Professor Noël K O'Sullivan

Research Professor of Political Philosophy

Faculty of Business, Law and Politics

+44 (0) 1482 465757

Noël O’Sullivan is Research Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Hull, where he was awarded a personal chair in 1992.

After taking first class honours at LSE, he was a postgraduate Prize Fellow at Harvard.

The most recent of his 14 books is an edited volume on The Place of Michael Oakeshott in Contemporary Western and Non-Western Thought (2017).

His monographs are: Conservatism (1976), Fascism (1983), The Problem of Political Obligation (1986), The Philosophy of Santayana (1992), and European Political Thought since 1945 (2004). He has been translated into Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.


Research Interests

  • History of political thought
  • Theory of the modern state
  • British and European political philosophy, especially in the 20th century
  • Sources of political extremism in modern European politics, with special reference to fascism and terrorism
  • Conservative doctrine in Western Europe and the USA


O'Sullivan N K, The Place of Michael Oakeshott in Contemporary Western and Non-Western Thought, Imprint Academic (2017)

O'Sullivan N K, The Concept of the Public Realm, Routledge, (2010)

O'Sullivan N K, European Political Thought since 1945, Palgrave Macmillan (2004)

O'Sullivan N K, Political Theory in Transition, Routledge (2000)

O'Sullivan N K, ‘Límites, Piedad y Risa en el Conservadorismo Mefistofélico de Santayana (Limits, Piety and Laughter in Santayana’s Mephistophelean Conservatism)’, Cuadernos de Pensamentio Politico, No 55, pp. 31-40, ISSN 1696-8441 (2017)

Full list


Research PhDs

I welcome applications in modern political philosophy, although supervision would have to be registered jointly with a full time member of staff.

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BSc Econ, (LSE) (First class honours) 
  • PhD (London)

External roles

Visiting professor

  • Visiting Professor at Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland (May 2011)

Editorial and Advisory boards

  • Editor of the Oakeshott Studies series, published by Imprint Academic.
  • Member of the board (and former president) of the Michael Oakeshott Association.
  • Member of the editorial board of the Journal of Political Ideologies.
  • Honorary Founding Editor of the journal Episteme.
  • Member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Univ. of Cergy Pontoise in Paris.
  • Member of the editorial board of Politeja, the main Polish journal of political studies (edited from Jagiellonian University)

Awards and accolades

Awarded a total of $270,000 by the US Liberty Fund to organise and direct the following five international conferences.

  • 'The Public, the Private and the Political', Bath, Somerset, November 2011 ($52,000)
  • ‘The Place of Aesthetics in Modern Moral and Political Philosophy’, Ockenden Manor, Kent, July 2014 ($52,000)
  • ‘Totalitarianism, Democracy and Freedom’, Jagiellonian University, Poland, October 2014 ($55,000, joint contract with colleague at Jagiellonian University)
  • ‘The Concept of Freedom in Contemporary Republican Thought’, Jagiellonian University, Poland, September 2016 ($55,000, joint contract with colleague at Jagiellonian University)
  • ‘The Concept of Constitutionalism in the Political Thought of Hayek, Oakeshott and Leo Strauss’, UK, 2016 ($55,000)
  • ‘Is Liberal Democracy Doomed to Self-Destruction?’, Cergy-Pontoise Université, Paris, February 2018 ($55,000, joint contract with Dr Catherine Marshall of Cergy-Pontoise Université)

Professional highlights

  • Invited by the Jan Hus Foundation to give three public lectures on the theme of ‘Democracy, Civil Society and European Unity’ in the Czech Republic and Slovakia (1994)
  • Invited to give the Hannah Arendt Memorial lecture at Southampton University (1996)
  • Invited by the British Academy to give the Elie Kedourie Memorial Lecture (2005), which was subsequently published (2007)
  • Invited by the US Liberty Fund to direct three fully-funded international conferences on three thinkers, Hegel, Nietzsche and Carl Schmitt, previously regarded as too controversial to be the proper objects of the Liberty Fund's financial support. Awarded contracts of around $60,000 to fund each conference.