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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Professor David Runciman, Head of POLIS

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Professor David Runciman became Head of POLIS in October 2014. He gave his Inaugural Lecture on "Political Theory and Real Politics in the Age of the Internet" on Tuesday 24th February 2015, which can be viewed online here. His research interests are: Late-nineteenth and twentieth century political thought; theories of the state and of political representation; various aspects of contemporary political philosophy and contemporary politics. He is current research project is on Conspiracy and Democracy: a five-year Leverhulme-funded research program based in CRASSH. He writes regularly about politics for the London Review of Books. An archive of his articles is available here.

Dr Christopher Brooke, University Lecturer in Political Theory

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Christopher Brooke is University Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Homerton College, where he is Director of Studies in Politics, having earlier worked at the Universities of Oxford and Bristol, and studied at Oxford and Harvard. He is the author of “Philosophic Pride: Stoicism and Political Thought from Lipsius to Rousseau”, which was published in 2012, and is currently working on Thomas Hobbes, distributive justice, and the political ideas of the early nineteenth century.

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Dr Helen Thompson, Reader in Political Economy

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Helen Thompson moved to Cambridge in 1994 and works in the Department of Politics and International Studies . Her research has focused on political economy in relation to the interaction of domestic politics and international constraints, the politics of financial crises, and the politics of debt. She is currently working on a short book about the place of oil in the western economic crisis.’

Dr Finbarr Livesey, University Lecturer in Public Policy

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Dr Livesey joined POLIS in March 2013 as Lecturer in Public Policy and Deputy Director of the MPhil in Public Policy. Prior to this he was Acting Director of the MPhil in Technology Policy at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Dr Livesey’s research addresses three areas – the changing dynamics of the global economy, the role of government in supporting growth based on the emergence of new industries, and the how policy making is changing due to new technologies.

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Dr Aaron Rapport, University Lecturer


Dr Rapport is a lecturer in Cambridge's Department of Politics and International Studies and a fellow at Corpus Christi College. He was previously an assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University in Atlanta. His research interests include international security and U.S. foreign policy. His book, Waging War, Planning Peace: U.S. Noncombat Operations and Major Wars, was published in 2015 by Cornell University Press. His work has also appeared in leading journals of international relations such as International Security, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Peace Research, and Security Studies.

Catherine Carr, producer

mugshot catherine2Catherine Carr is an award-winning radio documentary maker, with 15 years experience in the industry. She worked as a reporter and producer at the BBC, working on Radio 4’s 2 biggest strands: Woman’s Hour and You and Yours, before moving into making podcasts and programmes for Radio 4 and the World Service on a freelance basis. She works from her home-office in Cambridge with the moths and a naughty dog for company.

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Lizzie Presser, freelance journalist

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Lizzie Presser is a freelance journalist based in London who writes for The Guardian, The Independent, VICE and more. She is a recent graduate of Cambridge University's Masters in Public Policy with particular affection for the nitty gritty of social policy. She worked on Election last season, talking politics with strangers in parks and pubs.

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Barry Colfer PhD researcher


Barry Colfer is a PhD researcher at the department of Politics and international studies/POLIS at the University of Cambridge. He researches European politics, with a focus on trade unions and industrial relations. He has previously worked in Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament) and in the European Parliament.