UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Prof Richard Mole

Prof Richard Mole

Professor of Political Sociology



Joined UCL
1st Oct 2003

Research summary

Richard Mole's research focuses the relationship between identity and power, with particular reference to nationalism, sexualities and migration. His research is explicitly interdisciplinary, crossing the boundaries of Sociology, International Relations, Social Psychology and Socio-Linguistics. He has a strong theoretical interest in discourse - particularly, the post-structuralist discourse theories of Laclau and Mouffe - and a regional interest in Russia and Poland and increasingly on Brazil and other Latin American societies. 

His most recent research examines the intersections between migration and sexuality. He has  explored this relationship in a multi-sited research project on Queer Migration and Asylum in Berlin and London (funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) and as part of a large-scale collaborative project on the Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles of London’s East Europeans (funded by the Medical Research Council).

He is currently Principal Investigator of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network 'Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Populism' and Director of Research of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme 'Populist rebellion against modernity in 21st-century Eastern Europe: neo-traditionalism and neo-feudalism’.

Teaching summary

Courses taught

  • Nations, Identity and Power
  • Sexuality and Society in Russian and Eastern Europe 
  • The International Politics of Sexuality
  • Understanding Society: Introduction to Political Sociology 

He is currently supervising PhD students working on the following research projects:

  • Arthur Davis: 'Temporalities in Tension: Rethinking Healthcare Provisions for Sexual Migrants' (Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentship)
  • Olga Doletskaya: '(Il)legal parenthood: examining the complexities of queer parenting in Russia' (LAHP Research Studentship)
  • Carlos Gomez del Tronco: 'How the fear of 'refugees' and Islamophobia stole the Czech political agenda (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Scholarship)
  • Rasa Kamarauskaite: ‘Body and space among Lithuanian sexual minorities’
  • Julia Ryng: 'Can documentary films challenge Polish homophobia?: Fostering understanding through documentaries between rural Poland and the LGBT+ community'
  • David Rypel: 'Politics of Belonging and Security among Queer Georgians' (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship)
  • Tyler Valiquette: 'Queer Migration in the Periphery: Responses to Venezuelan sexual minority refugees in Colombia and Brazil' (Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship)

He has supervised the following PhDs to completion as (co-)primary supervisor:

  • Dr Oliwia Berdak: ‘I exist, I belong, I contribute: the self and the collective in Croatian national discourse’ (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship, Now: Senior Analyst, Forrester)
  • Dr Valentina Burrai: ‘Towards a symmetrical minority citizenship: group equality in Croatia, 1990-2007’ (Now: Senior Research Manager, Wood Mackenzie)
  • Dr Olga Cara: ‘Acculturation strategies and ethno-national identification: a study of adolescents in Russian-language schools in Riga’ (ESRC Scholarship. Now: Senior Research Officer, UCL Institute of Education)
  • Dr Diego Garcia Rodriguez: 'Qu(e)erying Islam: An Exploration of Queer Muslims and their Allies in Indonesia' (ESRC Scholarship. Now: Leverhulme Fellow, Nottingham University)
  • Dr Piotr Godzisz: ‘Laws in action or action without laws? Understanding the legal and policy responses to hate crimes based on sexual orientation in Poland’ (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship. Now: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Post-doctoral Fellow, Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • Aydan Greatrick: 'Queer Identities in Conflict: Responses to and Experiences of Sexual Minority Refugees from Syria in the UK and Germany' (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Dr Julia Halej: ‘Other whites, white others: East European migrants and the boundaries of whiteness’ (Now: Senior Evaluation and Research Consultant at Coffey International Development)
  • Dr Thomas Hoctor: ‘Making a model: UK policy networks and the Nordic model’ (AHRC scholarship. Now: Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire)
  • Dr Nikolay Nikolov: ‘A concrete life: a history of the panel housing complex in the former Soviet bloc’ (ESRC Scholarship. Now: journalist for Al-Jazeera+ and Mashable)
  • Dr Andrea Peinhopf: ‘States of uncertainty: Soviet identity and statehood in the secessions of Abkhazia and Transnistria’ (ESRC Scholarship. Now: ESRC Post-doctoral Fellow, University of York)
  • Dr Dzmitry Suslau: ‘Between Public Art and the Monument: National Identity and Memory in Contemporary Kaliningrad, Minsk, and Vilnius’ (SSEES Foundation Scholarship. Now: Lecturer at UCL)


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE Part 2 |
University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE Part 1 |
London School of Economics and Political Science
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2003
Goldsmiths College
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Certificate in Education | 2001
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 1992
Heriot-Watt University
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1991


Richard studied German and Russian at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and International Relations at the University of Cambridge, where he also worked at the University's Baltic States Research Unit. After four years working for Credit Suisse in London and Zurich, he began his doctoral studies in 1997 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His PhD thesis examined the relationship between identity and foreign policy in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. After completing his PhD, he was a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, before taking up a two-year Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship at UCL. He joined SSEES in 2004 as Lecturer in the Politics of Central Europe, was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology in 2010 and to Professor of Political Sociology in 2019. From 2017-19 and 2021-22 he was the SSEES Deputy Director. In 2007 he was made a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and in 2009 he was awarded a Provost's Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.