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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



I am Professor of Political Thought and International Relations in POLIS, and a Fellow of Christ’s College.

I Co-Direct the Cambridge Centre for Political Thought and Co-Convene the POLIS History and IR working group.

My work spans various topics in the history of modern British and American political thought, with a focus on empire and international order, utopianism, and political aesthetics.


My primary research interests are in the history of modern political thought and contemporary (international) political theory.

More specifically, I work on the following topics:

History of Political Thought

British social and political thought, c.1870-present; modern British and American ideologies of empire and imperial expansion; visions of utopia and dystopia; the history of the human sciences (especially political science and international relations) in the twentieth century.

Contemporary Political Theory & IR

Questions of empire, race and historical injustice in political theory and IR; technology and politics; political aesthetics, with a focus on architecture and speculative literature.


Key publications: 

Duncan's articles have appeared in a wide range of journals, including:

American Political Science Review, British Journal of Sociology, British Journal of Politics and International RelationsConstellations, European Journal of International Relations, International Studies Quarterly, International Affairs, Historical Journal, History of Political Thought, Journal of Modern History, Journal of Imperial & Commonwealth History, Modern Intellectual History, Political Studies, Political Theory, and Review of International Studies.

For a full list of publications (including on-line papers):

Teaching and Supervisions


I am the convener for POL 20: The Politics of the Future, 1880-2080, a third-year undergraduate course that explores the nature of utopian/dystopian thought.

I also teach philosophy and sociology of social sciences on the PhD program, and various topics on the M.Phil in Political Thought and Intellectual History.

I supervise M.Phil and PhD theses on contemporary political theory, international theory, and the history of modern British and American political thought.

I am also Director of Studies in Politics and Sociology at Christ’s College.

Professor of Political Thought and International Relations
University Teaching Officer
Christ's College
Office hours: Tuesdays 11.00 - 12.00pm
Professor Duncan  Bell

Contact Details
01223 767 249