Joan Wallach Scott

Professor Emerita
School of Social Science


Social Science

Joan Scott’s groundbreaking work has challenged the foundations of conventional historical practice, including the nature of historical evidence and historical experience and the role of narrative in the writing of history. Broadly, the object of her work is the question of difference in history: its uses, enunciations, implementations, justifications, and transformations in the construction of social and political life. Scott’s recent books have focused on the vexed relationship of the particularity of gender to the universalizing force of democratic politics. They include Gender and the Politics of History (1988), Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996), Parité: Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (2005), The Politics of the Veil (2007), The Fantasy of Feminist History (2011), Sex and Secularism (2017), Knowledge, Power, and Academic Freedom (2018), and On the Judgment of History (2020).

Dates at IAS

School of Social Science
School of Social Science
School of Social Science


University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Brandeis University


Awards: Edgar de Picciotto International Prize, The Graduate Institute of Geneva 2018; American Association of Arts and Sciences, Talcott Parsons Prize 2016; American Historical Association, Award for Scholarly Distinction 2009, Joan Kelly Memorial Prize 1989, Herbert Baxter Adams Prize 1974; University of Bern, Hans Sigrist Prize 1999
Decorations: Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur 2017
Honorary Degrees: University of Edinburgh 2018; Concordia University (Montreal) 2016; Princeton University 2012; Université du Québec à Montréal 2012; University of Wisconsin 2009; Harvard University 2007; John Jay College (CUNY) 2005; University of Bergen (Norway) 2004; Brown University 1992; SUNY Stony Brook (1989)
Memberships: American Academy of Arts and Sciences; American Association of University Professors; American Historical Association


Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Adjunct Professor of History
Brown University
Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Founding Director 1981–85, Nancy Duke Lewis University Professor 1980–85
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Professor 1977–80, Associate Professor 1974–77
Northwestern University
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois at Chicago Circle
Assistant Professor