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School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Meet our Faculty!

Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs PortraitsClaudia Leeb

Associate Professor of Political Theory

Office: VMMC 202F
Phone: 360-546-9552
Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website


Ph.D. in Political Theory and Philosophy, The New School for Social Research, New York
Ph.D. in Psychology and Philosophy of Science, University of Vienna, Austria
M.A. in Gender Studies and Feminist Theory, The New School for Social Research
B.S./M.S. in Psychology, The University of Vienna

Dr. Leeb, who is originally from Austria, was recently promoted to Associate Professor. Before coming to Washington State University, she was an Assistant Professor at Roanoke College and Dartmouth College, and held post-doc positions at Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

Dr. Leeb is a feminist political theorist, who works at the intersection of feminist theory, early Frankfurt School critical theory, and psychoanalytic thought. Her research exposes power structures in contemporary capitalist societies, to help create more inclusive communities where subordination and exploitation cease to exist, and everybody has a chance to thrive. Two questions drive her research: First, what are the mechanisms of power that subordinate the working classes, women, and minorities in contemporary societies? Second, what can we do to transform these mechanisms of power to create more just societies? In her recent research, she addresses these questions in three coinciding research areas: political subjectivity, political guilt and democracy, and the rise of the far-right.

Dr. Leeb has a published or forthcoming book in each of these recent research areas. Scholars have widely engaged and reviewed her books, underlining her research’s impact. In her Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject (2017, Oxford University Press), she coins the novel concept of the feminist political subject-in-outline to envision an agent who transforms power structures in capitalist societies. In her The Politics of Repressed Guilt: The Tragedy of Austrian Silence (2018, Edinburgh University Press), she develops the innovative concept of an embodied form of reflective judgment, which shows us how how a nation’s failure to live up to guilt about atrocities committed in the past diminishes critical judgments in present democracies.

Dr. Leeb has recently completed her book Analyzing the Far-Right: A Feminist Critical Theory Perspective, which will be forthcoming with Columbia University Press in 2023 in its New Directions in Critical Theory series. In this new book, she explores the mechanisms of power that allowed the far and extremist right in the United States and Europe to exploit the suffering created by precarity capitalism for its political ends.

Furthermore, because of her expertise in studying power in various contexts, Oxford University Press recently invited Dr. Leeb to write a book on the concept of power for their A Very Short Introduction book series, which she is completing in 2023. Also, because of Dr. Leeb’s expertise in feminist and psychoanalytic thought she had also been invited to take over and update the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on “psychoanalytic feminism,” which she is also pursuing in 2023.

Dr. Leeb has won several awards and grants to support her research. For Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism, she received the 2018 ASCINA (Austrian Scientists in North America) award for research excellence. She has also published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on these three coinciding research areas, including in Political TheoryTheory & EventPerspectives on PoliticsConstellationsSocial Philosophy TodayPhilosophy & Social CriticismContemporary Political Theory, and Radical Philosophy Review. She has also contributed several book chapters to early Frankfurt school critical theory anthologies. She lectures about her work worldwide.

She teaches politics and philosophy courses in Washington State University’s School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs. She offers undergraduate courses on the Development of Marxist thought, Feminism and Philosophy, Gender and Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, and Classical Political Thought. In addition, she offers graduate courses that introduce graduate students to the core political theory and philosophy fields and supervises doctoral candidates in political theory and philosophy.



  • 1. Claudia Leeb, Analyzing the Far-Right: A Feminist Critical Theory Perspective. (forthcoming, Columbia University Press, New Directions in Critical Theory series, 2023).

Review Symposia:
Critical Horizons (vol. 21, no. 1, 2020), 63-79.

Reviewed in:

    1. Free Associations (no. 84, December 2021), 77-88.
    2. Constellations (vol. 28, no. 3, September 2021), 447-452.
    3. Perspectives on Politics (vol. 18, no. 2, June 2020), 603-605.
    4. Philosophy in Review (vol. 40, no. 2, May 2020), 67–69.
    5. Journal of Austrian Studies (vol. 52, no. 4, Winter 2019), 122-124.

Review Symposia:
Political Theory (vol. 47, no. 4, August 2019), 559-580.

