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Clare Chambers’ book Against Marriage wins APSA David Easton Award

last modified Jun 05, 2018 09:10 AM

Clare Chambers’ book Against Marriage wins APSA David Easton Award


Dr Clare Chambers’ book Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State has won the 2018 David Easton Award from the American Political Science Association (APSA). The David Easton Award is given for a book that broadens the horizons of contemporary political science by engaging issues of philosophical significance in political life through any of a variety of approaches in the social sciences and humanities. The prize is shared with Barbara Arneil for her book Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony.

The citation for the Award follows.

Clare Chambers’ Against Marriage: An Egalitarian Defence of the Marriage-Free State and Barbara Arneil’s Domestic Colonies: The Turn Inward to Colony won recognition from our committee because these two books exhibit logical rigor, clarity of structure, lucidity of thought, and crisp prose. Just as important, they tackle politically significant problems: in the first case, the liberal democratic state’s sanctification of one form of intimate social relations at the expense of others, and in the second case, the challenges that Western domestic colonies in the modern past pose for understandings of colonialism in the present. The two books deftly situate themselves against the backdrop of larger literatures on, respectively, marriage and colonialism, and they carve out provocative positions that draw on those literatures while moving beyond their existing limits of thought and action. As all true provocations should do, they are sure to stimulate new analyses and arguments in response to the ideas they lay out.
Clare Chambers breathes new life into radical feminist critiques of marriage and classical liberal critiques of states that give their imprimatur to specific notions of the good life in order to argue that state-recognized marriage is fundamentally unjust. This may seem a surprising claim in an era in which social and legal acceptance of same-sex marriage is increasing. However, Chambers’ acute analysis, which she intends, as she puts it at the start, “for everyone, regardless of marital status,” shows how even struggles for the state’s recognition of gay marriage elide injustices internal to heterosexual marriage and external injustices of marriage for those who cannot or choose not to be married, even once those struggles have been won. Chambers argues that the practical and symbolic effects of state-endorsed marriage inevitably privilege some people and some ways of life over others, violating both feminist and liberal principles. While not opposed to marriage as a social relationship, she powerfully demonstrates the ways that state-endorsed marriage undercuts equality and freedom, and the insufficiency of even the most progressive defenses of marriage as a politically credentialed institution. Equally impressive is the constructive aspect of her book. Chambers is a critic of state sanctifications of oppressive and/or exclusionary forms of intimate life, but she is an advocate of state power that supports individuals equally in their day-to-day endeavors and relationships. Her theory, which is practical yet visionary, delineates how practices that marriage bundles together (child-rearing, co-habitation, caring for elderly parents, joint property ownership, etc.) might be unbundled and justly regulated by the state to protect those engaged in or affected by them without privileging married couples. Her book demonstrates how the strengths of analytical political philosophy can be powerfully mobilized as a resource for motivating political change.


Four Fixed Term Lectureship vacancies - closing date 25th June 2018

last modified Jun 11, 2018 02:43 PM

The Faculty of Philosophy wishes to appoint four fixed-term Lecturers in Philosophy: one for a three-year term, the other three for one-year terms.

For further details click here

Closing date: 25 June 2018 (midnight UK Time)

Dr Chambers will be live on Reddit Philosophy 16th April

last modified Apr 12, 2018 10:06 AM

Dr Clare Chambers will be participating in an AMA - Ask Me Anything! - hosted by Reddit Philosophy on 16th April 2018. You can post questions in advance or take part in the live conversation at 5pm GMT on that day. For more details see:

Remco Heesen has been awarded the Emanuel Miller Prize by St John's College, Cambridge, for his essay "Why the Reward Structure of Science Makes Reproducibility Problems Inevitable"

last modified Apr 10, 2018 10:33 AM

Remco Heesen has been awarded the Emanuel Miller Prize by St John's College, Cambridge, for his essay "Why the Reward Structure of Science Makes Reproducibility Problems Inevitable".

For further information about the prize see:


Dragos Calma has been awarded the Bessel Forschungspreis for his work on Medieval Neoplatonism

last modified Apr 09, 2018 11:33 AM

Dragos Calma has been awarded the Bessel Forschungspreis for his work on Medieval Neoplatonism.  For further information see: