Accessibility statement

Professor Tony Heron



I joined the Department as Professor of International Political Economy in 2012. I previously taught at the University of Sheffield between 2002 and 2012. I have held visiting appointments at several overseas universities, including the University of the West Indies, Jamaica; Australian National University; the University of the South Pacific, Fiji; and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. My main research and teaching interests relate to the political economy of trade and development, most recently, with a specific focus on the global food system. My research interests include resilience in food systems, such as in the Greater Mekong Subregion.



My teaching reflects a long-standing interest in issues of political economy, development politics and global economic governance. My approach to teaching is designed to encourage students to approach economic questions as political scientists: that is, asking who gets what, when and how in international economic relations. More specifically, the focus is on the different ways in which political institutions – and the historical structures and power relations, ideas and economic interests that underpin them – shape distributive outcomes. My modules are based on a variety of different methods of teaching delivery, including both tutor- and student-centred approaches, e.g. lectures, oral presentations, group work, problem-based assignments, plenary debate and discussion. The key objective is to equip students with the conceptual and analytical skills to understand and critically evaluate both theoretical arguments and substantive policy debates. I strive to make the content of my modules both relevant and interesting.

In the 2018-19 academic year, I will be teaching The Global Food System (UG, L3) and The Politics of International Trade (MA).



In the past, I have focused my research on the global political economy of production, trade and development; North-South relations; trade politics; the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states; regionalism and globalisation. More recently, I have taken a more interdisciplinary turn, especially through my work on the global food system. I am a co-investigator on a project entitled ‘IKnowFood: Integrating Knowledge for Food Systems Resilience’, which is four-year £2.8 million programme, investigating the resilience of the UK food system in a  global context. IKnowFood straddles seven different disciplines (Computer Science, Engineering, Environment, Health Sciences, Management, Politics and Psychology) across the Universities of York, Manchester and Liverpool. Through IKnowFood and other food-related projects, I am currently looking at ideas of resilience in global food systems; the political economy of agricultural reform in the UK in the context of Brexit; the governance of global value chains; private standards in the Brazilian soybean sector; and food security in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Separately, I am also co-investigator on a project entitled ‘Immigration and Wellbeing’, which is a two-year Nuffield Foundation grant, led by Dr Peter Howley of the University of Leeds, and another project on China and the Future of Global Governance, led by Fujian Normal University, China.

Key research areas: International political economy; global food systems; global value chains; trade and development.    


In the past, I have supervised 12 students to completion on a wide variety of topics, including:

  • Ideas and interests in the making of EU trade policy
  • The political economy of Japan’s foreign energy dependence
  • The World Trade Organisation and the global sugar regime
  • Tourism as sustainable development strategy in the Caribbean
  • The EU’s promotion of regional integration in southern Africa
  • The discursive construction Belize-Guatemala border dispute
  • Micro-finance in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • The political economy of economic rebalancing in China

I am currently primary supervisor to May Ellen (education and foreign aid), Peter O’Reilly (constructivist institutionalism and the East African Community), David Kelsey (China, Zambia and escaping the ‘resource curse’), Ginelle Green (green transitioning and small island developing states) and Darrin McDonald (political stability and development in francophone Africa).

External activities


I am currently an external examiner at the LSE and the University of Lancaster. I have examined PhD theses at, among others, the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Staffordshire, Warwick, School of African and Oriental Studies, King’s College, University College London, Aalborg University and the University of the West Indies. I am on the steering group of N8 Agrifood and co-edit the journal New Political Economy.

Contact details

Professor Tony Heron
Department of Politics
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: (01904) 323554
Fax: (01904) 323563

Feedback & Guidance hours, Online appointments (Autumn term) Tuesdays 11:00-12:00