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Dr Duncan Kelly

Dr  Duncan Kelly

Reader in Political Thought

University Teaching Officer

Jesus College

On leave until Easter 2016

Office Phone: ON LEAVE

Research Interests

I'm interested in modern political and economic ideas and their history, as well as some conceptual issues in modern political thought. In combination, I'm interested in what historical and conceptual accounts of political and economic ideas can do to help us understand the practice of politics. For further details please see my Brief CV

Post-graduate supervision interests

I am interested in supervising projects in line with my research interests. Current or recent doctoral students have worked on a variety of topics, including: Rousseau and 18th century Epicureanism; the political philosophy of honour; structural-historical injustice; the idea of solitude and modern democracy; the grammar of violence and power in Hannah Arendt; constituent power and the modern state; mid-twentieth century political economy and war. I regularly supervise students on the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History.


Undergraduate Teaching (course organiser)

I am on leave until 2016, but normally lecture for the paper Political Philosophy and the History of Political Thought since c. 1890, and am often the course organizer for papers in the History of Political Thought

Postgraduate Teaching

I am not teaching while on leave, but have recently taught seminars in Lent term on ‘Dictatorship’ for students on the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History, and co-taught a doctoral research seminar, ‘The Cultural History of the History of Political Thought’, in Michaelmas and Lent terms, for new students in Politics and History.

Key Publications

The State of the Political: Conceptions of Politics and the State in the Thought of Max Weber, Carl Schmitt and Franz Neumann, Oxford: Oxford University Press for The British Academy, 2003

Lineages of Empire: The Historical Roots of British Imperial Thought (ed.) Duncan Kelly, (= Proceedings of the British Academy, no. 155) Oxford: Oxford University Press for The British Academy, 2009

The Propriety of Liberty: Persons, Passions and Judgement in Modern Political Thought, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010

‘Carl Schmitt’s Political Theory of Dictatorship’, in J. Meierhenrich and O. Simons (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013-2014

‘Adam Smith and the Limits of Sympathy’, in C. Berry et al (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 201-218.

‘The Art and Science of Politics in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, c. 1817-1841’, in D. Sanjiv-Roberts and R. Morrison (eds.) Romanticism and Blackwood’s Magazine, Palgrave: Basingstoke, 2013, pp. 137-148.

‘Idealism and Revolution: T. H. Green’s Four Lectures on the English Commonwealth’, History of Political Thought, vol. 27, no. 3 (2006), pp. 505-542.

‘Revisiting the Rights of Man: Georg Jellinek on Rights and the State’, Law and History Review, vol. 22, no. 3 (2004), pp. 493-529. [Trans. Chinese]

‘Carl Schmitt’s Political Theory of Representation’, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 65, no. 1 (2004), pp. 113-134. [Trans. Chinese]

Some Recent Reviews

‘Countdown to Catastrophe’, review of T. G. Otte, July Crisis: The World’s Descent into War, Summer 1914, Cambridge University Press, 2014, and Gordon Martel, The Month that Changed the World, July 1914, Oxford University Press, 2014, Financial Times, July 5/6, 2014, p. 9.


‘Orders of Magnitude’, review of Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, trans. A. Goldhammer, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2014, Times Literary Supplement, June 27, 2014, pp. 3-5.


‘Accountancy and Accountability’, review of Jacob Soll, The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations, New York: Basic Books, 2014, Financial Times, 26/27 April, 2014.


‘Agents of Liberty’, review of Jonathan Israel, Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution, Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014, Financial Times, 15/16 March, 2014.


‘How Liberal was John Stuart Mill?’ review of G. Varouxakis, Liberty Abroad, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, and G. Claeys, John Stuart Mill and Paternalism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013, Political Quarterly, vol. 85, no. 1 (2014), pp. 104-106.


‘A Man, A Plan’, review of Shlomo Avineri, Herzl: A Biography of Theodor Herzl, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2013, Times Literary Supplement, March 14, 2014, p. 28.

‘Prussian Puppet’, review of Jonathan Sperber, Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, New York: Lineright, 2013, Times Literary Supplement, September 27, 2013, pp. 7-8.

‘The Wit and Wisdom of Isaiah Berlin’, review of I. Berlin, Building, London: Chatto & Windus, 2013; J. Cherniss, A Mind and its Time, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, and David Caute, Isaac & Isaiah, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, Financial Times, August 10/11, 2013.

A. Azmanova, The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment, New York: Columbia University Press, 2012, Political Quarterly, vol. 84, no. 2 (2013), pp. 305-308.

‘Free ways’, review of A. Burgin, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Markets since the Depression, Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 2012, Times Literary Supplement, May 31, 2013, p. 28.

‘Roosevelt Revisited’, review of I. Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time, New York: W. W. Norton, 2013, Financial Times, May 10/11, 2013.