Richard English


  • Room 01.032 - Lanyon Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of: Irish politics and history; the politics and history of nationalism; political violence and terrorism.

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Personal profile

Research Statement

Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.


Professor English's research focuses on the politics and history of nationalism, political violence, and terrorism, with a particular focus on Ireland and Britain.  His books include Does Terrorism Work? A History (OUP, 2016), Modern War: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2013), Terrorism: How to Respond (OUP, 2009), Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (Pan Macmillan, 2006), Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (Pan Macmillan, 2003), Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual (OUP, 1998), and Radicals and the Republic: Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State 1925-1937 (OUP, 1994).    He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.  Professor English has given invited Lectures on his research in more than twenty countries.  In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern day terrorism and political history.


Research supervision areas (PhD, Masters, and Undergraduate) include: Irish politics and history; the politics and history of nationalism; political violence and terrorism.


Richard English, Does Terrorism Work? A History (Oxford University Press, 2016)


Long-listed for the 2017 Airey Neave Book Prize


‘This book offers a reflective, astute, and deeply knowledgeable historian's answer to the critical question of "does terrorism work". As it brilliantly demonstrates the complexity and contingency of historical processes, the necessity of understanding different contexts, and the varieties of ways in which terrorism can be effective, it adds immense value to the debate’     Martha Crenshaw, Stanford University


‘English is a brilliant political historian, with a reputation for measured yet hard-hitting analyses. He possesses a formidable range and depth of knowledge about modern terrorism. … Unlike many commentators, his prose is calm; his conclusions sensible’     Joanna Bourke, Prospect


‘absorbing attempt to answer a difficult question: does terrorism work? … The author admits some people might struggle with daring even to ask whether terror works.  He carefully sets out his criteria … insisting there can be no simple answer given the overwhelming complexities involved.  Yet that does not make his work less valid’     Ian Birrell, Observer


‘his disinterested approach allows the author to avoid the polemicism that clouds many accounts of this question. Indeed, his clear-eyed treatment of a fraught subject is one of the book’s principal strengths. …he presents an admirably clear framework that allows for various possible achievements’

                           Ali Soufan, Wall Street Journal


 ‘a valuable resource for scholars … as English suggests, we need to ask for whom terrorism works, and why’

                           John Gray, New Statesman


‘thought-provoking, scholarly study’     Irish Times


'an admirable book, extremely well-written, fascinating to read, full of insights, challenging ... excellent and thoroughly documented'        Political Quarterly


'sensitive and detailed ... a very readable philosophical discussion'

                           Journal of Contemporary European Studies

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Richard English is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

terrorism Social Sciences
twenty-first century Social Sciences
continuity Social Sciences
threat Social Sciences
studies (academic) Social Sciences
stagnation Social Sciences
fragmentation Social Sciences
present Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1994 2019

17 Downloads (Pure)
Open Access
twenty-first century

The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism

English, R., Chenoweth, E. (ed.), Kalyvas, S. (ed.) & Gofas, A. (ed.), 2019, Oxford University Press.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

‘Nationalism and Terrorism’

English, R., 2019, The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism. Chenoweth, E., English, R., Kalyvas, S. & Gofas, A. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 268-82 14 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Trump Counter-Terrorism: The Five Foundations for Success

English, R., 14 Feb 2017, In : Georgetown Security Studies Review. Special Issue:, p. 77-86

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Does Terrorism Work? A History

English, R., 2016, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 350 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook



Richard English (Recipient), 2018

Prize: National/international honour

political history

Christopher Ewart Biggs Memorial Prize

Richard English (Recipient), 2007

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Faculty Affiliate, University of Chicago

Richard English (Recipient), 2018

Prize: National/international honour

Fellow, Royal Historical Society

Richard English (Recipient), 1996

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Fellow of the British Academy (FBA)

Richard English (Recipient), 2009

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Activities 2014 2019

  • 10 Invited or keynote talk at national or international conference
  • 5 Invited talk
  • 3 Membership of external research organisation
  • 1 Public lecture/debate/seminar

Does Political Violence Work?

Richard English (Keynote speaker), Louise Richardson (Chair), Erica Chenoweth (Keynote speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar

Research Agendas for the Study of Terrorism (University of California Santa Barbara Keynote)

Richard English (Keynote speaker)
Feb 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

Change and Continuity Across the 9/11 Fault-Line (UCSB Keynote Lecture)

Richard English (Keynote speaker)
Jan 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

European University Institute (Florence) Keynote Lecture

Richard English (Advisor)
Jun 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference

Explaining Peace (Plenary Presentation, Yale University)

Richard English (Keynote speaker)
Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited or keynote talk at national or international conference


Seán MacBride and Irish republicanism, 1904-1946 : a contextual biography

Author: Nic Dháibhéid, C. S., Dec 2009

Supervisor: English, R. (Supervisor) & O'Callaghan, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy