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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)



Research Interests

Modern political and economic ideas and their intellectual histories. Relatedly, the ways those histories shed light on how we think about contemporary politics. Current research and writing is focused on the following areas (i) The intellectual history of the First World War (ii) The problem(s) of political judgment (iii) The challenge of the Anthropocene for political thought and intellectual history, and (iv) histories of the history of political thought since 1848.

Post-graduate supervision interests

I am keen to supervise projects in line with my research interests. For a list of recent and current PhD students I have been principal supervisor for, see my cv.


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 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 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.

Politics and the Anthropocene, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2019.



For a fuller list of current publications, please see my brief CV.


Teaching and Supervisions


Undergraduate Teaching (course organiser)

Political Philosophy and the History of Political Thought since c. 1890.

Postgraduate Teaching

I regularly teach on and supervise for the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History, and will offer a seminar on Politics and the Anthropocene for the new MPhil in POLIS in 2020-2021.

Professor of Political Thought and Intellectual History
University Teaching Officer
Fellow, Jesus College
Professor Duncan  Kelly

Contact Details