Professor Emerita

Joan Wallach Scott

School of Social Science
Social Science
Field of Study
Modern French History, Feminist Theory

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), and Sex and Secularism (2017). 

Dates at IAS
  • Social Science
  • Social Science
  • Social Science
University of Wisconsin–Madison Ph.D., 1969
University of Wisconsin–Madison M.S., 1964
Brandeis University B.A., 1962
Awards: 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: 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
Brown University 1980–1985 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 1974–1980 Professor 1977–80, Associate Professor 1974–77
Northwestern University 1972–1974 Assistant Professor
University of Illinois at Chicago Circle 1970–1972 Assistant Professor