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Political Theory

We have an enthusiastic, vibrant and steadily expanding community of political theorists at the School. We have been recognised for our research strengths in the history of British political thought over many decades, specifically in the fields of British idealism, national identities in British political thought, modern British political, social and industrial history, the British conservative, liberal and anarchist political thought and Christianity and politics in twentieth-century Britain, engaging with the ideas of T.H. Green, Bernard Bosanquet, L.T. Hobhouse, James Fitzjames Stephan, Ernest Barker, Arthur Bryant, G.K. Chesterton, Hensley Henson and Will Lawther.

Members of the research group also specialise in political thought more broadly including republican political thought, value pluralism, modern liberty, political ideologies, resistance and revolution in political thought, covering the scholarship of Niccolò Machiavelli, David Hume, Benjamin Constant, Isaiah Berlin, Hannah Arendt, and Frantz Fanon, among others.

We have gradually expanded by building expertise in contemporary moral and political philosophy with specialisms in structural injustice, human rights, global justice, moral contractualism, collectivisation duties, disability, paternalism, epistemic injustice, multiculturalism, concepts of liberty, ethics of violence and armed conflict, just war theory and political violence, analysing the work of Joseph Raz, Iris Young, Carol Gould, Tim Scanlon, Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum, Ingrid Robeyns and Jeff McMahan.

Political theory activities are organised by the Centre for Political Thought, with a weekly research seminar, a monthly reading group, two annual memorial addresses, as well as international conferences and workshops taking place. The centre has actively sought collaborations with other Northern universities, organising most recently two regional ‘away-day’ meetings with political theorists from the University of Newcastle and Queen’s University Belfast.



  • Dr Jessica Begon
  • Dr Maria Dimova-Cookson
  • Professor Christopher Finlay
  • Dr Elizabeth Kahn
  • Dr Lewis Mates
  • Professor Julia Stapleton