Skip to main content

Stuart Elden


Professor of Political Theory and Geography

Monash Warwick Professor, Faculty of Arts, Monash University

Email: stuart dot elden at warwick dot ac dot uk
Tel: 02476 528 147
Room: E2.16
Advice and feedback hours: by appointment - please note Stuart is on research leave in the 2015/16 academic year.


In April 2016 Stuart's book Foucault's Last Decade was published by Polity Press. There is a brief news story on this here, and an essay on the book and its research at Berfrois.

A second book on the 1969-75 period of Foucault's work, also for Polity, entitled Foucault: The Birth of Power, will be published in January 2017.


Two books by Henri Lefebvre will be published in English translation in 2016. Metaphilosophy will be published by Verso. Stuart edited the translation by David Fernbach, provided the notes, and wrote an introduction. Marxist Thought and the City will be published at the end of the year by University of Minnesota Press. Stuart wrote a preface, and the book was translated by Robert Bonnano.

MetaphilosophyMarxist Thought and the City

Along with Adam David Morton he has received a small grant from the ISRF to fund a project translating and editing Lefebvre's writings on ground rent and rural sociology - more details here.

In June 2015 Kostas Axelos's book Introduction to a Future Way of Thought: On Marx and Heidegger was published by Meson Press. Stuart edited the text and wrote an introduction. The book is available open access or print-on-demand.


In June 2015 a long interview with Stuart was published on the Theory, Culture and Society website. He also published a review essay on Foucault's 1971-72 lecture course at Berfrois.

In November 2014 he gave a public lecture at the Nottingham Contemporary gallery entitled 'Foucault. Subjectivity and Truth'.

In September 2014 he gave a lecture entitled ‘Crises of Territorial Integrity: Iraq and Nigeria’ as one of two keynote addresses to the ‘Identity, Sovereignty, and Global Politics in the Building of Baghdad’ conference, held at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

In March 2014 The Birth of Territory was awarded the Association of American Geographers Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography. You can listen to an interview on the book on the Moncrieff show on Irish Newstalk radio here.


On October 16th 2013 Stuart was formally inducted as a Fellow of the British Academy, following his election in July. rscn0900.jpg

with Colin Crouch at the British Academy





Stuart Elden's research is at the intersection of politics, philosophy and geography. He rejoined PAIS in September 2013, after eleven years at Durham University in the Department of Geography. He has a BSc (Hons) in Politics and Modern History (1994) and a PhD in Political Theory (1999), both from Brunel University. His first post-PhD position was as a lecturer in Politics in PAIS between 1999 and 2002. In 2013 he was awarded a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) on the basis of publications post-PhD, and was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA). He holds an adjunct appointment as a Monash Warwick Professor in the Faculty of Arts at Monash University, Australia.

In 2014 The Birth of Territory was awarded the Association of American Geographers Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography, and was joint winner of the inaugural Global Discourse book award. In 2011 he received the Royal Geographical Society Murchison Award for work judged to contribute most to geographical science in preceding years for 'publications in political geography'. In 2010 his book Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty won the Association of American Geographers Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography and the Political Geography Specialty Group Julian Minghi Outstanding Research Award.

Between 2006 and 2015 he was editor of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, having previously served on the editorial board. He is now one of the journal's honorary editors. He has also been the review editor of the Review of International Political Economy, and was one of the founding editors of Foucault Studies. He is on the editorial boards of Theory, Culture & Society, Geographica Helvetica, and Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. He is on the Advisory Council of Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study, and the Advisory Board of the Urban Theory Lab at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. At Warwick he is a member of the Authority and Political Technologies research network.

He has held visiting posts at the Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia; School of Philosophy, University of Tasmania; Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles; Department of Sociology, New York University; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore; Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London; Department of Geography, University of Washington; the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University and the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. In 2013 he worked with Al Quds Bard Honors College in Palestine as an International Scholar as part of the Open Society Institute's Academic Fellowship Program. In the 2015/16 academic year he is a visiting senior research fellow at University College London's Institute of Advanced Studies.

Research interests

  • Over the past few years he has been writing two books for Polity Press - Foucault’s Last Decade and Foucault: The Birth of Power. The first, published in April 2016, discusses Foucault's work in relation to an intellectual history of his final project on the history of sexuality, using recently published lecture courses, unpublished work archived in France and California, and interviews. The second, forthcoming in January 2017, examines Foucault's early lecture courses at the Collège de France, and relates these to his work on prisons, asylums and health - both his academic writings and his activism. This book also makes extensive use of archival sources, especially the newly available material at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. You can read more about the books on a page on his blog Progressive Geographies.
  • He is also working on a manuscript under the working title of Shakespearean Territories, reading a number of Shakespeare's plays to examine different aspects of the question of territory - conceptually, historically, and politically. The argument is that while Shakespeare only uses the words 'territory' and 'territories' rarely, the concept is not marginal to his work. A number of his plays are structured around related issues of exile, banishment, land politics, spatial division, contestation, conquest and succession. Shakespeare was writing at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century: a time when the modern conception of sovereign territory was emerging. He therefore helps us understand its variant aspects, tensions, ambiguities and limits. In using these plays the aim is to illustrate the multi-faceted nature of territory as word, concept and practice, and to shed light on the way we understand territory and territorial disputes today. Again, you can read more about this project on his blog Progressive Geographies.
  • He has a long-standing interest in the work of the French philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre. Most recently, he has edited and introduced a translation of Lefebvre's Metaphilosophy for Verso, forthcoming in July 2016; and written a preface to the translation of Lefebvre's Marxist Thought and the City, forthcoming with University of Minnesota Press in November 2016. With Adam David Morton(University of Sydney) he is beginning a project looking at Henri Lefebvre's work on the rural and ground rent, especially as these relate to contemporary land issues. The first output was a translated essay of Lefebvre's with an introduction in Antipode. The next stage of the work has been funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation. He also recently edited a translation of Kostas Axelos's book Introduction to a Future Way of Thought: On Marx and Heidegger for Meson Press (open access e-book).
  • Other work includes developing his work on territory in different ways. One aspect is trying to rethink the notion of the ‘geo’ in geopolitics, to make this connect to land, earth and the world as an alternative to the globe and globalisation. This builds on earlier work on theorisations of the world in Lefebvre, Axelos, Fink, Sloterdijk, Badiou and Meillassoux. He is especially interested in volumetric conceptualisations of space, terrain and territory. Some of this work relates to a Leverhulme Trust International Networks Programme grant for The Project on Indeterminate and Changing Environments: Law, the Anthropocene, and the World (the ICE LAW Project), led by Phil Steinberg at Durham University. Stuart is leading the sub-project on territory.

Teaching and supervision

  • MA - European Political Theory (for Warwick internal use)
  • PhD Supervision – projects in political geography; geopolitics; European political theory; and the history of political thought. Current students include Mara Duer, António Ferraz de Oliveira, Lorenzo Vianelli, Leo Steeds (all PAIS), Tuur Drieser (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies), and Ari Jerroms (Monash University).

Recent publications

Foucault's Last Decade was published by Polity Press in April 2016. His previous book was The Birth of Territory (University of Chicago Press, 2013), the product of several years of research including a Leverhulme major research fellowship.

Henri Lefebvre's Metaphilosophy will be published by Verso in July 2016. Stuart edited the translation by David Fernbach, provided the notes, and wrote an introduction.

Some pre-prints of forthcoming articles and chapters can be found here.

View Stuart's full list of publications

Progressive Geographies blog

He runs a blog at 

He was also one of the founders and long-term contributors to