Department of Political Science


Dr Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard

Dr Jeffrey Howard

Lecturer in Political Theory

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I am a political theorist in the School of Public Policy at University College London. I work on a variety of topics in normative political and legal philosophy. I have a doctorate from Oxford and an undergraduate degree from Harvard.

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My primary research interests concern crime and punishment. I am interested in the kinds of acts that should and should not be criminalized, focusing currently on the limits of criminalization set by the right to free speech. I also work on the justification of criminal punishment. Finally, I am concerned with what the state’s criminal justice policies should be in conditions of structural injustice, focusing on debates about the ethics of policing and the mechanisms fuelling mass incarceration. I am writing a book that diagnoses the injustice of mass incarceration and explores how to end it ethically.

I have subsidiary interests in democratic theory and public reason, and have written on democracy, contractualism, and judicial review. I also work on the ethics of counter-terrorism; as part of this project, I am writing articles on incitement to terrorism and on the ethics of counter-radicalization.

Grant and Awards

I have a 2015 Rising Star Engagement Award from the British Academy, as well as a 2016 BA/Leverhulme Grant on the topic of “Dangerous Speech”.

In 2016, I was the faculty recipient of the Departmental Teaching Award from the UCL Department of Political Science. In 2015, I won the Best Lecturer Award for the whole of the University of Essex.


    • “Kidnapped: The Ethics of Paying Ransoms,” The Journal of Applied Philosophy (forthcoming)
    • “The Labors of Justice: Democracy, Respect, and Judicial Review,” Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy (forthcoming)
    •  “Punishment as Moral Fortification,” Law and Philosophy 36, 1 (2017): 45-75.
    • “Moral Subversion and Structural Entrapment,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 24, 1 (2016): 24-46.
    • “The Instability of Democratic Contractarianism,” Political Studies Review 13, 2 (2015): 184-95.
    • “Democracy as the Search for Justice: A Defense of the Democracy/Contractualism Analogy,” Political Studies 63, 1 (2015): 259-75.
    • “Punishment, Socially Deprived Offenders, and Democratic Community,” Criminal Law & Philosophy 7, 1 (2013): 121-36.


“The Ethics of Democratic Debate” – TEDx Talk

“The End of Mass Incarceration” – UCL Lunchtime Lecture

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