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Dr Stephen Thornton

Dr Stephen Thornton

Reader in Politics

School of Law and Politics

+44(0)29 2087 6095
2.39, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX


There are two main strands to my research. I am involved in pedagogical research, looking in particular at students' information behaviours at a time of 'fake news' and information overload. I also explore issues in twentieth century British political history, with a focus on political architecture. For example I wrote, with Adam Sharr of Newcastle University, Demolishing Whitehall: Leslie Martin, Harold Wilson and the Architecture of White Heat which received commendation from the Royal Institute of British Architects. I am also investigating the constitutionally murky position of deputy to the British prime minister.


Education and qualifications

2010: Postgraduate Certificate of University Teaching and Learning (PCUTL), Cardiff University

2003: PhD, (University of Wales, Cardiff)

1997: MScEcon in the European Policy Process (with distinction), (University of Wales, Cardiff)

1992: Postgraduate Certificate in Education, (Charlotte Mason College, University of Lancaster)

1991: BA Hons, University of Nottingham

Career overview

2012 – present: Senior Lecturer, Politics, initially in the School of European Studies, now the School of Law and Politics

2006 – 2012:     Lecturer in Comparative Politics (0.5 f.t.e)

2005 – 2006:     Politics Tutor

2004 – 2005:     Lecturer in Politics (9 month fixed term contract)

1992 – 1996:     Teacher, Howitt House School, Burton-on-Trent

Honours and awards

Cardiff University Outstanding Contribution Award (2014)

Commendation: RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University Located Research for Demolishing Whitehall: Leslie   Martin, Harold Wilson and the Architecture of White Heat (2014)

Professional memberships

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (since 2016)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (since 2010)

Speaking engagements

'Lessons from Fifteen Years of Collaboration between the Library and the Politics Department at Cardiff University', paper at the CILIP Cymru Conference, Cardiff, 2019

'From Rab Butler to Damian Green, The Pecular Position of First Secretary of State', paper presented at 69th Annual Political Studies Association (PSA) Conference, Nottingham, 2019

Keynote paper at an international panel, ‘Brexit and Its Implications for the UK and Rest of the World’ organised by the Panjab University Department of Public Administration in collaboration with IIPA regional branch, Punjab and Chandigarh, 2016

‘Assessing First Year Politics Students for Information Literacy Awareness, paper presented at the PSA/BISA Teaching and Learning Conference’: Assessment and Feedback: Rethinking Pedagogic Practice in Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham, 2014

‘The Architecture of White Heat’, paper presented at White Heat Fifty Years On conference, the People’s History Museum, Manchester, (with Adam Sharr), 2013

‘The White Heat of Conservation’, paper presented at the 12th Docomomo International Conference in Espoo, Finland, (with Adam Sharr), 2012

‘Demolishing Whitehall’ for the History and Theory Seminar series at Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge, (with Adam Sharr), 2012

Committees and reviewing

Editorial Board, Teaching and Learning: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences

Editorial Board, Undergraduate Journal of Politics and International Relations

Journal reviewer, Political Studies, Journal of Poltical Science Education, Teaching and Learning

Book reviewer, Oxford University Press, Macmillan/Red Box Press, Routledge

















I run the modules Personality and Power (3rd yr undergraduate) and There Is No Alternative: Britain Under Thatcher (Masters-level).

I convene the module Introduction to Government (1st year undergraduate).

I contribute to teaching on these additional modules: Parliamentary Studies (3rd yr); Sex, Drugs and Public Policy (3rd yr); Issues and Debates in Contemporary Comparative Politics (M-level).

I am also involved in supporting students through their dissertations/theses.

I am currently working on a book about the mysterious role of British deputy prime ministers, developing a project about Cedric Price and his scheme to demolish the obsolete Palace of Westminister and replace it with a 'supermarket of democracy', and writing an article on Politics students' citation behaviours.