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History of DPIR

Oxford Politics' origins

The study of politics, government and international relations at Oxford has a long and distinguished history.

In 1909 the study of government was institutionalised in Oxford with a lectureship in Political Theory and Institutions. This was upped to be 'Chichele Reader in Political Theory and Institutions' in the same year and then upped again to form the Gladstone Chair of Political Theory and Institutions in 1912. Nearly two decades later, International Relations developed as an autonomous field of study with the establishment of the Montague Burton Chair of International Relations in 1930. 

In 1933 a sub-faculty for Politics was set up and, ten years later, the Chichele Chair in Social and Political Theory was established.

Two new Colleges specialising in Social Sciences and global issues—Nuffield College and St Anthony's College respectively—welcomed graduate students in the ensuing years, further enriching the academic community in Politics and International Relations.

One hundred years of PPE

Oxford was at the forefront of laying the foundations for the inception of the disciplines of political science, history and philosophy in the UK.

In 1920 Oxford founded its Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) Bachelors course—the first of its kind in the world. 

Alexander Dunlop Lindsay, Jowett Lecturer in Philosophy at Balliol (from 1910) and Master (1924-1949), was responsible for proposing this new tripartite school of 'Modern Greats'.

Lindsay built upon the educational culture which Jowett shaped at Balliol to create an institution (PPE) based on the idea that higher education consists not in reinforcing our own biased opinions, but in studying among others unlike ourselves and learning to negotiate diverse ideas within a pluralistic society.

A home for Oxford Politics

In 2000 the Department of Politics and International Relations was established.

DPIR's previous Heads of Department have included: Neil MacFarlane (2005-2010), Stephen Whitefield (2010-2014), Elizabeth Frazer (2014-2017), and Louise Fawcett (2017-2020).

In 2020 Nicholas Owen and Petra Schleiter were elected Joint Heads of Department.