Political Theory Reading group

The Reading Group in Political Theory is a term-time weekly meeting of the staff and postgraduate students (both research and taught) working in political theory, but also open to colleagues and students from other areas in politics, and from any other disciplines. It also welcome participants from outside the University.

The Reading Group started as an experiment in conversation between colleagues in the political theory cluster with very different interests and approaches to the subject. Even when disagreeing profoundly and not fully understanding each other, we carry on enjoying these conversations, which have extended to students and other colleagues in and outside the University.

Over the years, the Reading Group has become the focus of our research culture, an opportunity to exchange ideas and look at political and theoretical issues from many different perspective. Because the participation of colleagues and speakers from a variety of disciplines besides politics (philosophy, law, classics, economics, history, business, English, theology, geography, the arts) it has also given us the opportunity for interdisciplinary explorations and dialogues.

The format of the Reading Group varies from week to week. The standard format is that for one member of the group or an external speaker to briefly introduce a pre-circulated text, followed by a (more or less heated and controversial) discussion on any issue that seem to emerge from the text. But, often we have internal or external speakers (academics or postgraduates) presenting their own paper, in a similar way: brief introduction, followed by in-depth discussion. Occasionally, the Reading Group takes the form of a workshop with more than one speaker.

The Reading Group gives an opportunity to research students at Exeter to present their own work or to discuss texts in which they are interested, or indeed to discover new texts and ways of looking at familiar subjects. It gives the opportunity to taught postgraduates to be socialised into the discipline by being exposed to different texts and detailed discussions of them. Master students in political theory are required do a presentation at the Reading Group as part of their degree. This may be intimidating for some, but they all find it an interesting and formative experience.

Forthcoming events

Autumn 2018

October 3: Iain Hampsher-Monk, "In Defense of Rhetoric"


October 10: Robert Lamb, "Pragmatism and Human Rights"


October 17: Kirsten Walsh, "The Darker Side of Baconianism"


October 24: Special Event with Carole Pateman


October 31: Richard Seaford on Castoriadis' "The Greek and Modern Political Imaginary"


7 November - Sven Altenburger (University of Goettingen), “Constitutional Civic



14 November - Yutao Zhao (CPT), TBD


21 November - Clive Barnett (Geography), “The Priority of Injustice”


28 November - Lise Herman (Politics), “Parties in the Age of Democratic Crisis”


December Alex Lefebvre - (University of Sydney, Philosophy and Politics), Roundtable on Human Rights as Care of the Self

September 27th – Robin Durie (Exeter): “Rare Deeds: The significance
of relationality in complex systems”

October 4th – No meeting

October 11th – Sarah Drews Lucas (Exeter): Linda Zerilli on Political

October 18th – Elena Isayev (Exeter): “Hospitality as a Horizon of
Aspiration (Or, What The International Refugee Regime Can Learn From Acehnese Fishermen)” by Anne McNevin and Antje Missbach

October 25th – James Muldoon (Exeter): "Political Freedom as Self-
[Early finish for Department Impact Workshop starting at 2pm]

November 1st– Thomas Fossen (Leiden): 'Constructivism and the Logic
of Political Representation’.

November 8th – Teresa Bejan (Oxford): TBD

November 14th –Peter Stone (Trinity): "Rotation Ancient and Modern"
[Please note that this is a Tuesday]

November 22nd – Robert Lamb (Exeter): Conal Condren’s Political

November 29th – Dario Castiglione, Workshop on Political Coherence

December 6th – Daniel Kapust (University of Wisconsin): “The Tragedy
of Imperial Republics”
[Finish early for department research seminar at 2pm]