Skip to main content

Postgraduate community

Postgrad community

The PhD in Political Theory

The Centre for Political Thought is home to an intellectually vibrant and supportive network of PhD students who benefit from being teaching colleagues as well as fellow researchers. Students pursue a range of research interests, and have excellent facilities in which to discuss topics, texts and thinkers. Theory students are part of a cohort of postgraduate researchers doing work in other research clusters and have ample opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary work. There are many opportunities to develop professionally by participating in conferences, workshops, and the weekly reading group meetings. Doctoral students in political theory also benefit from frequent and supportive contact with the fantastic academic staff here at Exeter. 

All PhD students have the opportunity to take on paid employment as teaching assistants during their time at Exeter.

The Centre for Political Thought at Exeter has an outstanding record for the professional placement of completed PhDs.

Programme for the SPSPA Annual PGR Conference

Download as PDF: Programme SPSPA PGR Annual Conference

3rd of May 2023 (Amory Building C417)

9.00-9.30 Keynote speech

Natalie Ohana (University of Exeter)

9.40-11.00 Panel 1 Decolonising research methodologies - Chair: Sophia Similetidou

Caitlin Kight (University of Exeter) - Decolonizing the mind begins with studying the self: a reflective approach to support academics in decolonizing education and research

Robynne Grant-Jepps (University of Bristol) - Exploring the decolonial potential of co-production when planning a research project in post-apartheid South Africa

Lena Prouchet (University of Exeter) - Decolonising the approach to success and failure in development projects

11.10-12.30 Panel 2 The decolonial lens in understanding global political economy - Chair: Melis Kirtilli

Xinpei Zhou & Smith Njumbe (Fudan University) - A Historical Approach to African Monetary Integration

Andrew Wainwright (University of Bath) - Climate-Just Debt Swaps in addressing the triple crisis

Wenjun Cheng & Yu Zheng (Fudan University) - China’s Role in the African Rail Infrastructure: A Comparison with Colonial Railways

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.30 Roundtable 1 Discussing Islam and Anarchism - Chair: Yazid Benhadda

Mohammed Abdou (Cornell University) with Melis Kirtilli and Alex Prichard (University of Exeter)

15.40-17.10 Panel 3 Identity, Knowledge and Power

Maria Fernanda Cordova (University of Kassel) - The Construction of Indigenous Identities - as Beneficiaries of Development - in the Bolivian Andes

Abdelmounaim Fanidi (EHESS Paris) - Decolonising knowledge: a critique of Bled Makhzen/Bled Siba dichotomy during the French Protectorate in Morocco (1912-1956)

Mónica Sánchez Hernández (University of Bristol) - Gendabicod: Decolonial Research Methods of Reciprocity to challenge Academic Extractivism

19.00 Dinner at Reed Hall


4th of May 2023

10.00-11.30 Workshop 1 Decolonising Social Sciences Teaching and Curriculum (at Knightley Building Boardroom and Meeting room)

with Ellie Cook and Caitlin Kight

11.45-13.15 Workshop 2 Decolonising Social Sciences Research (at Knightley Building Boardroom and Meeting room)

with Farah Mihlar and Beverley Loke

13.15-14.30 Lunch

14.30-16.00 Panel 4 (at Amory Building C417)

Farah Karim (University of Exeter) - ‘The West’ seen by ‘The Other’: The Diachronic Discursive Construction of Identity in Iranian and Saudi Schoolbooks

Lara Fricke (University of Exeter) - How the Emotions of Memory Obstruct Decolonisation: The Case Study of Germany’s Denial of the Colonised Palestinian

Yazid Benhadda (University of Exeter) - Constructing the North African immigrant as “problem” in colonial France


5th of May 2023

9.45-11.30 Workshop 3 Transcultural modernities (at Knightley Building Conference Room)

Professor Regenia Gagnier (University of Exeter) - Decolonizing Neoliberalism

Professor Nan Zhang (Fudan University, Shanghai) - Aesthetic Sources of Liberal Thinking

15.00-17.00 Roundtable 2 Free Speech: Why the obsession? (at Phoenix Exeter)

with Ross Carroll (University of Exeter) and Bice Maiguashca (University of Exeter)

