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Russell Foster has a background in multiple disciplines. From 2003-2006 he read history at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, specialising in modern European political history and imperial history. From 2008-2010 he took MA degrees in international politics and human geography at Newcastle University. His PhD, funded by the ESRC, modelled the EU as a benevolent empire. During the PhD he was the first ESRC Visiting Scholar to the College of Liberal Arts, Virginia Tech, USA. His doctorate was awarded summa cum laude in 2013 and subsequently published as Mapping European Empire: Tabulae Imperii Europaie (London: Routledge 2015). From 2015-2016 Russell was Marie Skłodowska-Curie International Fellow in the Department of European Studies, University of Amsterdam, researching the relationship between the EU’s symbols and European identity. From 2016-2019 Russell was a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of European and International Studies, King’s College London, researching the relationship between nationalism, European identity, and Brexit. He commenced as a lecturer in British and European Politics in May 2019. Russell is currently researching cultural and fictional portrayals of Brexit Britain, and the changing relationship between identity and politics in the UK and EU.


  • European and national identities
  • Brexit and euroscepticism
  • European integration and disintegration
  • The EU and Brexit in culture
  • The far right and new right
  • Empire and imperialism

Russell’s research focuses on political and national identities in a rapidly changing, and increasingly toxic, world. Old group identities based on nation-states, classes, or political parties increasingly compete with new group identities based on ideologies, emotions, and anxieties. These new identities transcend borders, and borrow ideas and structures from across the political spectrum to appeal to new groups of disillusioned, disenchanted people. At the same time, Western nations are seeing rising discontent and disillusionment with established political and economic systems, and a proliferation of anxieties and fears of threats to groups. These create a fertile ground for exclusionary and violent ideologies ranging from militant revolutionaries to white separatists, united by contempt for "mainstream" politics. Western politics is facing new and significant challenges, and these necessitate new understandings of politics in a rapidly polarising world. Russell welcomes PhD and postdoc applications to study in this field.

Selected publications

Russell has experience teaching modules in politics, political theory, European studies, human geography, political sociology, and political history. He is available to supervise BA, MA, and PhD dissertations on themes linked to his research interests. Russell is module convener for:


Russell is convener of the EIS research group Europe's Borderlands, and co-convener of the IHR Rethinking Modern Europe seminar series. Russell is co-convener of the UACES network The Limits of EU-rope and co-host of the KCL podcast series Breaking Britain. He regularly provides political analysis for international media.

Further Details