Katrina Forrester is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Government and Committee on Social Studies at Harvard University. She is a political theorist and historian with research interests in twentieth-century and contemporary social and political theory. She is particularly interested in the history of liberalism and the left in the postwar US and Britain; Marxism, feminism, and psychoanalysis; climate politics; and theories of work and capitalism.
Forrester's first book, In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 2019) is a history of how political philosophy was transformed by postwar liberalism, John Rawls's A Theory of Justice, and the rise of liberal egalitarianism. In the Shadow of Justice received the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti Award, the Society for US Intellectual History’s Book Award, and the Montreal Political Theory Manuscript Workshop Award, and was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone Prize and the European Consortium for Political Research's Political Theory Prize.
Forrester's current research is on feminist theories of work, dissent, and political action. She is working on a project about socialist feminism as the political theory of deindustrialization, which explores a range of anti-capitalist feminist strategies for transforming work, care, and the state, from political demands and sabotage to strikes and city councils. She has also been thinking about Marxist and psychoanalytic theories of the family, and, in particular, about dependency. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Historical Journal, Modern Intellectual History, European Journal of Political Theory, Analyse & Kritik, South Atlantic Quarterly, Review of Politics, Climatic Change, and in a number of edited volumes. She has written on a variety of topics - including pornography, sex work, policing, surveillance, happiness, the gig economy, privacy, Bob Dylan, Corbynism, and critiques of capitalism and liberalism - for the London Review of Books, The New Yorker, Harper's, The Guardian, The Nation, Dissent, n+1, The New Statesman, Jacobin, Boston Review, and elsewhere. She is the co-editor of Nature, Action and the Future: Political Thought and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2018), and of a Fall 2020 special section of Dissent on Technology and the Crisis of Work.
Forrester received her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2013, held a research fellowship at St John's College, Cambridge in 2012-14, and a permanent lectureship at Queen Mary University of London until 2017. She held a Kluge Fellowship at the Library of Congress in 2019-20, and will deliver the Quentin Skinner Lecture at Cambridge in 2023. At Harvard, she is a Faculty Affiliate of Studies of Women, Gender and Sexualty, the Safra Center for Ethics, the Inequality in America Initiative, and the Harvard University Center for the Environment.