Denise Walsh is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Politics and Women, Gender & Sexuality at the University of Virginia, and a founding co-director of the Power, Violence and Inequality Collective in the College of Arts & Sciences at UVA. Her research investigates how liberal democracies can become more inclusive and just. Walsh’s current book manuscript, The Politics of Culture and Women’s Rights in Liberal Democracies, examines polygyny in South Africa, the expulsion of indigenous women from the tribe for marrying non-native men in Canada, and the face veil ban in France. Walsh also is a co-founder of The Backlash Project, which investigates opposition to gender justice.
Walsh’s first book, Women’s Rights in Democratizing States (Cambridge University Press, 2010) compares women’s rights in South Africa, Poland, and Chile. Walsh finds that democratic institutions like political parties and social movements often obstruct advances in women’s rights during transitions to democracy. Walsh’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, USAID, the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Italy, the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College, and many organizations at the University of Virginia. Walsh received an all-University Teaching Award in 2014 and teaches courses on identity politics; power, violence and inequality in the global South; gender politics in comparative perspective and in Africa; human rights; feminist theory; gender and the public sphere; and gender-based violence.