Professor John Dunn FBA

Political Studies

Elected 1989

Fellow type
UK Fellow
Year elected

Raised in England, Germany, Iran and India, John Dunn has been a scholar of Winchester and King's, a Harkness Fellow at Harvard, and Fellow successively of Jesus (1965-66) and King's Colleges (1966- ) in Cambridge. He was Professor of Political Theory in Cambridge for twenty years and is now Emeritus. He has done research on the history of political ideas, Revolutions, the politics of West Africa, the economic limits to modern politics, the limitations of socialist and liberal political theories, and the implications of the diffusion of democracy as term, array of political ideas, and supposedly associated institutions across the world over last century. Outside Britain he has taught in Ghana, India, the United States and Japan and been especially interested in the politics of East and South Asia. He is best known for his work on John Locke (1969, 1984 ), modern revolutions (1972), the globalization of political thinking (1979), the history of political theory (1980, 1985, 1990, 1996), political realism (2000), and the dynamic and erratic impact of democracy as an idea and form of government(1979, 1984, 1992, 2000, 2005 & 2014).

Current post

Emeritus Professor of Political Theory, University of Cambridge

Past appointments

University of Cambridge Emeritus Professor of Political Theory

2007 -

University of Cambridge Professor of Political Theory

1987 - 2007

University of Cambridge Reader in Politics

1977 - 1987

King's College University of Cambridge Fellow

1966 -


Modern Revolutions 1972, 1989

Western Political Theory in the Face of the Future 1979, 1993)

Breaking Democracy's Spell 2014

The political thought of John Locke 1969

The cunning of unreason: making sense of politics 2000

Setting the People Free: the story of democracy 2005

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