Professor Gary Browning

B.A, M.Sc (Econ), M.Sc, PhD, P.G.C.E

Director of the Think Human Festival and Professor of Politics (Research and Public Engagement)

School of Law and Social Sciences

Gary Browning


Gary has written 15 books and many articles on the history of political thought, political theory, philosophy and related areas. He is interested in how we interpret texts, culture and the social world. His monograph, A History of Modern Political Thought- The Question of Interpretation (OUP) analyses and evaluates a number of approaches including hermeneutics, post-structuralism, the Cambridge School, dialectics and idealism. His own interpretive pluralism is reflected in the range of his interests. He has written on Dylan and Murdoch as well as on past and present political thought.

His monographs include studies of Lyotard, Collingwood, Hegel, Plato, Political Economy and Global Political Theory. He has published in leading journals, notably History of Political ThoughtPolitical Studies and The History of European Ideas, and particpated in podcasts, radio discussions on Radio 3, Radio 4 and local radio. He has been the Director of the last 3 Think Human Festivals at Oxford Brookes, performing stand-up and putting on events dealing with protest music, a performance of an Iris Murdoch play, Dylan and political questions.

Areas of expertise

  • History of Political Thought
  • Contemporary Political Theory
  • International Political Theory
  • Philosophy of History
  • Philosophy of the Social Sciences
  • Many theorists and culural figures from Plato to Dylan.

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • Political Thought 1
  • Political Thought 2
  • Freedom, Justice and Political Theory.


  • Global Theory From Kant to Hardt and Negri.

He has taught widely on political thought.


Gary has supervised ten research students to successful completions on a variety of subjects in the history of political thought, current political theory and international political theory. These subjects include Marx, French Political Thought, Disability and Citizenship, Global History and International Security. He is currently supervising 2 PhD students, who are researching the political thought of Pasolini and Erich Fromm. He has examined 25 doctoral theses.


Gary has wide-ranging research interests in political thought, notably in the history of political thought. He has published on a variety of theorists, including Plato, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Hobbes, Lyotard, Collingwood, Hardt and Negri, Stirner and Murdoch as well as writing on the nature of the subject. His book A History of Modern Political Thought- The Question of Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2016) presents a new reading of the nature of the history of political thought. His recent book, Why Iris Murdoch Matters (Bloomsbury) has been reviewed in the Irish Times, the TLS, the London Magazine and the LA Review of Books. He is interested in current political theory, including Post-Rawlsian analytic political theory, continental and radical theory and specific subject areas including political economy and global theory. He has received grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Social Science Research Council, the British Academy, the Political Studies Association and the German Academic Exchange Service. His edited book, Dylan at 80- it used to go like that and now it goes like this, has been reviewed widely, and includes essays by singers, film makers, poets, academics, music promoters and a theologian and a lawyer.

Research group membership

Gary is a member of the Council of the Hegel Society of Great Britain and of the Executive of the UK and Irish Political Thought Association. He is a member of the Collingwood and British Idealist Society and the UK Political Studies Association, and he served on the latter's executive (1996-2001). He has served on the Committee of the Global Politics, Economy and Society Research Centre at Oxford Brookes. He has been a member of the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2010-2017), and is currently a co-organiser of the Political Thought Conference (Oxford) (2011-Present) and has partcipated the Brookes-Brunel Research Cluster in Political Thought (2017-19).

Research grants and awards

Gary has received grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, the Social Science Research Council, the British Academy, the Political Studies Association, the 'Political Thought' Specialist Group of the PSA, the Shanghai Academy of the Social Sciences and the German Academic Exchange Service. He has been invited to speak at a number of Universities and Conferences. He delivered the Alan Milne Memorial Address at the University of Durham (2017) and was a plenary speaker at the Iris Murdoch Society Conference (2017). 

