Professor Stanley's broad research interests focus upon modern and contemporary political
thought, with two separate emphases: the Enlightenment, its critics, and its contested
legacy, and the politics of racial justice in the United States. 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. She is currently working on a new book that examines the concept of racial integration
in political, legal, and cultural discourse, offering a new, less spatially-defined
model of racial integration. A piece from this project appears in Contemporary Political Theory, and a second piece is forthcoming in Du Bois Review.
Professor Stanley teaches classes on the history of political thought, American political
thought, feminist political thought, race and politics, and constitutional law. She
joined the faculty at the University of Memphis in 2006.