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Rethinking Political Thinkers


Edited by Manjeet Ramgotra and Simon Choat

Publication Date - 30 June 2023

ISBN: 9780198847397

784 pages
9.7 x 7.4 inches

Explores a uniquely diverse set of political thinkers, from traditionally canonical theorists to marginalized women and thinkers of color


Rethinking Political Thinkers explores a uniquely diverse set of political thinkers, from traditionally canonical theorists such as Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, and Mill, to marginalized women and thinkers of color, such as hooks, Du Bois, Butler, Fanon, Firestone, Said, and Goldman.

Placing traditional thinkers alongside and in conversation with neglected and unheard voices opens up important debates, and presents political thought in a new light. Each thinker is examined within the contexts of patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism, and the relations and structures of race, gender, and class which different theories have reflected, defended, or challenged.

The text is organized thematically, rather than simply chronologically, in order to explore central ideas such as social contract theory and its critics, freedom and revolution, the liberal self and black consciousness, colonial domination, and the environment. In each chapter students are encouraged to think through ideas in relation to their everyday experiences, and to understand that political thought occurs in many formats, so that they develop a more inclusive, intercultural, and critical awareness of the development of social and political thought.

Original and timely, Rethinking Political Thinkers is designed to support the study of a decolonised political theory curriculum, revitalising political thought as a practice that belongs to us all.

The online student resources include links to relevant videos, articles, blogs, and useful websites, which help students further develop their research interests. Additionally, detailed thinker biographies provide further social, political, and cultural context for each theorist covered in the text.


  • Provides students with coverage of a range of perspectives, including previously marginalised and neglected thinkers alongside the predominantly white male thinkers of the traditional canon
  • Interprets thinkers within the contexts of patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism, giving special attention to the relations and structures of race, gender, and class which different theories have reflected, defended, or challenged
  • Introduces students to a wide range of political thinkers, placing them in their contexts, exploring tensions and exclusions in their work, and assessing different interpretations
  • Addresses key topics, theories, and concepts within political thought, including social contract theory, colonial domination, black consciousness, gender, and environmental thought

About the Author(s)

Manjeet Ramgotra is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory (Education), Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS University of London. Manjeet is an Independent Scholar Fellow of the Independent Social Research Foundation, affiliated with the Department of Politics at QMUL. Her research chronicles a history of republicanism extending from classical European to twentieth-century anti-colonial political thought on which she has published several articles. She is a strong advocate of decolonising the curriculum, and has co-edited a book on Decolonising Curricula and Pedagogy in Higher Education (Routledge, 2021) as well as written blogposts and articles on this subject. Currently, she is working on a project on post-colonial republicanism in India. Manjeet was recently appointed to the Quality Assurance Agency Advisory Board to rewrite the Politics and IR benchmark statement, and is a Trustee on the Political Studies Association executive committee.

Simon Choat is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at Kingston University London. He is the author of Marx Through Post-Structuralism: Lyotard, Derrida, Foucault, Deleuze (Continuum, 2010) and Marx's 'Grundrisse: A Reader's Guide' (Bloomsbury, 2016). He has published articles on, amongst other topics, neoliberalism, contemporary anarchism, the philosophers Ernesto Laclau and Michael Sandel, and the theories of the 'new materialists' such as Bruno Latour. He has been teaching political theory for nearly 20 years. He has published research on decolonising the political theory curriculum and is currently collaborating on a comparative study of Politics and Economics curricula at UK universities. He is a member of the Political Economy Research Group at Kingston University and is co-convener of the Political Studies Association specialist group on Political Thought.

Table of Contents

    I. Boundaries of the Political
    1. Introduction, Simon Choat and Manjeet Ramgotra
    2. Plato, Socrates and Sojourner Truth, Patrizia Longo
    3. Aristotle and bell hooks, Manjeet Ramgotra
    4. Kautilya, Deepshikha Shahi
    II. Social Contract Theory and its Critics
    5. Thomas Hobbes, Signy Gutnick-Allen
    6. Baruch de Spinoza, Caroline Williams
    7. John Locke, Hagar Kotef
    8. Mary Astell, Allauren Forbes
    9. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Peter Hallward
    10. Carole Pateman and Charles Mills, Terrell Carver
    III. Liberal Modernity and Colonial Domination
    11. Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu, Manjeet Ramgotra
    12. John Stuart Mill, Inder S. Marwah
    13. Karl Marx, Simon Choat
    14. Friedrich Nietzsche, Willow Verkerk
    15. Sayyid Qutb, Ayesha Omar
    IV. Freedom and Revolution
    17. Catharine Macaulay and Edmund Burke, Alan Coffee
    18. C. L. R. James, Robbie Shilliam
    19. Hannah Arendt, Kei Hiruta
    20. Zhang Taiyan, Viren Murthy
    V. Inclusion and Equality
    21. Mary Wollstonecraft, Ashley Dodsworth
    22. Iris Marion Young
    23. Bhikhu Parekh, Varun Uberoi
    24. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Nikita Dhawan
    VI. Violence, Power, and Resistance
    25. Niccolo Machiavelli, Yves Winter
    26. Emma Goldman, Ruth Kinna
    27. Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, James Casas Klausen
    28. Frantz Fanon, Keally McBride
    VII. The Liberal Self and Black Consciousness
    29. Immanuel Kant, Stella Sandford
    30. Frederick Douglass, Kiara Gilbert and Karen Salt
    31. W. E. B. Dubois, Elvira Basevich
    32. John Rawls, Maeve McKeown
    VIII. Sex and Sexuality
    33. Michel Foucault, Paul Patton
    34. Shulamith Firestone, Victoria Margree
    35. Angela Davis, Manjeet Ramgotra and Joy James
    36. Judith Butler, Clare Woodford
    IX. The Environment, Human, and Non-Human
    37. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Eva-Maria Nag
    38. Donna Haraway, Claire Colebrook
    39. Indigenous ecologies, Esme G. Murdock