Nimu Njoya

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Schapiro Hall Rm 220


B.A. Macalester College
M.A. University of Amsterdam
Ph.D. Rutgers University, Political Science

Areas of Expertise

Critical Theory (the Frankfurt School); continental political thought; aesthetics and cultural politics; feminist theory; global women’s movements; human rights; democratic ideals; critical race theory; theories of justice and law.

Scholarship/Creative Work

My most recently published work examines the role of cultural activism and international women’s movements in bringing the voices of ordinary people into decision-making processes that have strong barriers to popular participation: national security policy, medical ethics, and constitutional interpretation. This research has broad implications for scholarship on women’s democratic participation and efforts to make concepts of universal rights and human dignity relevant to the lived experience of politically marginalized groups.

I am currently working on a book manuscript that analyzes concepts of justice and law as they were articulated in the writings of members of the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt in the early twentieth century. The manuscript focuses on the remarkably strong resonance between early Frankfurt School theory and recent scholarship in feminist theory and critical legal studies.

Selected publications

“Dignity as Non-Discrimination: Existential Protests and Legal Claim-Making for Reproductive Rights,” Philosophy & Social Criticism 43: 1 (2017).

“Tragedy and Democracy: The Fate of Liberal Democratic Values in a Violent World,” in Nancy S. Love and Mark Mattern, eds, Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics (State University of New York Press, 2013).

“‘Mindful of the Sacrifices Borne by our Ancestors’: Terror, Historical Consciousness, and the Slave Sublime,” New Political Science 32:4 (Dec 2010).

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

Lehman Fellow, Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2017)
Visiting Scholar, Amsterdam Research Center for Gender and Sexuality, University of Amsterdam (2016)
World Travel Fellowship, Williams College (2016-2017)
Development Fellowship, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (2002-2003)
DeWitt Wallace Scholarship (1999-2002)

Professional Affiliations

Member of the Advisory Board, U.N. Democracy Fund (2018-19)

Current Committees

  • Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility
  • Justice and Law Studies
  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research Supervision/Honors Students

Alice Westerman ‘21. “The Intersection of Reproductive Justice and the Prison System.” 2018 Sentinels Fellowship.
Olivia Goodheart ‘18. Honors thesis in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Ryan Roels ‘18. “The Emergence of Women Executives in Asia: With a focus on Thailand, South Korea, and Taiwan.” Honors thesis in Political Science.
Charles Billadeau ‘15. “Imagining Alternative Free Black Communities: Interpreting Responses to Kara Walker’s A Subtlety.” Honors thesis in Political Science.
Christopher J. Higgins ’14. “Conceptualizing Progress in the Thought of Jacques Rancière.” Honors thesis in Political Science.