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Professor Thomas Docherty

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Email: t dot docherty at warwick dot ac dot uk
Tel: +44 (0)24 7652 3340

Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

Twitter: @ThomasDocherty1


Professor Thomas Docherty teaches on the English and Comparative Literary Studies programme, and is currently on leave to extend his reseach work.

Thomas Docherty studied in Glasgow, Paris and Oxford. He graduated with his MA in English and French Language and Literature from Glasgow, where he also studied Mathematics and Philosophy. He then took a DPhil and MA in Oxford. After five years teaching in Oxford, he moved to University College Dublin and then on to Trinity College Dublin where he held the Chair of English (1867) - sometimes called the 'Dowden Chair', and one of the earliest Chairs of English in the world - between 1990-95. He was then elected as Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. In 1995, he returned to the UK, taking the Chair of English and Directorship of Research in the Univesity of Kent. He moved to Warwick in 2004, where he headed the department until 2009, before again becoming Director of Research until 2013. Under his leadership as Director of Research, Warwick English was rated as the top department in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework.

In 2016, he was awarded an Honorary Degree - D.Litt. - by the University of Kent, in recognition of his academic achievements and commitment to higher education.

Research interests

Thomas Docherty has published on many areas of English and comparative literature from the renaissance to the present day. He specialises in the philosophy of literary criticism, in critical theory, and in cultural history in relation primarily to European philosophy and literatures. Recent work has been done on matters of cultural policy related to international higher education. He is working on a series of new books: 1) provisionally entitled Sold Out, a critique of the neoliberal University, with proposals for an alternative; 2) provisionally entitled Conditions of Democracy, on the politics of academic freedom; 3) a work of fiction.

Teaching and supervision

Docherty supervises work on all aspects of critical theory, and has an interest in taking on doctoral projects involving contemporary French, Italian and German philosophy. Other areas of interest include: cultural policy, European cinema, Scottish literature and culture, Irish literature, modernism and modernity. At undergraduate level, he usually teaches across a broad range of literature, from around 1500 to the present day. He also offers lectures on Modern Criticism and Theory.

Professor Docherty is on research leave 2016-17. He will give a series of lectures on Modern and Contemporary Theory (Mondays 11am, weeks 2-5, 7-10). He may also organise an informal graduate seminar (days/times to be confirmed).

Selected publications

  • Complicity: criticism between collaboration and commitment (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016) [read preview here: Complicity ]
  • Universities at War (Sage, 2014) [read here: War]
  • Confessions: the Philosophy of Transparency (Bloomsbury 2012) [read this free under Creative Commons, here: Confessions]
  • For the University (Bloomsbury 2011) [read this free under Creative Commons, here: For the University]
  • The English Question (Sussex Academic 2008) [click here for information and to read selected passages: The English Question]
  • Aesthetic Democracy (Stanford UP, 2006) [click here for info and selected passages: Aesthetic Democracy]
  • Criticism and Modernity (Oxford UP 1999) [click here for info and selected passages: Criticism and Modernity]
  • Alterities (Oxford UP 1996) [click here for info and to read: Alterities]
  • After Theory (Routledge 1990; revised expanded 2nd edition Edinburgh UP 1996) [click for info: After Theory]
  • Postmodernism (Harvester/Columbia UP 1993) [click for info: Postmodernism]
  • On Modern Authority (Harvester-Wheatsheaf 1987)
  • John Donne, Undone (Methuen/Routledge 1986)
  • Reading (Absent) Character (Oxford UP, 1983)


  • MA (Glasgow)
  • DPhil (Oxford), MA (Oxford)
  • D.Litt. (honoris causa) (Kent)