Professor James Shields

Professor of French Politics and Modern History / Director of Research

Having studied in Glasgow, Toulouse, Zaragoza and Lisbon, and taught at the Universities of Glasgow, Caen, Aston (1984-90) and Warwick (1990-2009), I returned to take up the Chair of French at Aston in 2010.
My teaching has covered a range of subjects and periods, from 18 th -century thought to contemporary history and politics. I have examined doctoral theses on politics and on literature, and supervised doctoral and masters theses on French national identity, the Algerian War, Gaullism, the Socialist Party, the Mitterrand presidency, presidentialism in the Fifth Republic, political activism of francophone Muslim women, and the inter-war far-right press. I place a strong emphasis on the quality of my teaching and, while at Warwick, won an award of £5,000 in recognition of inspiring and innovative teaching.

  • MA Hons First Class in French and Hispanic Studies with Moral Philosophy, University of Glasgow
  • PhD in French and Philosophy, University of Glasgow
  • DLitt in French History and Politics, University of Warwick
  • LF1025 France since the Revolution

  • LF1028 France since the Revolution 1

  • LF1029 France since the Revolution 2

  • LF2009 Conflict and Consensus in French Society

  • LF3006 Vichy France 

  • LF3203 French Research Dissertation

  • LP3030 Europe's Far Right

  • PhD Supervision

I have published on: aspects of 18th- and early 19th-century French literature and thought; Vichy France; Poujadism; Gaullism; issues of nationalism, anti-Semitism, immigration policy; French elections; and in particular the Front National and wider extreme right, with a 200,000-word book on the extreme right in France since the Vichy regime.

Books and Edited Works

Journal Articles
  • ‘Marine Le Pen and the “New” FN: A Change of Style or of Substance?’, Parliamentary Affairs, 66, 1, 2013, 179-196
  • ‘Political Radicalism in France: Perspectives on a Protean Concept’, Introduction to above special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society, 29, 3, 2011, 1-11
  • ‘Radical or Not So Radical? Tactical Variation in Core Policy Formation by the Front National’, French Politics, Culture and Society, 29, 3, 2011, 78-100
  • 'Support for Le Pen in France: Two Elections in Trompe l’œil', POLITICS, 30, 1, 2010, 61-69
  • 'The Far-Right Vote in France: From Consolidation to Collapse?', French Politics, Culture and Society, 28, 1, 2010, 25-45
  • 'Stanley Hoffmann: A Political Life', Introduction to Politics, Ethics, and the Search for a Just International Order: Symposium in Honour of Stanley Hoffmann, ed. J. Shields, French Politics, 7, 3/4, 2009, 359-67
  • 'The Sarkozy Effect: France's New Presidential Dynamic', Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 9, 1, 2008, 103-12
  • 'Charlemagne's Crusaders: French Collaboration in Arms, 1941-1945', French Cultural Studies, 18, 1, 2007, 83-105
  • 'Political Representation in France: A Crisis of Democracy?', Parliamentary Affairs, 59, 1, 2006, 118-37
  • 'An Enigma Still: Poujadism Fifty Years On', French Politics, Culture and Society, 22, 1, 2004, 36-56
  • 'The Poujadist Movement: A Faux "Fascism"', Modern and Contemporary France, 8, 1, 2000, 19-34 (recommended in ‘Revue des revues’ of L’Histoire, 243, 2000)
  • 'The FN Industry — No Recession Here', Modern and Contemporary France, 7 (3), 1999, 377-82
  • 'Europe's Other Landslide: The French National Assembly Elections of May-June 1997', The Political Quarterly, 68, 4, 1997, 412-24
  • 'La politique du pire: The Front National and the 1997 Legislative Elections', French Politics and Society, 15, 3, 1997, 21-36
  • 'Nationalism and Europeanism: Reconciling Opposites on the French Far Right', The European Legacy, 1, 2, 1996, 586-94
  • 'The Challenge of the Front National: Presidential and Municipal Elections in France', Patterns of Prejudice, 29, 4, 1995, 19-30
  • 'France's Presidential Election: The Gaullist Restoration', The Political Quarterly, 66, 4, 1995, 320-27
  • 'Le Pen and the Progression of the Far-Right Vote in France', French Politics and Society, 13, 2, 1995, 21-39
  • 'The French Presidential Election: Chirac’s Pyrrhic Victory', French Studies Bulletin, 56, 1995, 1-4
  • 'Anti-Semitism in France: The Spectre of Vichy', Patterns of Prejudice, 24, 2-4, 1990, 5-17
  • 'Disputing the General’s Mantle: France’s Gaullists in Disarray', Contemporary Review, 256, 1493, 1990, 281-86

Book Chapters

  • ‘Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and the Limits of Liberalism’, The Presidents of the French Fifth Republic, eds. D. S. Bell and J. Gaffney, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013, 114-135
  • 'The Front National in the 1990s: From Consolidation to Crisis', Language, Politics and Society. Festschrift in Honour of Professor D.E. Ager, eds. S. Wright, L. Hantrais and J. Howorth, Multilingual Matters, 2000, pp. 72-84
  • 'The French Gaullists', Political Parties and the European Union, ed. J. Gaffney, Routledge, 1996, pp. 86-109
  • 'Extreme Right-wing Parties and the European Union: France, Germany and Italy' (with C. Fieschi and R. Woods), Political Parties and the European Union, ed. J. Gaffney, Routledge, 1996, pp. 235-53
  • 'Immigration Politics in Mitterrand's France', France During the Socialist Years, ed. G. Raymond, Dartmouth, 1994, pp. 222-52
  • 'Le syndrome de Nietzsche dans la critique stendhalienne', Le Temps du Stendhal-Club (1880-1920), eds. P. Berthier and G. Rannaud, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 1994, pp. 75-89
  • 'Stendhal et Cabanis: le mythe italien à travers le prisme de la physiologie', Stendhal, Paris et le mirage italien, eds. V. Del Litto and J. Dérens, Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris, 1992, pp. 123-40
  • 'The Politics of Disaffection: France in the 1980s', Political Culture in France and Germany: A Contemporary Perspective, eds. J. Gaffney and E. Kolinsky, Routledge, 1991, pp. 69-90
  • 'A New Chapter in the History of the French Extreme Right: The Front National', French Political Parties in Transition, ed. A. Cole, Dartmouth, 1990, pp. 185-204 