PhD funding opportunity

The University of Exeter and its Centre for Political Thought offer an ideal place where to pursue PhD research. Candidates with an interest in themes related to Political Theory and the History of Political are welcome to apply to one of the studentships currently available. They are encouraged to approach one of our staff. See under the “Who we are page” for the relevant research interests). We also welcome applications from candidates who would like to pursue a research project across different areas of expertise or in conjunction with other subjects such as Philosophy, Historical Studies, and more empirical Political Science. Our main areas of expertise include: the history of modern political and philosophical thought; environmental ethics, rights and social justice, feminist philosophy, politics of resistance; radical and deliberative democracy, political representation, constitutionalism and citizenship; communities, civil society, and wellbeing; political liberalism, republicanism, critical theory, socialism and anarchism; the digital and co-operative economy; conceptual history and the interpretation of texts; besides the study of particular thinkers such as Hume, Burke, Paine, Proudhon, Nietzsche, Arendt, Rawls, and Rorty.

See current funding options below.

Application for PhD Studentships starting in September 2023 are now opened, the deadline for submissions is 16 January.

Applicants for the AHRC DTP should have two named supervisors from two separate institutions members of the DTP.

For some more info see the annual Q&A sessions to support applicants. You should sign up via EventBrite:

Workshop: Finalising your Application

Monday 9 January 12.30-14.30 GMT


Up to 48 fully-funded PhD studentships are available for entry in September 2023 for the AHRC South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. The SWW DTP is the main source of government PhD funding for Humanities, Arts and qualitative Social Science students who want to study at Exeter. Applications open on Monday 21 November and close on Monday 16 January 2023. Further information can be found on SWWDTP Prospective Students webpages.

There are up to 39 student-led awards available and 9 pre-selected Collaborative Doctoral Awards. For student-led projects, applicants must secure agreement in advance of submission from two supervisors to supervise their project. There is a very strong preference for joint-supervision across two of the DTP institutions. Supervisors can be identified via the DTP 'Find a Supervisor' portal (be please note this is not comprehensive, so you may also have to search department webpages).

Please see the Exeter PhD funding pages for information on applying for a SWWDTP studentship to study at Exeter.

Applications for PhD Studentships for October 2023 now open

The closing date for applications to all our partner institutions is 12.00 (Noon) GMT Friday 13th January 2023.

The SWDTP supports doctoral students by developing not only their research skills, but by offering a wide range of training, placements, activities and events as well. We work in a collaborative way across the five institutions and have SWDTP students that will also form part of your cohort. The SWDTP is funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC). We have 45 fully-funded studentships from the ESRC available through twelve disciplinary pathways. These span the social sciences and five innovative interdisciplinary pathways. This offers students the broadest possible approach to their studies with us.

Further information on the application here.

General information on HASS funding and awards can be found here.

The following HASS fully-funded studentships will be available for September 2023 entry:

1. Home studentships – up to 4 awards available:

2. International studentships - up to 3 awards available. These now include an additional allowance of up to £3000 for visa fees and health surcharge costs. 

3. Postgraduate Teaching Assistant Studentship – open only to CAHRT, SPSPA and HaSS Cornwall applicants. 

Our students






Bingshu Zhao


Bringing the family back into
early modern political thought

Dario Castiglione and
Ross Carroll


Lingzheng Zeng


Isaiah Berlin: Pluralism and Toleration

Dario Castiglione and Catriona McKinnon


Dougie Booth


Marxism and Socialist Republicanism

James Muldoon and Andy Schaap


Lewis Cooper


To follow

Andy Schaap and Bice Maiguashca


Vivian Hall


The Whig Coryphaeus: Walter Moyle and the Civic Humanist Tradition

Ross Carroll


Riina Ylinen


Hannah Arendt’s capitalism’ and the ‘value of value’ in contemporary India

Andy Schaap


Oliver Roberts-Garratt


Foucault, Hyppolite, and the Ineffable

James Muldoon


Jessica Stanier


Phenomenology and Aging 

Robin Durie


Andreas Karoutas


Overturning the Majority

Andrew Schaap and Alex Prichard


Roberto Baccarini


The Nature of the EU’s Institutional Structure and its Role in the Response to the Covid-19 Crisis

Dario Castiglione


Yutao Zhao


Self-love and the artificiality of Civil Society: Hobbes, Mandeville and Hume

Dario Castiglione
and Ross Carroll

Lecturer, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou (China)

Zhangmei Tang


The Capacity to World: The Transcendental Ground of Hannah Arendt’s Conception of the Human

Andrew Schaap and Robin Durie

Postdoctoral Researcher, Sichuan University, Chengdu (China)

Katherine Townsend


Liberalism and Problems with Female Genital Cutting

Robert Lamb and Andrew Schaap

Associate Lecturer, Politics, Exeter

Becca Mavin


Afghan asylum seekers in the U.K.

