Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico



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 Education in May 2019, and is currently researching cultural and fictional portrayals of post-Brexit Britain.


  • European and national identities
  • Brexit and euroscepticism
  • European integration
  • The EU and Brexit in culture
  • 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 Foster and Matthew Feldman (forthcoming 2021) ‘A Plague on Both Your Houses. Populism v. technocracy in the post-Brexit British New Right’, in Russell Foster, Monika Meislova, and Jan Grzymski (eds.) ‘Revisiting the legitimization of EUropean politics beyond populism and technocracy.’ Journal of Contemporary European Research (2021).
  • Oliver Daddow and Russell Foster (forthcoming 2021) ‘The UK, the World, and Europe’, chapter in Andrew Taylor and Isabelle Hertner (eds.) Politics UK. London: Routledge.
  • Russell Foster (forthcoming 2021) ‘Symbolising Dis-Integration: Brexit and Affect in Mediatised Symbolism’, chapter in Frans af Malmborg, Stefan Gänzle, Jarle Trondal and Benjamin Leruth (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Differentiated Integration. London: Routledge.
  • Hartmut Behr and Russell Foster (forthcoming 2021) Studying International Relations: A Companion Guide. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Matthew Johnson and Russell Foster (2020), ‘Which ideas should guide US Foreign Policy? Holding fundamentalist policy paradigms to account’. International Politics [accepted 14 January 2020]. 23pp.
  • Russell Foster (2019) ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something EU’, in Einar Thorsen, Daniel Jackson and Darren Lilleker (eds.), UK Election Analysis 2019. PSA-CSJCC, pp.46-47.
  • Russell Foster (2019) ‘Cry God for England, Harry and Saint George’. Europe and the limits of integrating identity’, in Russell Foster and Jan Grzymski (eds.) ‘The Limits of Europe’, Global Discourse (9:1), pp.26-47.
  • Russell Foster (2018) ‘“These are they that Faustus most desires.” Identity, Iconography, and ‘Europe’ in the Crimea Crisis’, in Kenneth McDonagh (ed.) ‘The Next European Century? Europe in Global Politics in the Twenty-First Century’. Journal of Contemporary European Research (14:4), pp.310-323.
  • Russell Foster, Nick Megoran and Matthew Dunn (2017), ‘Towards a Geopolitics of Atheism: Critical geopolitics post the War on Terror’. Political Geography 60, pp.179-189.
  • Russell Foster (2017), ‘The Concept of Empire’, in Stephen Turner and William Outhwaite (eds.) SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 15pp.
  • Hartmut Behr and Russell Foster (2017) ‘Empire’, in Bryan Turner, Kyung-Sup Chang, Cynthia F. Epstein, Peter Kivisto, J. Michael Ryan, and William Outhwaite (eds.) Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Social Theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 2pp.


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 currently 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. has provided political commentary on BBC, CNN, Sky News, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, the Financial Times, and the Economist. Russell is currently co-convener of the UACES network The Limits of EU-rope

Further Details