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Mark Shanahan

  • SPEIR Director of Recruitment and Admissions with responsibility for outreach
  • Former Head of Department (2018-2021)
  • Convenor of American Government and Placement modules in Part 2; Co-convenor of Media and Politics module; Convenor of Part 3 Parliamentary Studies Module
  • Responsible for student-led Politics Radio Show on B-Radio

Areas of interest

New developments in teaching and learning pedagogy, especially the use of social media; US government and the celebritisation of American political culture from Eisenhower to Trump (and beyond); the role of Parliament in UK government.

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising work around the US political system, the UK Parliamentary system and the relationship between politics and the media.

Research centres and groups

Co-founder of the Monroe Group which focuses on US political history.


A convert from industry to academia, I spent over 20 years in journalism and corporate media before transitioning to academia, first at Brunel University where I completed my PhD and latterly, from 2012, at Reading. Currently Head of Department for Politics and International Relations, I am a regular media spokesperson for the university on UK and US politics, including for the BBC, ITN, CNN, Sky, ABC (Australia), France 24 and CTV (Canada).

Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Political History
  • MA in International Relations
  • BA in English Language and Literature
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and of the Institute of Internal Communication

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Member of PSA and BISA joint T&L Group and past co-chair of BISA T&L Group
  • Member of MPSA, BAAS and HOTCUS

Selected publications

  • 2018 'The Outsider Presidency' chapter in The Trump Presidency - from Campaign Trail to World Stage, edited by M. Oliva and M.J. Shanahan, Palgrave, London.
  • 2016 Eisenhower at the Dawn of the Space Age (monograph), Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland. Winner of Neudstadt prize for American Politics Book of the Year 2017
  • 2015 'Pursuing the Parallel Track', chapter in The Eisenhower Presidency, Edited by A.J. Polsky, Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland.
  • 2012 The 240,000 mile cul de sac - how Kennedy won the moon race but got lost in space - 49thParallel, Issue 27, Winter 2012 -

Selected conference papers

  • 2020 Student Communications during the Pandemic - PSA Online Conference, June 2020
  • 2019 Why students don't read - new tools for topic engagement beyond the classroom - PSA/APSA/BISA International Teaching and Learning Conference, Brighton
  • 2018 Teaching Trump in Europe - Policy impact beyond the tweets, APSA T&L conference, Baltimore, USA
  • 2017 Breaking the fourth wall - updated - Bringing practitioners into the study of politics, ECPR annual conference, Oslo
  • 2016 Bringing expert voices into the room - Investigating Pedagogic Research & Practice in Politics and International Relations - PSA Annual Conference, Brighton
  • 2016 Breaking down the fourth wall - using Twitter to engage in US election races - BISA annual Conference, Edinburgh
  • 2016 All buzz and no static - using internet radio and podcasting to cement political learning, PSA T&L Conference, Newcastle
  • 2015 The journey to the White House started in London, Eisenhower's 1945 address at the Guildhall HOTCUS Annual Conference, UEA
  • 2013 Eisenhower's Parallel Path at 'Ike Reconsidered: The Eisenhower Legacy in the 21st Century' - Roosevelt House, Hunter College, CUNY, New York
  • 2011 Reassessing Eisenhower's Space Policy - South East History Hub, Annual Conference - University of Kent
  • 2010 The 240,000 mile cul de sac - British Association for American Studies - Postgraduate Conference - Rothermere Institute, Oxford

Awards and Grants

2021 - BAAS Research Travel Award