Andrew Schaap


Martin Moorby


Marx's "Riddle": Alien Politics in the Thought of Karl Marx

Iain Hampsher-Monk and Dario Castiglione

Associate Lecturer, Politics, Exeter

Jack Griffiths


Rethinking "Flourishing" as an Organic Concept of the Good: The Interpretation of Development and the Evaluation of Life

Robin Durie and John Dupré

Associate Lecturer, Politics, Exeter

Keith Sutherland


Giving Up on the Concept of Representation

Dario Castiglione

Partner, Imprint Academic

Roberto Baldoli


Aldo Capitini and the Religious Liberation of Nonviolence

Claudio Raedelli and Andy Schaap

Associate Researcher, UCL

Farhad Kerimov


Pluralism, Discourse, and Democratic Politics

Andy Schaap and Dario Castiglione

Head of International and Comparative Politics Department, American University of Central Asia

Biao Zhang


Concepts of Rationality in Classical Political Theorists and Their Representations in IR Theory

Iain Hampsher-Monk and Alex Prichard

Associate Professor, China University of Law and Politics, Beijing (China)

Jan Pieter Beetz


Popular Sovereignty in Europe

Dario Castiglione and Nicole Bolleyer

Assistant Professor, Utrecht University

Stuart Ingham


Egalitarianisms and Exploitation

Robert Lamb

Deputy Director of Policy at the Labour Party

Alexandra Boehme


The Multidimensional Sovereignty of the European Union

Dario Castiglione

Senior Associate, EMEA Centre for Regulatory Strategy

Christiane Smith


Articulating Ecological Injustices

Bice Maiguashca and Andy Schaap


Gabriel Thebolt


Reconceptualising Emergent Wholes

Robin Durie


Owen Thomas


The Iraq Enquiries: Publicity, Secrecy, and Liberal Security

Andy Schaap and John Heathershaw

Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter

Christopher Fear


Concepts of Time and History in Nineteenth Century (British) Political Theory and Cultural Criticism

Iain Hampsher-Monk and Ed Skidelsky

Lecturer, University of Hull

Mike Cailes


The Divergence of Thought on War and Peace in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe

Iain Hampsher-Monk


Robin Dunford


Immanent Creativity and Constitutive Power

Robin Durie and Andy Schaap

Lecturer, University of Brighton

Marios Filis


Political Ethics: History and Theory

Dario Castiglione

Outsourcing Business Manager, LCH

Christopher Nathan


The Basis of Human Equality

Keith Hyams

Research Fellow, University of Warwick

Simon Townsend


Nietzche's Monster of Energy: The Self-Creation of the Great Man

Robin Durie

Associate Lecturer, Politics, Exeter

Robin Douglass


The Political Thought of Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Iain Hampsher-Monk

Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, Kings College London

Claire Bonham


Rethinking the Divide: Beyond the Politics of Demand vs. The Policy of the Act Debate

Bice Maiguashca and Andy Schaap

Strategic Lead, Volunteering, Salvation Army

Joanie Willett


Why is Cornwall so Poor?: Narrative, Perception, and Identity

Robin Durie and Jonathan Githens-Mazer

Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter

Saud Al-Tammami


Enlightenment in Contemporary Arab Thought: Juxtaposing Averroes and Kant

Iain Hampsher-Monk


Cassie Hague


Polluted Inheritances?: Children, The Political Imagination, and the Search for a Non-Oppositional Notion of Child Citizenship Rights

Bice Maiguashca and Robin Durie


Nikola Regent


Magistra Vitae: History as Inducement for Action

Iain Hampsher-Monk

Research Fellow, Australian National University

Benjamin Thompson


Activity, Passivity, and the Politics of Will and Disposition in the Thought of Locke and Rousseau

Iain Hampsher-Monk and Dario Castiglione

Associate Professor, Kyungpook National University