Critical Dialogue:
Perspectives on Politics (vol. 16, no. 1, March 2018), 168-172.

Reviewed in:

    1. Politics and Gender (vol. 14, no. 3, September 2018), 14-16.
    2. Hypatia (Reviews Online, 2018).
    3. Choice (vol. 55, no. 9, May 2018).

Reviewed in:

    1. Labor History (vol. 46, no. 4, November 2005), 531-563.
    2. Feminist Collections (vol. 28, no. 2, Winter 2007), 1-5.
    3. Feminism & Psychology (vol. 16, no. 4, November 2006), 485-512.


Lisa N. Gurley, Claudia Leeb & Anna Aloisia Moser (eds.) Feminists Contest Politics and Philosophy (2005) Peter Lang Publisher, Philosophy and Politics Series.


  1. Claudia Leeb, “Castration Anxiety, Covid-19, and the Extremist Right,” Global Discourse (vol. 11, no. 3, 2021), 387-403.
  2. Claudia Leeb, “The Right Extremist Identitarian Movement in Europe: A Critical Theory Analysis,” Azimuth: An International Journal of Philosophy (vol. 8, no. 16, 2020), 71-88.
  3. Claudia Leeb, “The Hysteric Rebels: Rethinking Socio-Political Transformation with Foucault and Lacan,” Theory & Event (vol. 23, no. 3, July 2020), 607-640.
  4. Claudia Leeb, “Towards a Politics of Feelings of Guilt: A Response to McIvor and Rensmann, “Review Symposia on Claudia Leeb’s The Politics of Repressed Guilt: The Tragedy of Austrian Silence, Critical Horizons (vol. 21, no. 1, 2020) 63-79.
  5. Claudia Leeb, “Theorizing Feminist Political Subjectivity: A Reply to Caputi and Naranch”; A Critical Feminist Exchange: Symposium on Claudia Leeb, Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject, Political Theory (vol. 47, no. 4, August 2019), 559-580.
  6. Claudia Leeb, “Mystified Consciousness: Rethinking the Rise of the Far Right with Marx and Lacan”, Open Cultural Studies, special edition “Marx, Semiotics and Political Praxis” (vol. 2, no. 1, October 2018), 236-248.
  7. Claudia Leeb, “Rethinking Embodied Reflective Judgment with Adorno and Arendt,” Constellations (vol. 25, no. 3, September 2018), 446-458.
  8. Claudia Leeb, “Rebelling Against Suffering in Capitalism,” Contemporary Political Theory, (lead article, vol. 17, no. 3, August 2018), 263-282.
  9. Claudia Leeb, “Mass Hypnoses: The Rise of the Far Right from an Adornian and Freudian Perspective,” Berlin Journal of Critical Theory (vol. 2, no. 3, July 2018), 59-82.
  10. Claudia Leeb, “The Contemporary Frankfurt School’s Eurocentrism Unveiled: The Contribution of Amy Allen”; Liberating Critical Theory: Eurocentrism, Normativity, and Capitalism: Symposium on Amy Allen’s The End of Progress: Decolonizing the Normative Foundations of Critical Theory (Published online: March 2018), 1 – 8.
  11. Claudia Leeb, “Critical Dialogue: The Misinterpellated Subject by James Martel,” Perspectives on Politics (vol. 16, no. 1, February 2018), 170-172.
  12. Claudia Leeb, “Critical Dialogue: Response to James Martel’s review of Power and Feminist Agency in Capitalism: Toward a New Theory of the Political Subject,” Perspectives on Politics (vol. 16, no. 1, February 2018), 169-170.
  13. Claudia Leeb, “Radical Political Change: A Feminist Perspective,” Radical Philosophy Review (vol.17, no.1, 2014), 227-250.
  14. Claudia Leeb, “The Im-Possibility of a Feminist Subject,” Social Philosophy Today (vol. 25, 2009), 47-60.
  15. Claudia Leeb, “The Politics of Misrecognition: A Feminist Critique,” The Good Society (vol. 18, no.1, September 2009), 70-75.
  16. Claudia Leeb, “Toward a Theoretical Outline of the Subject: The Centrality of Adorno and Lacan for Feminist Political Theorizing,” Political Theory (vol. 36, no. 3, June 2008), 351-376.
  17. Claudia Leeb, “Desires and Fears: Women, Class and Adorno,” Theory & Event (vol. 11, no. 1, February 2008).
  18. Claudia Leeb, “Marx and the Gendered Structure of Capitalism,” Philosophy & Social Criticism (vol. 33, no. 7, November 2007), 833-859.


