- Modern political theory, contemporary political theory, feminist theory, biology, biopolitics
Samantha Frost's research focuses on the ways that our understanding of matter, materiality, or embodiment shapes our concepts of politics.
Her first book, Lessons from a Materialist Thinker: Hobbesian Reflections on Ethics and Politics (Stanford UP 2008), examined how Thomas Hobbes's materialist metaphysics shaped his account of subjectivity and of the processes through which political order is constituted. This book was recognized with a First Book Award by the Foundations of Political Theory section of the American Political Science Association.
Frost co-edited, with Diana Coole, a collection of essays by contemporary theorists called New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Duke UP 2010). The essays in this volume explore in a variety of ways how a focus on materiality shifts our sense of the terrain and stakes of politics.
Frost was a recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship which enabled her to undertake training in the biological sciences. Drawing on that training, Frost composed her recent book Biocultural Creatures: Toward A New Theory of the Human (Duke UP 2016). While Biocultural Creatures elucidates the conceptual significance of the plasticity of the biological body, Frost's latest project elaborates the political possibilities made visible by acknowledgment of that plasticity. More specifically, Frost is examining research on epigenetic processes to articulate the ways that material, social, and symbolic environments shape our development and our capacities to engage and shape the worlds in which we live.
Frost is currently the IPRH-Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Biohumanities, directing the Biohumanities Initiative that is part of an Emerging Areas in the Humanities Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and hosted by the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.