Professor Shane O'Neill

Professor of Political Theory, Keele University

Shane O’Neill is Professor of Political Theory at Keele, and he also serves as the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Advancement and as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. He arrived at Keele in September 2016 having completed an extended term as Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast. He has published widely on philosophical and applied aspects of justice, equality, social conflict and ethno-political diversity, writing from the perspective of critical social theory. He taught previously at University College Dublin, the Universities of Glasgow, Manchester and Pennsylvania. He has held Visiting Professorships at Hong Kong University, Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

One major theme in his recent research has allowed him to bring together his experience as a senior manager in higher education with his research interests as a critical social theorist. He has argued that universities should be thought of as instruments of social freedom and that this account of freedom underpins their purpose and should therefore be thought of as the foundation for any assessment of higher education policy. This conference is, in part, a response from colleagues and students to this argument, which he presented in his Inaugural Lecture at Keele in May 2018.