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Timothy Stanton's research and teaching interests are in political theory and the history of political thought. In particular, he is interested in the historical formation of modern ideas of political value and political action and the wider understandings of politics to which they contribute. His work focuses on some major seventeenth century thinkers, especially John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, and their reception and significance down to the present day. He is also interested in the relationship between politics and religion, political theology, and the development of ideas of popular sovereignty. He has held research fellowships at Yale University, the University of Cambridge, and the Lichtenberg Kolleg at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and he is a Life Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge. His research has been funded by, among others, the AHRC and the Balzan Foundation. He gave the third Balzan-Skinner Lecture in Modern Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge, ‘John Locke and the fable of liberalism’. It is available to view here.
Professor Stanton’s research focuses on (i) the thought of John Locke and its relation to (ii) the thought of Thomas Hobbes, and (iii) broader European debates about toleration and the nature of (iv) liberalism. He is currently completing a critical edition of a hitherto unpublished work by Locke on the nature of churches in two volumes for the Clarendon Edition of the Works of John Locke. His recent work on Hobbes and Locke reflects some of these interests, and gestures towards a wider interest still in the place and standing of authority within modern politics, to find expression in a monograph on Locke's political thought and what it can do to help us to understand the challenges of modern politics.
Professor Stanton is also principal investigator on the five-year project 'Rethinking Civil Society: History, Theory, Critique', supported by the Leverhulme Trust as part of a Research Leadership Award.
His research interests include (i) the development and character of Locke's theory of toleration and its connexions to his wider thought; (ii) its relations to the views of his contemporaries, especially Thomas Hobbes; (iii) its implications for modern politics; (iv) historiography and methodological questions arising out of the study of texts; (v) ideas of Enlightenment and modernity; and (vi) popular sovereignty and populism. Current or recent doctoral students have worked on a variety of topics, including Hobbes and Kant, Cicero and the nature of personhood, the development of Locke's political and religious thought, the role of conflict in modern political theory (Rawls, Williams, and MacIntyre), Conceptions of violence in Schmitt, Benjamin and Sorel, toleration in theory and practice, and R.G. Collingwood, history and forgiveness. He would be pleased to supervise projects in any relevant area of political theory or intellectual history.
Professor Stanton is a regular reviewer for publishers, academic journals, and newspapers in the UK, Europe, the United States, and Japan, on topics in political theory and intellectual history. He is currently external examiner for the M. Phil in Political Thought and Intellectual History at the University of Cambridge. He is a member of the European Society for the History of Political Thought and of the Scientific committee of the review Itinerari.
He is also the editor of Locke Studies: An Annual Journal of Locke Research
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