Joanna Wuest is an Assistant Professor of Politics at Mount Holyoke College. She writes on identity, inequality, and American constitutionalism.
Previously, she was the Fund for Reunion-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in LGBT Studies in the Princeton University Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science with a certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019.
Wuest's research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the American Political Science Association (APSA), and has been the recipient of the Kenneth Sherrill Award for the Best Dissertation on Sexuality and Politics among other APSA paper awards.
Her academic work has appeared or is forthcoming in Perspectives on Politics, Polity, Politics & Gender, Law & Social Inquiry, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, nonsite, the Law and Political Economy Project blog, and various edited volumes. Her public writing has been published by the Nation, Boston Review, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dissent, Psyche, the Los Angeles Review of Books' Philosophical Salon, and Jacobin.
Her first book, Born This Way: Science, Citizenship, and Inequality in the American LGBTQ+ Movement (Fall 2023 with the University of Chicago Press) tells the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, the modern scientific study of gender and sexuality, and the identity politics that formed at the nexus. It reveals how the scientific and medical professions bolstered the fight for civil rights and how conservatives have fought back against equality and science alike.
Currently, she is writing two books. The first is a co-authored project with Briana S. Last titled Church Against State: How Industry Groups Lead the Religious Liberty Assault on Civil Rights and Social Welfare. The book exposes how Koch Industries, the Bradley Foundation, and other wealthy donors exploit weaknesses in the public-private welfare state to undermine civil rights, the administrative state, and social welfare more generally. It details how groups including the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Becket Fund use religious child welfare providers, schools, hospitals, and even corporations themselves to advance a broad deregulatory agenda.
The second, titled After Liberation, examines how LGBTQ+ rights were won just as economic inequality became the defining feature of American life. The book argues that we have fundamentally misunderstood the relationships among state, economy, and minority oppression.