Recent Papers/Panels

  •  ‘Context and issues in Hollande’s first year’, University of Warwick: French Politics in the Hollande Presidency, 9 May 2013 
  • ‘FN support in 2012 and beyond’, University of Bath, 1 February 2013
  •  ‘The Front National: Towards the mainstream?’, Political Studies Association, Cardiff, 25-27 March 2013
  •  ‘Left and right as identity markers in French politics’, Balliol College/Maison Française Oxford: French Politics in an Age of Uncertainty, 15 September 2012
  •  ‘Giscard and the limits of liberalism’, Aston University: The French Presidency, 6 March 2012
  •  ‘The Marine Le Pen campaign’, University of Warwick: The Presidential Elections, 3 May 2012
  •  ‘Front National voting in the 2012 elections’, University of Cardiff: France’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, 16 May 2012
  •  ‘The impact of the far right in the 2012 electoral series’, Political Studies Association, Belfast, 3-5 April 2012
  • ‘The new radical agenda in France: Rhetoric and reality’, Political Studies Association, London, 19-21 April 2011
  • ‘Developments of the far right in France and Europe’, Public Lecture Series ‘Europe in Crisis?’, University of Limerick, 7 April 2011
  • ‘The Sarkozy presidency - Continuity or change in France?’, Political Studies Association, Edinburgh, 29 March-1 April 2010
  • ‘Political radicalism in France’, American Political Science Association, Toronto, 3-6 September 2009
  • ‘France and Europe: A rekindled affection?’, American Political Science Association, Toronto, 3-6 September 2009
  • ‘Voting trends in France: Lessons from recent elections’, Department of Language, Linguistics and Area Studies, University of the West of England, 13 May 2009
  • ‘The far right in the Fifth Republic at fifty – Electoral defeat, ideological victory?’, Political Studies Association, Manchester, 7-9 April 2009
  • ‘The US, France, and the search for a just International System: Roundtable in honor of Stanley Hoffmann’, American Political Science Association, Boston, 28-31 August 2008
  • ‘Franco-German military collaboration on the Eastern Front’, History Department, De Montfort University, 6 February 2008
  • ‘Insurgents against Modernity - The France of the Poujadistes’, The Lost Decade: The 1950s in European History, Economics, Society and Culture, University of Cardiff, 11-13 July 2007
  • ‘The far-right factor – Lessons from 2002 and 2007’, New Dimensions in Political Competition in France, University of Bath, 6 July 2007


My research has attracted funding awards from the British Academy, Nuffield Foundation, Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Carnegie Trust. In 2007, I won the American Political Science Association's Stanley Hoffmann Award for the best article on French politics across anglophone political studies (‘Political Representation in France: A Crisis of Democracy?’ Parliamentary Affairs 59 (1) 2006) – selected from 223 articles in 112 journals across 22 countries, with a prize of $2,000 presented jointly by APSA and Sciences-Po Paris in Chicago.

  • Elected to Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS), 2011

  • Fellow of Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), elected 2010

  • Fellow of Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), elected 2007

  • Member of AHRC Peer Review College, 2010-14

  • Chair of American Political Science Association's Georges Lavau Award Committee, 2007-08 (international panel to select the best doctoral thesis on French politics 2005-08)

  • Member of Editorial Boards of French Politics, Culture and Society and Fascism: Journal of Comparative Fascist Studies, and Advisory Board of ‘Explorations of the Far Right’ book series (Ibidem-Verlag)

  • Referee (recently) for: Parliamentary Affairs; Government and Opposition; French Politics; Modern and Contemporary France; French Politics, Culture and Society

Member of:

  • Political Studies Association (PSA)

  • American Political Science Association (APSA)

  • American Historical Association (AHA)

  • Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF) 

I have taken part in over 200 interviews, discussions, debates and documentaries for British, French, American, Canadian, Australian and other broadcast and print media in relation to my work on politics. These include:

  • Television: BBC World, BBC News 24/News Channel, BBC 4 News, BBC Breakfast, TF1 (France), France 24, Sky News, SKAI television (Greece), ITV Central News
  • Radio: BBC Radio 4 ‘Today Programme’, Radio 4 ‘Westminster Hour’, BBC World Service, BBC 5 Live, ABC Radio (USA, Australia), CBC Radio (Canada), Radio France Internationale, Radio Free Europe, BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, Sky News Radio
  • Press and online (interviews, quotes, comment): Le Monde, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Times, Telegraph, Observer, Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday, Wall Street Journal, International Business Times, Forbes Magazine, CNN World, CNBC-Europe, Sydney Morning Herald, Globe and Mail (Canada), Prague Post, Scotsman, London Evening Standard, Correio Braziliense, Southern Metropolis Daily, Kathimerini, Times Higher Education

National TV and radio appearances include interviews by Sarah Montague, Carolyn Quinn, Jonathan Charles, David Eades, Clive Myrie, Richard Bacon, Zeinad Badawi, Declan Curry, Kirsty Lang, Edwina Currie and Amanda Platell.

Some broadcasts:

and online articles:

Room: MB765
Phone: 07913 092034 / 0121 204 3057
Email: j.g.shields@aston.ac.uk 

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