Emma Rodman is a 2021-2022 Postdoctoral Research Associate in Values and Public Policy with an appointment in the University Center for Human Values and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics.
Emma received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Washington in 2020, and will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2021. Emma is a scholar of American political thought with a particular interest in the meanings of political concepts. Much of her work traces the unwritten histories and paradoxical political effects of seemingly "self-evident" political concepts in American life. Her studies employ archival research, interpretative close reading, and machine learning methods that trace the meanings of concepts quantitatively across large volumes of text.
At Princeton, Emma will be working on a book project, The Idea of Equality in America. In that project, she argues that the concept of equality is both more complex and more hierarchical than is typically supposed. By disentangling and historically situating ideas of moral, social, and economic equality, the book highlights both the tensions between different valences of equality and the historical shifts in their political salience. Looking from the late colonial era to the present, the book shows how some of these registers of equality have actually produced and naturalized hierarchy, and have had a sabotaging relationship to democratic participation and inclusion.