Department of Political Science


Dr Richard McMahon

Associate Lecturer (Teaching) in EU Politics
 2.08, 36-38 Gordon Sq.
Email: r.mcmahon@ucl.ac.uk



Before teaching at UCL, I was a researcher, funded by the European Commission’s Marie Curie scheme, and then a senior lecturer in European studies at the University of Portsmouth. Before then I lectured on EU Studies and Chinese history at University College Cork in Ireland. I have also taught a very wide range of subjects (from international law to racial and geopolitical subtexts in literature) at the universities of Bath, Chichester and Siegen (Germany) and at Birkbeck College, interspersed with research fellowships at the universities of Bristol and Siegen. My PhD in History and Civilisation at the European University Institute studies a transnational community of scientists who attempted to classify Europeans by race. Before my academic career, I worked as a journalist of EU affairs in Brussels, focusing on enlargement and relations with the Western Balkans. I have published a monograph, numerous articles and book chapters and edited seven special issues and edited books with leading journals such as National Identities and European Societies and with publishers such as Routledge.


My research and publications concentrate on the ways that people think about Europe and nations and how this affects politics. At present, China-EU mutual representations are my key focus. I am currently working on two journal special issues. One, co-edited with Prof. Wolfram Kaiser (University of Portsmouth) on narratives and counter-narratives of the European Union, will appear in Journal of Contemporary European Studies in early 2021. The other, co-edited with Prof. Hongsong Liu (Shanghai Jiaotong University) on Chinese representations of the EU, should be published a year later. My previous work has examined the nationalist and geopolitical identity narratives of transnational communities of race scientists and geneticists and various aspects of culture-politics relations in the EU, addressing prominent political issues such as Brexit and enlargement.



  • McMahon, R., 2016, The Races of Europe: Construction of national identities in the social sciences 1839-1939, London: Palgrave.

Edited Books and journal special issues:

  • McMahon, R. (ed.), proposal submitted to journal (with Hongsong LIU), Making sense of the European Union: Chinese representations, Thematic issue of Journal of Common Market Studies.
  • McMahon, R. (ed.), under preparation; agreed with journal (with Wolfram Kaiser), Counter-narratives of European union, Thematic issue of Journal of Contemporary European Studies.
  • McMahon, R., 2019, National Races: scientific classification and political identity, University of Nebraska Press.
  • McMahon, R. (ed.), 2019 (with Wolfram Kaiser), Transnational Actors and Stories of European Integration: Clash of Narratives, London & New York: Routledge.
  • McMahon, R. (ed.), 2017 (with Wolfram Kaiser), Narrating European Integration: Transnational Actors and Stories, Thematic issue of National Identities, 19 (1).
  • McMahon, R. (ed.), 2013, Post-identity? Culture and European integration, London & New York: Routledge.
  • McMahon, R & J. Murphy (eds), 2013, Russian-East European Relations: From Tsarism to Gazprom, Thematic issue of Irish Slavonic Studies, 25.
  • McMahon, R. (ed.), 2012, Post-identity? Culture and the politics of European integration, Thematic issue of European Societies, 14 (4).
  • McMahon, R.; O. Vincze & E. Stancu (eds), 2009, Cultural Communication: New perspectives in European history, Thematic issue of European Review of History, 16 (1).

Articles and book chapters:

