Kristin Gjesdal - Selected Title Author

We are happy to present our selected title author Kristin Gjesdal. She has written Unruly Women. Philosophers, Romantics, Revolutionaries (original title: Opprørerne. Kvinner som endret filosofien). The book is one of NORLA’s Selected Titles of the spring 2024.

Gjesdal, kristin photo lina hindrum

What is your book about?

Unruly Women. Philosophers, Romantics, Revolutionaries tells the story of eleven powerful, yet overlooked women philosophers in the lineage from Germain de Staël in revolutionary Paris, via Rosa Luxemburg and her struggle for social justice in pre-WW I Berlin, to Angela Davis and the Civil Rights movement in the US.

I am interested in how each of the eleven women – with rebelliousness and chutzpah – challenges our understanding of philosophy.

What inspired you to write this book?

That’s easy: my students!

I teach nineteenth-century philosophy at Temple University in Philadelphia. In this class, we cover the usual suspects: Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Marx, and Nietzsche. These are all great philosophers – and they are all men. Where, then, are the women in modern philosophy? Suddenly, it dawned on me that I could try and teach a class dedicated to the works of women philosophers in the period. I called the class “Unruly Women.” Since then, I haven’t looked back: This is a class I teach almost every semester and will continue to teach for a while.

Who is your book for?

It is for a general audience with an interest in philosophy and social and political thought: young and old, scholarly inclined or just philosophy curious.

How is your book different from other books in this area?

I am not sure if there are any other books covering women in modern philosophy in this way. There are a few monographs dedicated to individual women, especially to their exciting and thought-provoking lives. We also see the beginning of a new field of research and articles and monographs on nineteenth-century women philosophers are slowly emerging. Yet, to my knowledge, no comprehensive survey of this kind exists – which is precisely why I wanted to write this book.

This sets Unruly Women apart as far as its content goes. Then there is the question of form.

Since the book was inspired by my students’ enthusiasm, I decided to open the door to my classroom. Unruly Women tracks a spring semester in Philadelphia and weaves in and out of my classroom. It introduces the works of the philosophers, conveys the joy I take in teaching this kind of philosophy, but also brings to life the students’ attempts to apply the insights of these philosophers, whose work, until recently, have hardly been part of standard philosophy classes.

It is my hope that students of philosophy and general readers alike will be inspired to return to the works of women philosophers and, on this basis, see how much modern philosophy has to offer.

Read more

See full presentation of the book here

Read more about the author here

See all NORLA’s Selected Titles for the spring 2024 here