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Miss Sylvana Tomaselli F.R.H.S.

Miss Sylvana Tomaselli, F.R.H.S.

Sir Harry Hinsley Lecturer in History,

Fellow, College Lecturer and Director of Studies in History and HSPS, Tutor,

St John's College.

Sylvana Tomaselli is available for consultancy.

St. John's College
Cambridge CB2 1TP
Office Phone: 01223 3 38743

Subject groups/Research projects

Political Thought and Intellectual History:

Departments and Institutes

St John's College:

Research Interests

History of political theory (British, French and German)


Research Supervision

Montesquieu, David Hume, Adam Smith, Catharine Macaulay, Mary Wollstonecraft, Flora Tristan, English Radicals, Conjectural History, Gender and Political Thought, Violence, French Revolution, Tocqueville, Bentham, J.S. Mill, Simone de Beauvoir.


History of Political Theory and Political Philosophy from Plato to the present.


Other Professional Activities

Europäischen Zentrums für philosophische Geschlechtertheorie (European Centre for the Philosophy of Gender): Founding Member, May 2005, Seigen, Germany.



  • Academic related

Key Publications


      • The Philosophical Canon in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, Essays in Honour of John W. Yolton. Edited by G. A. J. Rogers and Sylvana Tomaselli, Rochester University Press, 1996.
      • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Edited by Sylvana Tomaselli, Cambridge: CUP, 1995 (1991, 2001).
      • The Dialectics of Friendship. Edited by Roy Porter and Sylvana Tomaselli, London: Routledge, 1989.
      • Rape. Edited by Sylvana Tomaselli and Roy Porter, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986; Pb: Rape: An Historical and Social Enquiry, 1989. With an introductory chapter by Sylvana Tomaselli. Portuguese translation: Estupro, translated by Alves Calado, Rio de Janeiro: Rio Fundo Ed., 1992.

Chapters of books

  •  ‘Reflections on Inequality, respect and love in the political writings of Mary Wollstonecraft’, in The Social and Political Thought of Mary Wollstonecraft, Sandrine Berge and Alan Coffee (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0-19-876684-1
  • ‘Have ye not heard that we cannot serve two masters?’ The Platonism of Mary Wollstonecraft’, Revisioning Cambridge Platonism, (Springer, forthcoming)
  • ‘On labelling Raynal’s Histoire: reflections on its genre and subject’, in Raynal’s Histoire des Deux Indes, Colonialism, Networks and Global Exchange, Cecil Courtney and Jenny Mander (eds.), special volume in Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century (2015 with the Oxford Studies on the Enlightenment (Voltaire Foundation, 2015) pp. 73-87. ISBN: 978 0 7294 1169 1
  • ‘Mary Wollstonecraft: The reunification of domestic and political spheres’ in Geschlechterordnung und Staat. Legitimationsfiguren der politischen Philosophie (1600-1850), Marion Heinz and Sabine Doyé (eds.), Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Beiheft, 2012
  • 'Montesquieu's L'Esprit des Lois from a Contemporary Feminist Point of View', in Montesquieu zwischen den Disziplinen. Einzel- und kulturwissenschaftliche Zugriffe, Edgar Mass, Günther Lottes, Annett Volmer, Jens Haeseler (Hrsg.), Internationale Konferenz aus Anlass des 250. Todesjahres von Charles-Louis de Montesquieu am Forschungszentrum Europaeische Aufklaerung (Potsdam) Berlin, BWV, 2010.
  • Rousseau juge de Locke or Reading Some Thoughts on Education after Émile' in Studies on Locke: Sources, Contemporaries, and Legacy in Honour of G.A.J. Rogers, edited by Sarah Hutton and Paul Schuurman, Dordrecht: Springer, 2008.
  • 'The Spirit of Nations', in Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (eds.), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • 'Civilization, Patriotism and the Quest for Origins', in Enlightenment and Feminism, Sarah Knott and Barbara Taylor (eds.) London: Palgrave, 2005 (Pb. 2007)
  • 'The Enlightenment Debate on Women' (reprint of 1985), in The Enlightenment, Dena Goodman and Kathleen Wellman (eds.), Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
  • 'The Role of Woman in Enlightenment Conjectural Histories', in Conceptualizing Women in Enlightenment Thought. Penser la femme au siècle des Lumières, Hans Erich Bödeker and Leiselotte Steinbrügge, Berlin -Verlag Arno Spitz GmbH, 2001.
  • 'The Most Public Sphere of All: The Family', in Women and the Public Sphere: Writing and Representation, 1700-1830, Elizabeth Eger, Charlotte Grant, Cliona O. Gallchoir and Penny Warburton (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • 'Intolerance, the Virtue of Princes and Radicals', in Toleration in Enlightenment Europe, Ole Grell and Roy Porter (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000.
  • 'The Death and Rebirth of Character in the Eighteenth Century', in Rewriting the Self: Histories from the Renaissance to the Present, Roy Porter (ed.), Routledge, 1996.
  • 'Political Economy: The Desires and Needs of Present and Future Generations', in Inventing Human Science, Christopher Fox, Roy Porter, and Robert Wokler (eds.), The University of California Press, 1995.
  • 'Reflections on the History of the Science of Woman', in A Question of Identity, Marina Benjamin (ed.), Rutgers University Press, 1993; (reprinted from History of Science, xxix (June 1991) 185-205, as listed below.)
  • 'Moral Philosophy and Population Questions in Eighteenth-Century Europe', in Population, Resources and Environment, M. S. Teitelbaum and J. M. Winter (eds.), special supplement to Population and Development Review (1988) and Cambridge University Press (1989).

Articles in Journals

  • ‘Fra disequali non ci si può associare’.  Riflessioni sulla diseguaglianza nelle opere politiche di Mary Wollstonecraft’,  (Giornale di Metafica, Nuova serie – Anno xxxv, 1 (Jan- April 2013) pp. 146 – 164. 

Other Publications

Mary Wollstonecraft:  Civil Society, Revolution, Economic Equality in Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts by Women Philosophers, Revolution; Economic equality; Civil society in WOLLSTONECRAFT, Mary Paderborn University (UB) and the German national library in Frankfurt/Leipzig (DNB),


Tomaselli, Sylvana. “Mary Wollstonecraft.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy. Ed. Duncan Pritchard. New York: Oxford University Press, URL

" Mary Wollstonecraft." In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, Helmut Holzhey (ed.), Basel: Verlag Schwabe & Co. AG, 2004:     Wollstonecraft, Mary

Oxford Companion to the Body, Colin Blakemore and Shelia Jennett (eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001:  Shame; Rape; Savages.

Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century British Philosophers, J.W. Yolton, John Valdimir Price and John Stephens (eds.), Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1999; Reprinted in Dictionary of Irish Philosophers, Thomas Duddy (ed), Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2004: Hamilton, Elizabeth.

Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society, Paul Barry Clarke and Andrew Linzey (eds.), London: Routledge, 1996:  Rape.

A Dictionary of Eighteenth-Century World History, Jeremy Black and Roy Porter (eds.), Basil Blackwell, 1994: multiple entries.

The Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment, edited by John Yolton, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1991: multiple entries.

A Biographical Dictionary of the History of Medicine and Allied Subjects, Roy Porter (ed.), Kos (Florence: Franco Maria Ricci Publications, 1984-): multiple entries.