Biography

The U.S. Presidency first caught my imagination when I was a teenager trying to understand the Kennedy phenomenon. The office has proved a source of fascination ever since (wherever it happens to be today on the scale between heroic leadership and freakshow). It’s a subject that changes all the time while giving me an excuse to look into how people behave, a broad range of policy areas and U.S. politics as a whole.

Recently, I’ve written pieces on the rhetoric of individual presidents and developments in US criminal justice policy. I’m just finishing a book (co-authored with Trevor McCrisken and Andy Wroe) on the early stages of Donald Trump’s presidency, but I’m also working on a project considering how presidents try to present themselves in relation to their predecessors.

Areas of expertise

  • U.S. Presidency (rhetoric and communication, policy leadership, executive power)
  • Domestic Policy in the U.S.

My first degree was a B.A. in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford, but I decided I really wanted to focus on politics and went to Essex University to take a Masters in American Government and Politics. I completed my doctoral dissertation on that topic (specifically, how presidents-elect and presidents in the early months of their presidency take policy decisions) at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. During that period, I also spent a great year at the University of Pennsylvania. I was appointed to the American Studies Department at Keele in the 1990s, but have since moved to SPIRE to teach more politics, although I still contribute to the American Studies programme.

Research and scholarship

My primary focus is the American Presidency, although I have broader interests in both public policy and US government as a whole. I’m particularly interested in how presidents choose to govern and what constrains their ability to get things done. That involves working on ideas concerning the relationship between presidential policy-making, presidential agendas and political strategy. I publish on other subjects (recently on the conservative movement in the US, and on criminal justice policies) but the presidency is the thing I always come back to. Obviously, the Trump presidency is a main focus right now.

Teaching

  • PIR-10039: Debates in American Politics
  • PIR-20054: U.S. Government and Politics
  • PIR-20059: U.S. Presidency
  • PIR-30087: U.S. Presidency and Public Policy

I also contribute to core modules in politics and American Studies, plus a first year elective on the mass media in the U.S. (PIR-10048).

Further information

As someone who studies the US presidency, Trump is obviously hard to avoid. With Trevor McCrisken and Andy Wroe, I recently published a book assessing the current president’s record in office. I’m now working on a project looking at how presidents communicate their political positions to the public and fellow political actors through rhetoric.

Selected Publications

  • Herbert J, McCrisken T, Wroe A. 2019. The Ordinary Presidency of Donald J. Trump. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Herbert JN. 2018. Crime, Law and Order. In Developments in American Politics Eight. Peele G, Bailey CJ, Herbert JN, Cain BE, Peters BG (Eds.). (16 vols.). Palgrave.
  • Peele G, Bailey CJ, Cain BE, Herbert JN, Peters BG (Eds.). 2018. Developments in American Politics Eight. (Eight ed.). Palgrave.
  • Herbert JN. 2018. The Oratory of George W. Bush. In Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump. Crines AS and Hatzisavvidou S (Eds.). (15 vols.). Palgrave Macmillan. doi>
  • Herbert J. 2016. The Oratory of Bill Clinton. In Democratic Orators from JFK to Barack Obama. Crines AS and Moon DS (Eds.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. doi>

Full Publications List show

Books

  • Herbert J, McCrisken T, Wroe A. 2019. The Ordinary Presidency of Donald J. Trump. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Peele G, Bailey CJ, Cain BE, Herbert JN, Peters BG (Eds.). 2018. Developments in American Politics Eight. (Eight ed.). Palgrave.
  • HERBERT JN. Wroe A and Herbert JN (Eds.). 2009. Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency. Edinburgh University Press.

Journal Articles

  • Herbert JN. 2011. The Toxic Presidency of George W. Bush. Representation, vol. 47(3), 265-280. doi>
  • Herbert JN. 2004. 'Joseph P. Kennedy'. Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, vol. 1, 536-537.

Chapters

  • Herbert JN. 2018. Crime, Law and Order. In Developments in American Politics Eight. Peele G, Bailey CJ, Herbert JN, Cain BE, Peters BG (Eds.). (16 vols.). Palgrave.
  • Herbert JN. 2018. The Oratory of George W. Bush. In Republican Orators from Eisenhower to Trump. Crines AS and Hatzisavvidou S (Eds.). (15 vols.). Palgrave Macmillan. doi>
  • Herbert J. 2016. The Oratory of Bill Clinton. In Democratic Orators from JFK to Barack Obama. Crines AS and Moon DS (Eds.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. doi>
  • Herbert JN. 2014. The Presidency. In Developments in American Politics 7. Peele G, Bailey C, Cain B, Peters BG (Eds.). (7th ed.). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Herbert JN. 2013. The Problem of Presidential Strategy. In Issues in American Politics: Polarized Politics in the Age of Obama. Dumbrell J (Ed.). Routledge.
  • Wyman M, Lees-Marshment J, Herbert JN. 2012. From Politics Past to Politics Future: Addressing the Employability Agenda through a Professional Politics Curriculum. In Teaching Politics and International Relations. Gormley-Heenan C and Lightfoot S (Eds.). (17 vols.). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Herbert J. 2012. Revisiting Arthur Schlesinger's The Imperial Presidency: Richard Nixon, George W. Bush and Executive Power. In Watergate Remembered. Genovese MA and Morgan IW (Eds.). Palgrave MacMillan.
  • HERBERT JN. 2011. The Struggles of an 'Orthodox Innovator': George W. Bush, the Conservative Movement and Domestic Policy. In Crisis of Conservatism?. Aberbach JD and Peele G (Eds.). Oxford University Press, USA. doi>
  • HERBERT JN. 2006. Foreign Policy. In Developments in American Politics 5. Peele G, Bailey CJ, Cain BE, Peters BG (Eds.). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Herbert JN. 2002. The Presidency. In Developments in American Politics 4. Peele G, Bailey CJ, Cain B, Peters BG (Eds.). Palgrave, Basingstoke.

PhD Supervision

I am keen to supervise students in most areas of US politics, but particularly on the US Presidency or US public policy. I’m interested in foreign and domestic policy areas, presidential strategy, presidential rhetoric and have supervised on topics such as presidential-media relations, presidential campaigning and the legitimacy of US interventions in Latin America.

Accreditation logo for Athena Swan Bronze