Comparative political theory of the Cold War (Sept 2015 – Jul 2018)


Dr Richard Shorten (


This project intends to apply a new methodology for the study of political ideas in order to reread an event in contemporary history. The methodology is comparative political theory; the event is the Cold War. A view often expressed at present is that the Cold War 'is back', but this project suggests that the lessons of the original are still yet to be fully learned – the comparison in political ideas being the missing element.

Project aims and objectives

The project is interdisciplinary, aligning history to political theory. Alongside questions of the Cold War’s origins, dynamics and consequences, the aim is to pursue questions still basic to political life, including the politics of fear, the meaning of   dissent, the responsibilities of intellectuals, and the ethics of both spying and nuclear weapons. How East and West ‘thought politically’ about some key Cold War practices will explored by examining selected texts and authors, side-by-side.

More information

For further information about this project, please contact:
Dr Richard Shorten (