  1. Claudia Leeb, “Authoritarian Family Structures and the Resurgence of the Extremist Right: Overpowering Unconscious Forces,” in Arthur Bueno (ed), Authoritarianism and Neoliberalism, (Verso Press, forthcoming)
  2. Claudia Leeb, “Rethinking Feminist Political Subjectivity with Deconstruction and Negative Dialectics”, in Patricia Moynagh and Mary Caputi (eds.), Research Handbook on Feminist             Political Thought (Edward Elgar Publishing, Elgar Original Reference series, forthcoming).
  3. Claudia Leeb, “Austria’s Repressed Guilt in Theory and Practice: Personal Encounters”, in Vincenzo Pinto (ed.) Remembering the Holocaust in Germany, Austria, Italy and Israel: “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” (Mastering the Past) as a historical quest (Leiden: Brill Press, 2021), 25 -38.
  4. Claudia Leeb, “Adorno and Freud meet Kazuo Ishiguro: The Rise of the Far Right from a Psychoanalytic and Critical Theory Perspective”, in Jeremiah Morelock (ed.) How to Critique Authoritarian Populism: Methodologies of the Frankfurt School (Leiden: Brill Press, 2021), 200-219.
  5. Claudia Leeb, “Laughing at the Other: Toward an Understanding of the Alt-Right with Adorno” in Amirhosein Khandizaji (ed.) Reading Adorno: The Endless Road (New York: Palgrave Macmillan Press, 2019), 75-100.
  6. Claudia Leeb, “Mourning Denied: The Tabooed Subject,” in David McIvor and Alexander Hirsch (eds.) The Democratic Arts of Mourning: Political Theory and Loss (New York: Lexington Press, 2019), 65-82.
  7. Claudia Leeb, “Radical or Neoliberal Political Imaginary? Nancy Fraser Revisited,” in Werner Bonefeld, Beverley Best, and Chris O’Kane (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory (New York: Sage Publisher, 2018), 550-563.
  8. Claudia Leeb, “A Festival for Frustrated Egos: The Rise of Trump from an Early Frankfurt School Critical Theory Perspective”, in Trump and Political Philosophy: Patriotism, Cosmopolitanism and Civic Virtue, Angel Jaramillo and Sable Marc (eds.) (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 297-314.
  9. Claudia Leeb, “Female Resistance or the Politics of Death? Rethinking Antigone,” in Gabriel Ricci (ed.) The Persistence of Critical Theory, (Culture & Civilization, Vol. 8, Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2017), 223-240.
  10. Claudia Leeb, “Contesting Hierarchical Oppositions: The Dialectics of Adorno and Lacan,” in Alfred J. Drake (ed.) New Essays on the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009), 168-192.
  11. Claudia Leeb, “Das Klassenkonzept poststrukturalistisch gedacht,” [A post-structuralist perspective on the concept of class], in Ingolf Erler (ed.) Keine Chance für Lisa Simpson? – Soziale Ungleichheit im Bildungssystem [No Chance for Lisa Simpson? Social Inequality in the Educational System], (Wien: Mandelbaum-Verlag, 2007), 72-88.
  12. Claudia Leeb, “Preface and Introduction” (with Lisa Gurley and Anna Aloisia Moser), Feminists Contest Politics and Philosophy (New York/Brussels: Peter Lang Publisher, Philosophy and Politics Series, 2005), 11-17.


Claudia Leeb, “Über unterdrückte Schuld (About Repressed Guilt)“, Interview with Alexia Weiss about The Politics of Repressed Guilt: The Tragedy of Austrian Silence (Wina – Das jüdische Stadtmagazin, June 2018).