Dr Richard Shorten

Dr Richard Shorten

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Senior Lecturer in Political Theory

Contact details

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Richard Shorten is a political theorist who specialises in the history of political ideas, with particular reference to twentieth-century Europe.


  • PhD Political Science (Birmingham)
  • MA Social Research (Birmingham)
  • BA Modern History and Political Science (Birmingham)


  • POLS 102 Introduction to Political Theory (from 2019/20)
  • POLS G77 Arguing against Tyranny (also from 2019/20)

Postgraduate supervision

Richard Shorten specialises in political thought, with particular reference to the problems of extremism. His research interests include:

Totalitarian political thought
Political reactionaries
Cold War political thought
History of twentieth-century political ideas in Europe
The thought of Hannah Arendt
Political ideology and rhetoric

Dr Shorten is currently working on a monograph on the ideology of political reactionaries. His main previous work was on totalitarianism and future work will look at Cold War political ideas in comparative perspective.

He is happy to consider supervising doctoral researchers in the broad area of modern political philosophy, ideology or rhetoric.

Other activities

Other professional appointments

  • Membership of Political Studies Association


Recent publications


Shorten, R 2012, Modernism and Totalitarianism: Rethinking the Intellectual Sources of Nazism and Stalinism, 1945 to the Present. Modernism and..., Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.


Shorten, R 2020, 'Why bad books matter: past and future directions for understanding reactionary ideology', Politics, Religion & Ideology. https://doi.org/10.1080/21567689.2019.1697873

Shorten, R 2018, 'The Cold War as Comparative Political Thought', Cold War History, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 385-408. https://doi.org/10.1080/14682745.2018.1434508

Shorten, R 2017, 'Totalitarianism and the End of the End-of-Ideology', Journal of Political Ideologies, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 147-168. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569317.2017.1306959

Shorten, R 2015, 'Reactionary rhetoric reconsidered', Journal of Political Ideologies, vol. 20, no. 2, 4, pp. 179-200. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569317.2015.1034466

Shorten, R 2015, 'Rethinking Totalitarian Ideology: Insights from the Anti-Totalitarian Canon', History of Political Thought, vol. XXXVI, no. 4, pp. 726-761. <http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/imp/hpt/2015/00000036/00000004/art00005>

Shorten, R 2013, 'How to study ideas in politics and ‘influence’ : a typology', Contemporary Politics, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 361-378. https://doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2013.835110


Shorten, R 2018, Totalitarianism and the End of the End-of-Ideology. in M Freeden (ed.), Re-energising Ideology Studies: The Maturing of a Discipline . London.

Book/Film/Article review

Shorten, R 2022, 'Review of John Rodden, Becoming George Orwell (Princeton University Press, 2020)', European Legacy.

Shorten, R 2019, 'The Rise of the Alt-Right. By Thomas J. Main. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2018. 320p. $24.99 cloth.', Perspectives on Politics, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 243-245. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592718003638

Shorten, R 2018, 'Book Reviews: Perspectives on the Entangled History of Communism and Nazism: A Comnaz Analysis', European Legacy, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 342-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/10848770.2017.1402524

Shorten, R 2017, 'Hannah Arendt and the Limits of Total Domination:The Holocaust, Plurality, and Resistance. By Michal Aharony. London: Routledge, 2015. 248 pp. $144 cloth. ISBN 978-0415702560', Arendt Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 177-180. https://doi.org/10.5840/arendtstudies2017111

Shorten, R 2016, 'Rethinking Fascism and Dictatorship in Europe', European Legacy. https://doi.org/10.1080/10848770.2016.1237434

Shorten, R 2013, 'VLADIMIR TISMANEANU. The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century', The American Historical Review, vol. 118, no. 5, pp. 1594-1595. https://doi.org/10.1093/ahr/118.5.1594

Shorten, R 2011, 'The Nihilist Order, Volumes I, II and III. By David Ohana. Sussex: Sussex Academic Press, 2009.', European History Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 715-717. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265691411417598ab

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