Image of Matt SleatDr Matt Sleat

Reader in Political Theory

Contact Details
Telephone: +44 (0)114 22 21692
Room: G.54 Elmfield


Dr Matt Sleat joined the Department in 2007, having previously been a fellow in Government at the LSE and a visiting fellow at the Social and Political Theory Research Programme at the Australia National University. He was a British Academy Mid-Career Fellow (January - December 2015) and has held visiting research fellowships at the University of Oxford and Queen Mary, University of London.


My research largely focuses on the following areas:

  • Realist political theory
  • Liberal thought and its critics
  • History of modern political theory
  • The ethics of cyber-warfare
  • Just war theory
  • Pragmatism


  • British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship - 'The Ethics of Cyberwar' (Jan 2015 - December 2015). Full economic costing: £104,462.
  • White Rose Consortium - ‘Liberal Realism’ (2009). £11,340.

At a time of immense political, social and economic uncertainty, both at home and abroad, political theory has an important and distinctive contribution to make both to helping us understand these issues but also in thinking normatively about we should respond to them. Through my teaching I endeavour to provide students with the intellectual tools to think critically, analytically, consistently, but most of all, imaginatively about politics in order to equip them to engage in these discussions. I take teaching to be continuous with my research, rather than something discrete from it. As such, I try and ensure that my modules are kept as up-to-date as possible in relation to recent developments in the academic literature as well as in the real world of domestic and international politics. And while political theory can often be abstract and seemingly detached from politics itself, through my teaching I aim to make it as accessible and relevant as possible without losing either its analytical rigour or the radicalness of its different visions for our shared political life.

In May 2012 I received a Senate Award for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, in the Early Career category.

PhD Supervision

Recent supervision:

  • Yu-Bin Chang - On the Relationship between Politics and Morality in the Work of Bernard Williams
  • Carlo Cordasco - Rethinking Spontaneous Order: Norms, Institutions and Legitimacy
  • Janosch Prinz – Political Realism and Critical Theory (completed 2015)

I would be happy to supervise research in the following broad areas:

  • Realist political thought
  • Contemporary liberal theory
  • Challenges to liberalism
  • Pragmatist political theory
  • History of modern political theory
Publications and Papers

View Full List of Publications

Key Publications


Recent Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • 'What is a Political Value?', University of Arizona (December 2015); University of Warwick (November 2015); University of Nottingham (October 2015).
  • 'What is Modus Vivendi?: Or, if Modus Vivendi is the Answer, what was the Question?', University of Munster (July 2015).
  • 'Taking Cyber War Seriously (but not too seriously)', Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Bath (March 2015)
  • 'What is Realism For?' National University of Singapore (January 2015)
  • 'What Would a Liberal Realist Politics Look Like?', IPPR seminar series - Re-Evaluating Liberalism in an Age of Insecurity (Dec. 2014).
  • 'Liberalism, Realism and Non-Ideal Theory', University of Hamburg (Nov. 2014); Queen Mary University of London and University of Leicester (Oct. 2013); University of Liverpool (March 2014).
  • 'Legitimacy in Realist Political Thought' Central European University (July 2013).
  • ‘Responsibility to Whom? Obligations to Participants and Society in Social Science Research’, Academy of Social Sciences - Generic Ethics Principles in Social Science Research Symposium (April 2013).
  • Symposium on Liberal Realism: A Realist Theory of Liberal Politics, University of Exeter, Dec. 2012.
  • ‘Legitimacy in Realist Thought: Between Moralism and Realpolitik’, University of Cambridge (Contemporary Political Theory seminar), Nov. 2012.
  • ‘The Costs of Politics: Towards a Realist Theory of Liberal Legitimacy’, University of Wales, Newport, May 2011.
  • ‘Coercing Non-Liberals’, University of Cardiff, Feb. 2011.

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