Mary L. Shanley, PhD

Professor Emerita of Political Science
Molly (Mary) Shanley

My teaching and scholarship while an active faculty member involved the history of Western political philosophy and feminist theory. I taught courses in Political Science, Women’s and Gender Studies, STS, American Culture, and the College Course. My published work includes Feminism, Marriage and the Law in Victorian England (1989), Making Babies, Making Families: What Matters Most in an Age of Reproductive Technologies, Surrogacy, Adoption, and Same-Sex and Unwed Parents (2001), and Just Marriage, ed. Deborah Chasman and Joshua Cohen (2004) and several anthologies on feminist theory.

For a few years after retirement, I continued to write articles about feminist theory, the history of marriage and family law, and ethical issues involving human reproduction. My academic writing gradually tapered off and in recent years I have focused my energies on leading a women’s writing group at the Dutchess County Jail and helping Vassar colleagues develop a plan for a college course to be offered there. COVID halted both of these activities, but they should resume in the fall of 2022. Continued contact with Vassar colleagues has been rewarding and fulfilling. I also greatly value continued contact with many former students who never cease to delight and amaze me with their insight, energy, and varied contributions to our shared world.