Emily Nacol

Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Academic Emily Nacol

Focus: early modern political thought

Professor Emily Nacol has always been interested in knowledge problems, including how we know things about the world, what resources we draw on to make observations, and conjectures about the future. Throughout her BA and MA thesis, Professor Nacol continually explored topics related to the human search for knowledge.

Now, Professor Nacol studies early modern political thought. Specifically, her work focuses on the problem of how people understand and cope with the problems of risk and uncertainty; how we know things about the future if it does not exist yet; and how our efforts to live with uncertainty shape how we act politically or design our political institutions.

Professor Nacol is currently working on a book-length project about the status of labour in Britain in the 18th century. The book explores how marginalized people--migrants, prostitutes, poor people, and new workers in finance--were treated in a changing British economy. In this project Professor Nacol finds that they were often treated as dangers to society, as a way of coping with widespread anxieties people had about a shifting economy.

When Professor Nacol is not contemplating the wonders of political thought, you can find her outdoors with her 14-year-old rescue dog Libby, listening to podcasts while cooking up meals, or these days, watching a movie with friends over Zoom every Sunday night!