Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Dr Shorten is happy to consider supervising doctoral researchers in the broad areas of modern political philosophy, ideology or rhetoric.


Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Richard Shorten is a political theorist and historian of ideas.  The main themes of his work centre on political writing, violence and injury.  His research makes special use of approaches from ideology, rhetoric and literature.  To date his work has had a particular but not exclusive focus on Europe and America in the mid-twentieth century.

His first book, Modernism and Totalitarianism: Rethinking the Intellectual Sources of Nazism and Stalinism, 1945 to the Present (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), is an intervention in widespread disagreement about the nature of totalitarianism in modern social and political philosophy. 

His second book, The Ideology of Political Reactionaries (Routledge, 2022) is an exercise in the interpretation of right-wing political thought that profiles the writings of an eclectic range of figures from past and present.  The book argues that a continuity of beliefs and styles is too often obscured.  

His current project is to explore the topic of vulnerability as it appears in the political writings of three exemplary exponents of anti-totalitarian, progressive thought: Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus and George Orwell.  Specifically, this project asks: what, in the present, might be recoverable from their distinctive experiments in ‘voice’?

Future work is planned which will explore these ongoing themes of political writing, violence and injury in particular relation to the concept of responsibility.

Alongside the books, his own writing has appeared in prominent journals in the fields of both political science and history, and, especially, in the Journal of Political Ideologies, where he has contributed five articles.

In addition to academic writing, he has contributed a number of opinion and think pieces, in such places as PSA Blog, The Cicero Foundation, Ideology Theory Practice, The Conversation, and The Birmingham Perspective.

Research interests

  • Fascism, Marxism and totalitarianism
  • Reactionaries and conservatives
  • The political thought of Hannah Arendt, Albert Camus and George Orwell
  • Intellectual politics of the Cold War

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Impact of Totalitarianism in Twentieth-Century Political Thought

Award Date: 14 Apr 2004

Master of Arts, Social Research

Award Date: 14 Jun 1999

Bachelor of Arts, Modern History and Political Science

Award Date: 14 Jul 1998


Dive into the research topics where Richard Shorten is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles