Professor Shane O'Neill

Title: Professor of Political Theory
Phone: +44 (0)1782 734585
Email: s.t.o'
Location: Chancellor’s Building, CBA1.050
Role: Pro Vice-Chancellor (Advancement & Global Engagement) and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
Contacting me: By e-mail or via my PA on (+44) 01782 734586
Profile image for Prof. Shane O'Neill (200x200).

I am delighted and proud to have assumed the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in September 2016. I arrived at Keele having completed an extended term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. As Dean of HumSS at Keele I have overall responsibility for: the strategic management of the Faculty’s research and education portfolios; ensuring a high-quality experience for all students and members of staff; furthering external partnerships and collaborations that serve the needs of our local communities and the wider world; and supporting colleagues in the Faculty to maximise the impact of their educational and scholarly activities.

As an undergraduate, I studied in my native city for a joint honours degree in History and Politics at University College Dublin. I remained as a Postgraduate Scholar at UCD to undertake a Masters in Moral and Political Philosophy before moving to Scotland for my doctoral studies. At Glasgow University I completed a dissertation advocating a theoretical account of justice that is sensitive both to pluralism within societies and to cultural diversity internationally. My primary research interests have continued to focus on debates in contemporary moral and political philosophy, specifically in clarifying the demands of justice and outlining conditions of democratic legitimacy both within the state and beyond it. Over many years I have sought to develop a critical-theoretical perspective on struggles of marginalised groups against injustice and related demands for recognition, particularly in contexts of national diversity. I am currently seeking to further two projects; the first is to develop an account of global justice based on the need to rethink the notion of decolonization; the second is a proposed intervention in debates regarding higher education policy by arguing that this needs to be grounded in a normative-theoretical account of social freedom as the ultimate purpose and value of the university as a social institution. I have been the first supervisor for 16 PhD students who have completed dissertations on a range of topics in political theory and critical philosophy.

I held a Lectureship at the Department of Government in Manchester University before joining Queen’s University Belfast in 1994. At Queen’s I became Professor of Political Theory in 2002 and was a Head of School from 2001 to 2009. Twice in those years I was asked to lead colleagues in creating newly expanded, multidisciplinary Schools. During my years as Dean of Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s, 2009 to 2015, I also undertook a range of formal University leadership roles including that of University Envoy to the Americas. I was Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania in 2004/5 and I have held Visiting Professorships at Hong Kong University, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.