Carnegie Mellon University

David Cerniglia

David Cerniglia

Ph.D. Student

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Broadly speaking, my dissertation concerns burgeoning feminist notions of autonomy in 1790s England. My research focuses on writers such as Mary Hays, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Fanny Burney and suggests that these writers grappled with a nascent notion of what has come to be known as “relational autonomy.”

A relational view of autonomy posits, over against proceduralist and value-neutral conceptions of autonomy, that autonomy depends upon social relationships rather than on traits that reside within the individual. While these writers were struggling to define autonomous subjectivity, they were also implicitly struggling against putatively masculine formations of autonomy. My other research interests include the the history of the book, print culture, and new forms of media and communication such as social media.