David Leopold

MA Sus, MA DPhil Oxon

Associate Professor of Political Theory, DPIR
Fellow, Mansfield College
Political Theory Network
Mansfield College


I am especially interested in the political philosophy of G.W.F Hegel, in the social and political thought of Karl Marx, and in theoretical connections between those two authors. I often supervise doctoral students sharing those interests in Marx and Hegel. My recent research publications in this area include critical engagement with Marx’s views on human flourishing (which have affinities with modern capabilities approaches), and work on contemporary Analytical Marxism. 

In addition, I have research interests in utopia and utopianism. I have sought to rescue certain ideas of utopia from critics, and offer a defence of some proponents of utopianism – including William Morris – who are sometimes treated with condescension. Relatedly, I have written about the young Friedrich Engels’ early interest in intentional settlements and in communitarian forms of socialism.

Lastly, I am interested in certain related methodological questions in political theory; for example, in the place of so-called ‘ideal theory’ within political philosophy, and in whether and why political theorists might benefit from some engagement with the history of political thought.


Undergraduate teaching: I have taught the political theory part of the first year ‘Introduction to Politics’ course; the core Finals paper ‘Theory of Politics’; and the three further theory papers ‘History of Political Thought: Plato to Rousseau’; ‘History of Political Thought: Bentham to Weber’; and ‘Marx and Marxism’. I am currently the Course Provider for the ‘Marx and Marxism’ course.

Graduate teaching: I currently teach a research methods course, to both MSc Political Theory research and MPhil Political Theory students, entitled 'Problems of Method in the History of Political Thought', as well as a second year MPhil optional paper on 'Political Theories of Hegel and Marx'.

David Leopold


My publications include:


David Leopold and Marc Stears (edited), Political Theory. Methods and Approaches (Oxford University Press, 2008).

David Leopold, The Young Karl Marx: German Philosophy, Modern Politics, and Human Flourishing (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

William Morris, News From Nowhere, edited and introduced by David Leopold (Oxford University Press, 2003).

Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, edited and introduced by David Leopold (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Recent Articles

‘Analytical Marxism’, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, published by the Metaphysics Research Laboratory at the Centre for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University.

'Karl Marx and English Socialism', Nineteenth-Century Prose, special issue edited by Sven-Ove Jansson, volume 49/1 (2022), 1-38.

‘Alienation’, Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta, published by the Metaphysics Research Laboratory at the Centre for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University (online).

‘Karl Marx and the Capabilities Approach’, Cambridge Handbook of the Capability Approach, edited by E. Chiappero-Martinetti, S. Osmani, and M. Qizilbash (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

‘The Non-Essentialist Perfectionism of Max Stirner’, in Douglas Moggach, Nadine Mooren, and Michael Quante (edited), Perfektionismus und Autonomie (Fink Verlag, 2019).

‘Marx’s “Hegelian” Critique of Utopia’, in Victoria Fareld and Hannes Kuch (edited), From Marx to Hegel and Back (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).

‘“Non-Foundational” Marxian Arguments Against Utopia’, Jan Kandiyali (edited), Reassessing Marx’s Social and Political Philosophy: Freedom, Recognition and Human Flourishing (Routledge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (London: Routledge, 2018). 

'Beyond the "Grand Designs": Owenism, Architecture, and Utopia', in Stefan Ardvissan, Jakub Benes, and Anja Kirsch (edited), Socialist Imaginations: Utopias, Myths, and the Masses (London: Routledge, 2018).

‘William Morris, News From Nowhere, and the Functions of Utopia’, Journal of William Morris Studies, volume XXII No. 1 (2016) pp. 18-41.

‘On Marxian Utopophobia’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 54/1 (2016) pp. 111-134.

‘Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, and the Enlightenment’, Laurence Brockliss and Ritchie Robertson (edited), Isaiah Berlin and the Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) chapter one.

‘Marx, Engels, and Other Socialisms’, Terrell Carver and James Farr (edited), The Cambridge Companion to the Communist Manifesto (Cambridge University Press, 2016) pp. 32-50.

‘Scientific Socialism: The Case of Robert Owen’, Kyriakos N. Demetriou and Antis Loizides (edited), Scientific Statesmanship, Governance and the History of Political Philosophy (New York: Routledge, 2015) pp. 193-209.

'Marx and British Socialism', in William Mander (edited), Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century British Philosophy (Oxford, 2014) pp. 402-422.

'Marxism and Ideology: From Marx to Althusser', in Michael Freeden, Lyman Tower Sargent, and Marc Stears (edited), Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies (Oxford, 2013) pp. 20-37.

'Marx' in Gerald F. Gaus and Fred D'Agostino (edited), The Routledge Companion to Social and Political Philosophy (New York, 2012) pp. 135-145.

'Socialist Turnips: The Young Friedrich Engels and the Feasibility of Socialism', Political Theory 40/3 (2012) pp. 347-378.

'A Cautious Embrace: Reflections on (Left) Liberalism and Utopia', Ben Jackson and Marc Stears (edited), Liberalism as Ideology. Essays in Honour Of Michael Freeden (Oxford, 2012) pp. 9-33.

'A Solitary Life', Saul Newman (edited), Max Stirner (London, 2012) pp. 21-41.

'The Utopian Organisation of Work in Icaria', J.c. Davis and Miguel A. Ramiro (edited), Utopian Moments. Micro Historical Approaches to Literarry Utopias (London, 2012) chapter 18.

'Education and Utopia', The Oxford Review of Education (Special issue: Political and Philosophical Perspectives on Education), 37/5 (2011) pp. 610-635.

'"All Tell the Same Tale": The Young Engels and Communal Settlements in America and England", Marx-Engels-Jahrbuch 2009 (2010) pp. 7-46.

'Socialism and Utopia', Journal of Political Ideologies, volume 12/3 (October 2007) pp.219-237.

'The Structure of Marx and Engels Considered Account of Utopian Socialism', History of Political Thought, volume XXVI, no. 3 (2005) pp.443-466.

'The State and I: Max Stirner's Anarchism', Douglas Moggach (edited), The New Hegelians, Politics and Philosophy in the Hegelian School (Cambridge University Press, 2006) pp.176-199.