My work on migration explores the construction of punishing lived experiences through enforcement regimes of surveillance, detention and deportation; the role of secularism in obscuring critical practices of contestation of domination; the role of violence in underpinning and constituting law, and how big data transforms the realm of immigration enforcement and immigration politics as a whole.

My 2019 book Transnational Cosmopolitanism: Kant Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft makes the case that cosmopolitanism must be transnational. This is because global injustice creates distinct local spaces of oppression that we can only make sense of by exploring their commonalities and origins in common global structures of domination. For this reason, contestation of injustice is ill-served by traditional domestic and international realms of politics, and must instead inaugurate novel (transnational) spaces that straddle these realms. This can be achieved through relations of solidarity that ground transnational public spheres of common temporality and collective will formation that depart from Eurocentric domestic and international fora.

Recipient of the Sussex International Theory Book Prize granted by the University of Sussex Centre for Advanced International Theory. (Check out the prize statement).


My ongoing book project proposes an imperial genealogy of popular sovereignty, self-determination, and immigration control. Building upon the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, and Saidiya Hartman, I argue that "democratic" Western regimes are organized as collective self-governing units that agree on exploiting racialized internal and external others to support their social reproduction and well-being. I support this argument by bringing together texts, archives, and the activism of the white working-class at particular historical junctures to reconstruct regimes of global labor mobility and domestic regimes of labor control. I draw implications for contemporary political theory scholarship on popular sovereignty, self-determination, and immigration regulation.

At Ohio State I hold courtesy appointments from Comparative Studies; Germanic Languages & Literature; History (Power and the State Constellation); Spanish and Portuguese; and Women's Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I am affiliated with the programs on International Studies, Latin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Latina/o Studies. I am on Sabbatical for the 2021-2022 academic year.


Department of Political Science
154 N Oval Mall
2140 Derby Hall
Columbus, OH 43212

Ph: [+1] 614 247-8729 
Fax: [+1] 614 292-1146
@: inevaldez[at]gmail[dot]com

Current Curriculum Vitae




Transnational Cosmopolitanism: Kant, Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Check out the Introduction's pre-proof version)



"Empire, Popular Sovereignty, and the Problem of Self-and-Other-Determination," in Perspectives on Politics. (go to pre-proof version). 


"Socialism and Empire: Labor Mobility, Racial Capitalism, and the Political Theory of Migration," in Political Theory 49(6): 902-933 (go to article)


"Cosmopolitanism without National Consciousness is not Radical: Creolizing Gordon’s Fanon through Du Bois," in Philosophy and Public Affairs 1(2): 283-296- Symposium on Jane Creolizing Political Theory (go to article)


"Law, Police Violence, and Race: Grounding and Embodying the State of Exception," in Theory & Event 22(4): tbc [with Mat Coleman and Amna Akbar] (go to article)


"Re-reading Idris's Kant and Quṭb through an Excursus into the Cosmopolitan Implications of Barbary Coast Corsairs," in Politics, Religion & Ideology 21(1): 120-123 (go to article)


"Reconceiving Immigration Politics: Walter Benjamin, Violence, and Labor," in American Political Science Review 114(1):95-108 (go to article)


"Hemispheric Entanglements and Contemporary Immigration Politics,” in Contemporary Political Theory 18(4): 624-631 - Symposium on Juliet Hooker’s Theorizing Race in the Americas (go to article)


"It's not about Race: Good Wars, Bad Wars, and the Origins of Kant's Anti-Colonialism." In American Political Science Review 111(4): 819-834 (go to article)


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


"Punishment, Race, and the Organization of Immigration Exclusion." In Political Research Quarterly 69(4):640-654 (go to article)

- WPSA Best Article Published in Political Research Quarterly Award (2016)
- WPSA Pi Sigma Alpha (Best Paper Presented at Conference) Award (2011)


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

- APSA French Politics Section Stanley Hoffman Award (for Best Article on French Politics Published in the previous two years) (2016)


"Reel Latinas? Race, Gender, and Asymmetric Recognition in Contemporary Film." In Politics, Groups, and Identities, 1(2): 181-198 (go to article)


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


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



"Anti-Imperial Popular Sovereignty: Martin Luther King, Frantz Fanon and the Possibility of Transnational Solidarity," in P. Erbentraut and O. Eberl (eds.) Volkssouveränität und Staatlichkeit: Intermediäre Organisationen und Räume der Selbstgesetzgebung (Baden Baden: Nomos Verlag) (go to accepted chapter in English)


"W. E. B. Du Bois and the Fluid Subject: Dark Princess and the Splendid Transnational in the Harlem Renaissance," in Farebrother and Thaggert (eds.) Expecting More: African American Literature in Transition, 1920-30 (Cambridge University Press): 177-196. (go to accepted manuscript)


"Association, Reciprocity, and Emancipation. A Transnational Reading of the Politics of Global Justice," in Duncan Bell (ed.) Empire, Race, and Global Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press): 120-144. (go to pre-proof document)


"From Workers to Enemies: National Security, State Building, and America's War against 'Illegal' Immigrants." In Narrating Peoplehood amidst Diversity. Historical and Theoretical Perspectives, ed. Michael Böss (Aarhus: Aarhus Academic Press), pp. 145-182 [with Desmond King] (go to chapter)




"Introduction" and "Reply: Transnational Pasts and Presents. Method and Critique in the Political Theory of Cosmopolitanism" in Symposium on Transnational Cosmopolitanism, Review of Politics 84(1): tbc [with Thomas Donahue-Ochoa, Emma Mackinnon, and Charles Mills] (go to my introduction, and/or to my reply to critics)


"Globalizing Cosmopolitanism from Below: Difference, Contestation, and Political Economy," in Journal of World Philosophies 6(1): 123-126 [a response to Kok-Chor Tan's "Globalizing Cosmopolitanism"] (go to article)


Web Publications


"The imperial origins of 'They are taking our jobs'" or (not my favorite title): "Why anti-immigration politics hurt white workers," in Made by History(The Washington Post), August 29 (read post)


"Beyond the Dream and Promise Act: Why Democrats must turn the immigrant labor narrative upside down." In LSE US Centre Blog (read post)


"Donald Trump says he’s just enforcing immigration law. But it’s not that simple," in The Monkey Cage (The Washington Post) [with Mat Coleman and Amna Akbar] (read post)


"Donald Trump is expanding a system of immigration enforcement which already punishes immigrants and makes them vulnerable." In LSE US Centre Blog, March 2017 (read post


"From Global to Transnational: Reading Global Justice through W. E. B. Du Bois." In The Disorder of Things Blog, June 2016 (read post)

Research and policy papers


"DACA, DAPA, and Beyond: Plus ça change?" Newsletter of the APSA Migration & Citizenship Newsletter 3(2): 35-38 (go to brief)


PS 4465 Feminist Political Theory Syllabus

PS 4455 / IS 3450 Human Rights Syllabus

IS 4451 The Immigration Controversy through film Syllabus

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