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Dr Andrew Schaap

BA(Hons) Melbourne, MSc, PhD Edinburgh

Associate Professor

Office hours (Autumn term 2020): Tuesday 14.00-15.00; Friday 12.00-13.00

My main area of research is contemporary political theory, with specific interests in the work of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière and theories of radical democracy. My research draws on debates in democratic theory about agonism to examine issues surrounding reconciliation, human rights and popular sovereignty.

I am a co-editor of the journal Contemporary Political Theory. I also co-edit the Taking on the Political monograph series for Edinburgh University Press with Alex Thomson and Benjamin Arditi, .

Research interests

My broad area of research is contemporary political theory, with particular interests in democratic theory. My first book, Political Reconciliation drew on the thought of Hannah Arendt to conceptualize reconciliation as a political undertaking in societies divided by a history of state violence. I am currently working on a book on Hannah Arendt and Jacques Ranciere, provisionally entitled Civlity and Emancipation: Hannah Arendt and Jacques Ranciere.

Research supervision

I am able to supervise research students in contemporary political theory and critical IR theory as well as projects that combine theoretical analysis with an empirical focus. Within political theory, I am particularly interested in supervising students who want to examine or draw on the political thought of Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière, Carl Schmitt, Claude Lefort, Antonio Negri, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben and/or Etienne Balibar. More substantively, I am interested in supervising students working on radical politics, politics and literature, democratic theory, biopolitics, indigenous rights and political reconciliation (including collective responsibility, forgiveness, transitional justice and commemorative practices).

Research students

Zhangmei Tang, The Coordinates of Hannah Arendt's Philosophy (co-supervised with Robin Durie)

Andreas Karoutas, Overturning the Majority (co-supervised with Alex Prichard)

Kate Berrisford, Can Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) be reconciled with Liberalism? (lead supervisor: Robert Lamb)


Rebecca Mavin (2019) Producing and Contesting Precarity: The Politics of the Body in the British Asylum System (co-supervised with Katharine Charlsey)

Farhad Kerimov (2016) Democratic Pluralism: Asymmetric Reciprocity, Reflexivity, and Agonism (second supervisor: Dario Castiglione)

Roberto Baldoli (2015)  Aldo Capitini and the Religious Liberation of Nonviolence (lead supervisor: Claudio Radaelli)

Owen Thomas (2014) The Iraq Inquiries: Publicity, Secrecy and Liberal Security (second supervisor: John Heathershaw)

Christiane Smith (2014) Articulating Ecological Injustices (co-supervised with Bice Maiguascha)

Robin Dunford (2012) Immanent Creativity and Constitutive Power (co-supervised with Robin Durie)

Claire Harrison (2010) Rethinking Anarchism: the Politics of the Act versus the Politics of Demand (co-supervised with Bice Maiguaschca)

External impact and engagement

In 2011, I helped to coordinate a symposium on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in the lead up to its fortieth anniversary.

The symposium was hosted by the Australian Centre for Indigenous History in collaboration with National Film and Sound Archive and Musem of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House.

Media coverage of the symposium included:

Fire in the Belly, Awaye! ABC Rational National

The Aboriginal Embassy Symposium, The Wire.

You can find more information about the event here.

The main outcome of the event was the publication of a book, co-edtied with Gary Foley and Edwina Howell: The Aboriginal Tent Embassy: Sovereignty, Black Power, Land Rights and the State.


I completed a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours in Political Science) at the University of Melbourne in 1997, writing my dissertation under the supervision of Sheila Jeffreys. I completed a PhD in political theory at the University of Edinburgh in 2003, which was supervised by Kimberly Hutchings and Emilios Christodoulidis and examined by Chantal Mouffe and Russel Keat. Prior to joining Exeter in 2007, I held research posts in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics and as an Australian Research Council (ARC) postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne. In 2011, I was a Visiting Fellow in the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the Australian National University. From January 2019, I will be based at Exeter University's Penryn campus in Cornwall. 

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