My work is a combination of philosophy of language, ethics, and feminist philosophy. I also like to draw from linguistics, sociology, and law. My overarching interest lies in the relationship between communication and social norms, values, and hierarchies. I see language as an immensely powerful tool. It’s not just a means of sharing information; it also shapes what we believe, how we feel, how we act, and even what there is in the world.
I’m currently working on three different but overlapping research projects:
- An investigation of the nature of intimacy, drawing from work in ethics and moral psychology, as well as from sociology and psychology
- A theory of the relationship between speech and normative powers
- A reimagining of the concept of speech itself – this involves redefining notions like illocutionary force to better reflect the collaborative nature of communication, as well as expanding the applicability of standard linguistic theories to accommodate bodily communication and online communication (I’m especially interested in speech on social media)
I have a PhD in philosophy from Cambridge, and undergraduate and master’s degrees in philosophy from Oxford. My PhD project, ‘Speech, Sex, and Social Norms’, funded by the Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership and supervised by Rae Langton and Clare Chambers, explored different ways norms of gender and sexuality are enforced through speech.
I run the Cambridge Meaning Group, which discusses papers in philosophy of language and linguistics. I also run, with Cathy Mason, the Cambridge Intimacy and Relationships Reading Group, which discusses topics like friendship, love, sex, and care.