Nov. 12, 2020

Meet our Newest Graduate: Kelsey Gordon!

Convocating November 2020 with a Master's degree from UCalgary Political Science.
Kelsey Gordon
Kelsey Gordon

Meet our Newest Graduate!

Kelsey Gordon’s MA thesis was entitled She is at Home: Re-situating women as embodied agency in Aristotle’s and Hegel’s political philosophy of fulfilment


It was written under the supervision of Dr. Joshua Goldstein.


Tell us a bit about your thesis! What was it about and what were its main arguments?

My thesis began with the observation that the possibilities of fulfillment for women within the history of political thought seem to require an impossible trade-off: to be either self as sexually embodied or self as intellectual thinking, but never both. My concern was with how sex and gender differences within Aristotle and Hegel’s systems of though at once create unique opportunities for fulfillment and, simultaneously, use sex and gender distinctions as justification for gendered systematic oppression. Not wanting to let go of either embodied difference or intellectual equality, I explored two possibilities where these moments of self can come together as fulfilling experiences, namely through motherhood and marriage. While both Aristotle and Hegel fail to capture complete possibilities of flourishing for women, I argued that each provides philosophic resources that allow us to think through possibilities of freedom and self-constitution that arise out of differences in embodied experiences and social relationships.

Kelsey Gordon

Any favourite memories from your research or at UCalgary Political Science you’d like to share?

I have a lot of great memories from the program, most of which are because of the people in the department. I was so fortunate to be in a cohort that supported each other throughout the program and afterwards. I have a lot of friendships because of the bonds that can only be made over late night writing sessions, often fuelled by a delicate balance of caffeine and sour candies. Our group also made an effort to do things together outside of school, which really helped to create an academic environment where we felt comfortable challenging each other and getting to the heart of an argument. The faculty and staff in the department are seemingly always available for a chat and ready to provide great advice, which makes the marathon of grad school much more tolerable.

Where has your degree taken you now?

Although extremely valuable in itself, my MA degree has also served as a launch pad into a PhD program at the University of Toronto. Here, I am continuing on in political theory and remain interested in women in the history of political thought. I have found that my experience and training from the political science department at the University of Calgary has prepared me very well for the PhD program.

Any final words of advice?

Getting through the MA is balance between knowing when to push and get the work done and knowing when to take a break. Unfortunately, that knowing also seems to be a matter of trial and error, so it helps to get a little outside perspective on these things. For me, having a support system of people both inside and outside the department made a huge difference in my ability to do well in the program. Make a point of having coffee with your peers and you will be surprised at how quickly a community forms!


Congratulations Kelsey Gordon on your degree!