Professor Stanley's broad research interests focus upon modern and contemporary political
thought, with a particular emphasis on the Enlightenment, its critics, and its contested
legacy. Her first book, The French Enlightenment and the Emergence of Modern Cynicism (Cambridge University Press, 2012) traces the relationship between cynicism and enlightenment
in the thought of eighteenth-century French writers, including Diderot, Rousseau,
La Mettrie, and the authors of libertine literature, and concludes by examining contemporary
diagnoses of cynicism as the dominant mode of consciousness in "postmodern" democracies.
She has also published related articles in Political Theory, Polity, and Eighteenth-Century Thought. Additionally, she maintains a separate research agenda in American constitutional
law. She is currently working on a new project that examines the concept of racial
integration in political, legal, and cultural discourse. A piece from this project
appears in Contemporary Political Theory.
Professor Stanley teaches classes on the history of political thought, American political
thought, feminist political thought, and public law. She joined the faculty at the
University of Memphis in 2006.