Research projects

Gary has recently completed a monograph on Iris Murdoch, Why Iris Murdoch Matters- Making Sense of Experience in Modern Times (Bloomsbury, 2018) and has also completed editing a volume, Murdoch On Truth and Love (Macmillan, 2018). His research project on Murdoch continues. It is inter-disciplinary as it embraces Murdoch's interests in Politics, Philosophy, Art and Literature. He is currently writing a monograph, Iris Murdoch and the Political for Oxford University Press.

He has a long-standing interest in Hegel, publishing a monograph and an edited volume as well as numerous articles on Hegel. He has affiliated interests in theorists in the Hegelian tradition, including Marx, Collingwood and Oakeshott. His research on Hegel and Marx runs alongside his interest in post-structuralism and he has published on Lyotard, Foucault, Derrida and Hardt and Negri. His interest in particular historic thinkers is linked to his wider engagement with the nature of the history of political thought, and he has published on the identity of influence in and the methodology of the history of political thought. 

Research impact

He has appeared on radio discussing Iris Murdoch (Radio 4 Open Book programme (2019), Radio Oxford (20019). He has also appeared on Radio 3 Freethinking discussing Hegel as a cultural and political theorist. He has regularly appeared on the lcoal My Virtual Jericho discussing Bob Dylan, Iris Murdoch and local politics). His work on the Think Human festival promotes impact and his 2022 event on Attending and Listening involving Iris Murdoch and Samaritans shows the impact of Murdoch's work. 


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Hegel Society of Great Britain
  • Association for Political Thought of the UK and Ireland
  • Collingwood and British Idealism Society 
  • REF panel 2021.


Recent Conference Papers:

  • 'Iris Murdoch- History Woman', Plenary Speaker, Iris Murdoch Society Conference, September 2017
  • 'Oakeshott on History, Philosophy and Politics' Michael Oakeshott Society, July 2017
  • 'Dylan and Influence' Oxford Brookes Humanities and Social Sciences Conference, June 2017
  • 'Bob Dylan and the Question of Influence' International Bob Dylan Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, May 2017
  • 'Hegel and Masculinity' Brookes Brunel Research Cluster Conference, January 2017 
  • 'Dylan at 80' Oxford Indie Book Fair, 2021.

Further details

Gary is Professor in Political Thought. He researches in Political Thought and reated subjects. He is currently the Director of the Think Human Festival and works on a variety of forms of public engagement. He served as Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences from 2011-2021. He joined Oxford Brookes in September 1991, and has lectured widely in political theory, published 15 books and many articles. 

He has been a member of the Research Excellence Framework panel of reviewers (2021) and severed as a member of the REF panel reviewing Criteria ahead of the 2021 Exercise.

Other experience


  • 1970‒1973 BA in Politics and History, University of Reading
  • 1974‒1975 M.Sc History of Political Thought, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • 1975‒1981 PhD: Plato and Hegel: Two Modes of Philosophising about Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • 1980‒1981 PGCE (Distinction), Institute of Education, London University
  • 1988‒1990 MSc Social Sciences, University of Southampton.

Press, publicity and reviews



  • General Editor, Contemporary Political Theory, (Palgrave) (2001-2010)
  • Editor (with B Rosamond), Politics (Blackwell) An official journal of the Political Studies Association of the UK (1993-1999)

Monograph Series

  • Editor of the Monograph Series: International Political Theory, Palgrave Macmillan, (2007-)


  • Review Editor of the Encyclopedia of Political Thought, Wiley, 2011-2015

Other publicity

Gary has been invited to present papers at a number of Universities including LSE, Birmingham University, Oxford University, Durham University, Edinburgh University, Nottingham University, Nottingham Trent University, Warwick University, Sussex University, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Wales, University of the West of England.

He has appeared on Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio Oxford and has been a guest on a number of podcasts produced by the Iris Murdoch Society. He has appeared regulalrly on the online My Virtual Jericho series of broadcasts. 

His interview with Doerthe Rosenow appears on the OUP website and on YouTube.