Co-ordinator: Dr Graeme Garrard
David Boucher, author of Dylan and Cohen, with Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas.
The Political Theory Research Unit which centres on the work of six staff, although smaller than the School’s other units, constitutes a concentration of expertise that is unusual in a national context. Indeed, Cardiff’s strength in this sub-discipline of Politics is unique in comparison with other UK Schools of European Studies and very unusual in Politics Departments. The unit takes advantage of this to undertake research and to produce individual and collaborative publications and projects that are of world class, and in many instances are world leading and research agenda setting. Our many postgraduate political theory students are also centrally involved in the work of the unit.
Current research focuses on:
- International Political Theory
- Human rights
- Just war
- Humanitarian intervention
- Understanding and responding to pluralism and diversity
- Multiculturalism and identity politics
- Racial and gender equality
- Political justification
- History of Political Thought
- British idealism
- The European enlightenment
MScEcon Political Theory
The unit is responsible for a small but thriving Master’s programme, an MScEcon Political Theory, and many of its students stay on to pursue research degrees.
Visiting Research Fellows
The unit has attracted world leading scholars to Cardiff for extended visits. The most prominent of these have been Prof. Carole Pateman (Winner of Political Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award and first woman President of the International Political Studies Association). Professor Pateman is one of the world’s most important theorists and her work sets the agenda for research on sexual politics, democratic participation and racial politics. Since visiting, Prof . Pateman has moved to Cardiff and joined the unit. Prof. Rex Martin (Honorary Professor, Vice-President of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy and President of its American section) also spent an extended period with the unit and maintains close ties. Prof. Martin is at the forefront of research on human and civil rights.
Collingwood and British Idealism Centre
The unit is the home of this centre which is renowned as the most important such centre globally. As well as attracting visiting researchers from all over the world, the centre publishes the journal Collingwood and British Idealism Studies (edited by David Boucher and Bruce Haddock). For further information, visit our Research Centres page.
Workshops & Conferences
The most recent conference was Contract & Domination (Pateman and Mills) on 15-16 November 2007.
The unit is also currently two phases into a series of three intensive conferences/workshops. This is a significant international project that has focused on the challenge of multiculturalism and on the possibility of universal justifications for notions such as human rights. This work has been published in Multiculturalism, Identity and Rights (Routledge, 2003) and Principles and Political Order (Routledge, 2006).
In addition, our active postgraduate members have organised several national and regional postgraduate conferences.
In addition to the major individual and collaborative research undertaken by its members, the unit is also involved in setting key research and teaching agendas across the sub-discipline. Its members have published books that are important works for staff and students in the political theory of international relations, the history of political thought and contemporary political theory.
Finally, the unit very much sees its future, and that of the discipline, in the involvement and development of our successful (22 current) Doctoral students in this vibrant research culture. The Political Theory Unit has also been the driving force behind the development, not only of the political theory Master’s programme, but also of the School’s international relations postgraduate provision. As well as our postgraduate’s involvement in our activities more broadly, we have helped develop a dedicated series of postgraduate conferences as part of their ‘apprenticeship’ and induction into academia. In doing so, we have worked very closely with the University Graduate College. Fostering the researchers of the future is regarded as a significant responsibility that should be embraced by a world-class unit.