Staff members and steering group

Committed to ensuring the BPL meets the research needs of its members, the Director and Deputy Director work with a Steering group to identify each year’s activities and to discuss how we might better realize our goals. The Steering group includes a PHD representative to ensure that their needs are central to what we do too. We meet a couple of times per term to make sure that the Centre is a truly collective endeavour.

Steering group

Dr Alejandro Colas Reader in International Relations, Birkbeck College

My research interests include Empires and Imperialism, Geopolitics, International Relations Theory and Social Movements. I’ve published on published on subjects ranging from piracy, Spanish responses to terrorism, imperialism, internationalism and global governance. I co-edited the collection Food, Politics, and Society Social Theory and the Modern Food System.

Dr Jason Edwards Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck College

My teaching and research focuses on the history of political thought, especially Thomas Hobbes, Alexis de Tocqueville and Karl Marx.I’m also interested in democratic theory, in particular debates around deliberative, agonistic and associative democracy. I have co-edited the collection Food, Politics, and Society Social Theory and the Modern Food System. Read my blog with Alex Colas on the Food Politics of Brexit.

Dr Dermot Hodson Reader in Political Economy, Birkbeck College

My expertise is on the European Union (EU, looking at how European states respond to economic interdependence and public mistrust in traditional modes of decision-making. The relationship between politics and law is a recurring theme in my research.My 2018 book with Imelda Maher book investigates changing constitutional rules and norms concerning the negotiation and approval of EU treaties. It explains the rise of parliaments, referendums and courts in treaty making at the EU level – and in each of the 28 EU member states – since 1950. I’m also interested in economic policy in national settings and in international financial institutions. I am co-presenter of Birkbeck’s British politics podcast, Westminster Watch.

Professor Eric Kaufmann Head of the Department of Politics, Birkbeck College

My current research looks at the effect of population change on politics, especially the relationship between immigration, ethnic change and the rise of national populism in western Europe and North America. I work mainly with large-scale survey data, as well as survey experiments, to test competing theories of immigration attitudes, populist right support and national identity. I also incorporate historical sociology and political history into my work to provide temporal depth to contemporary data analyses. Eric is co-editor of the journal, Nations and Nationalism.

Conor Kelly, PhD Representative, Birkbeck College

My research focuses on Northern Irish political parties and their attitudes towards European integration. It asks whether ideology and electoral calculus, as the existing studies predict, reshaped Northern Irish political parties’ preferences on Europe. Going beyond this literature, I consider whether Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party have been influenced by transnational politics on the island of Ireland and within the European Union.

The research will shed new light on Northern Irish political parties at a time when these actors are having a profound effect on the future of UK-EU relations and British-Irish constitutional politics. More generally, the findings will advance the literature on how political parties form their preferences in divided societies

Professor Deborah Mabbett Professor of Public Policy, Birkbeck College

I am interested in how decisions on public policy are made. This has led me to do research on delegated decision-making, for example by central banks. Much of this research is about countries other than the UK and about political systems other than Westminster, notably the European Union. However, the difficulty of making decisions in British politics also interests me, and has been the subject of some of my commentaries in the journal Political Quarterly, which I co-edit with Ben Jackson. I am currently studying expert policy-making from the inside as a union-nominated member of the Joint Expert Panel on the Universities Superannuation Scheme.