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Professor Julia Stapleton

Professor of Political Thought

Professor of Political Thought in the School of Government and International Affairs+44 (0) 191 33 47205


I gained a BA in Politics and Philosophy at University College, Cardiff, and an MA and a PhD in Intellectual History at the University of Sussex. 

My research is focused on political ideas in Britain since 1850. I have a particular interest in political writers and thinkers who addressed a range of audiences, for example Ernest Barker, Gilbert Murray, Arthur Bryant and G. K. Chesterton. All these figures sought to inform and shape public opinion, not least through newspapers and periodicals aimed at general readers. These are rich resources for historians of political thought and I continue to make use of them.

Conceptions of English and British national identity and related ideals of patriotism feature prominently in my research. I am interested in how they have been articulated and contested, and the historical narratives that have underpinned them. I am also interested in Liberal and Conservative thought, particularly their points of convergence in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I would welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students with interests in these and associated areas of political thought and intellectual history.

I am currently leading an AHRC-funded project that is bringing the journals of Herbert Hensley Henson (1863-1947) during the years 1900 to 1940 into digital publication in a scholarly edition. Henson was a leading churchman and public figure, and prolific writer during these four decades. He was also bishop of Durham, 1920-39. 

The Henson Journals – The journals of Hensley Henson, 1900-1939 (

Research interests

  • Liberal and Conservative thought in Britain
  • National identities in British political thought
  • The writer and journalist as public moralist in Britain
  • Christianity and politics in twentieth-century Britain


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Scholarly Edition