Paradoxes of Resistance: Maria Stewart’s Political Philosophy


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines apparent contradictions in the political thought of Maria Stewart. It first taxonomizes scholarly efforts to recover Stewart’s political voice, and argues that while these efforts acknowledge Stewart’s place in the political canon, they do not fully engage the complexity of Stewart’s thought, especially the tension between her dual advocacy of insurrection and moral suasion. The study develops an interpretive framework in which Stewart’s materiality as a black woman, political thinker, and radical activist—in a society that does not provide the resources for her liberation—constitutes the starting point from which contradictions in her politics must be understood. "Paradoxes of Resistance" argues that these contradictions are not theoretical inconsistencies, but astute mappings of the paradoxical nature of resistance to oppression.