  • McMahon, R., 2020 (forthcoming), ‘The Mainstream: A disciplinary or Transatlantic divide in political studies of the EU?’, Journal of European Integration (to be submitted Dec. 2020).
  • McMahon, R., 2020, ‘Anthropological race classification and ethnicity: Science with a nationalist heart’, in Marina Mogilner (ed.), A Cultural History of Race in the Age of Empire and Nation State, London: Bloomsbury.
  • McMahon, R., 2019, ‘Reviving Raciology? Genetic anthropology and pre-1945 anthropological race classification’, Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
  • McMahon, R., 2019, ‘Transnational Race Classification: Scientific network and system of narratives’, in Richard McMahon (ed.), National Races: Scientific classification and political identity, University of Nebraska Press.
  • McMahon, R., 2019, ‘Race Classification Studies: Creating a community’, in Richard McMahon (ed.), National Races: scientific classification and political identity, University of Nebraska Press.
  • McMahon, R., 2018, ‘The history of transdisciplinary race classification: methods, politics and institutions, 1840s–1940s’, British Journal for the History of Science, 50 (1): 41-67.
  • McMahon, R., 2018, ‘Fall and Rise: Normativity in Political Science Writing on the EU’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 56(2): 462–79.
  • McMahon, R., 2017, ‘Post-colonial Ireland and neo-romantic Europe: responses to Stewart’, Reviews in History, 2173, http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/2173.
  • *McMahon, R., 2017, Religion, Civilisation, Geography: Normative EU studies and eastern enlargement, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 25 (3): 307-324.
  • McMahon, R. (with Wolfram Kaiser), 2017, ‘Narrating European Integration: Transnational actors and stories’, National Identities, 19 (1): 149-60.
  • *McMahon, R., 2017, ‘Progress, Democracy, Efficiency: Normative narratives in political science EU Studies’, National Identities, 19 (1): 231-50.
  • McMahon, R., 2013c, ‘The Kremlin’s Grip: New geopolitical and cultural histories of Central and Eastern Europe’, Irish Slavonic Studies, 25: 1-12.
  • McMahon, R., 2013b, ‘After the failure of identity, what links European integration politics and culture?’, in Richard McMahon (ed.), Post-identity? Culture and European Integration, London & New York: Routledge: 1-13.
  • McMahon, R., 2013a, ‘How culture and history shape Europe’s differentiated integration: The cases of liberal international relations and northern Euroscepticism’, in Richard McMahon (ed.), Post-identity? Culture and European Integration, London & New York: Routledge: 191-211. 
  • McMahon, R. (with Annabelle Littoz-Monnet), 2013, ‘Cultures of defining culture: EU cultural policy in the context of the study of culture’, in Richard McMahon (ed.), Post-identity? Culture and European Integration, London & New York: Routledge: 212-34.
  • McMahon, R., 2012b, ‘Euroscepticism and neighbourhood peace: How transnational spatial patterns shape EUrope’, European Societies, 14(4): 562-85.
  • McMahon, Richard, 2012a, ‘If identity doesn't connect culture with European integration politics, what does?’, European Societies, 14(4): 473-83.
  • McMahon, R., 2011, 'Geographical networks in a scientific community: anthropological race classifiers of Europe', History of the Human Sciences, 24(1): 70-94.
  • McMahon, R., 2009c, ‘Anthropological race psychology 1820-1945: A common European system of ethnic identity narratives’, Nations and Nationalism, 15(4): 575–596.
  • McMahon, R., 2009b, ‘Cultures of Communication: New Historical Perspectives’, European Review of History, 16(1): 1-14.
  • McMahon, R., 2009a, ‘On the margins of international science and national discourse: National identity narratives in Romanian race anthropology’, European Review of History, 16(1): 99-120.

Blog Posts:

  • McMahon, R., 2019, ‘The ‘pathway to a possible deal’ runs through Stormont’, The UK in a Changing Europe, 18/10, https://ukandeu.ac.uk/the-pathway-to-a-possible-deal-runs-through-stormont/.
  • McMahon, R., 2019, ‘Brexit: Is No-Deal Inevitable?’, 上海国际问题研究院的公众号 (WeiXin Bulletin of the Shanghai Institute of International Studies), 12/09.
  • McMahon, R., 2019, ‘Brexit: Is No-Deal Inevitable?’, 回顾卓越讲坛的上外卓越学院, (Advanced Studies Forum Review of the Shanghai International Studies University Advanced Studies Institute), 30/09.
  • At present, I teach on ‘Introduction to Politics’, ‘How to argue about Politics’, and two policy studies modules, but in previous years my teaching has mostly focused on EU politics and on democracy.
  • I can best help supervise students on subjects related to the EU and European politics more broadly, China, Populism and Euroscepticism and on the various ways that culture and identity intersect with politics.