Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Politics, History and International Relations

Department Staff

Helen Drake

Helen Drake

Professor of French and European Studies

Tel: +44 (0)1509 222989

Fax: Twitter: @FrancoBrit

Location: Manzoni Building


My first degree was in Linguistic and International  Studies (French and German) from Surrey University, and my MSc was in European Management  from Cranfield Institute of Technology. My PhD, in political science, is from Aston University.  This academic background has led me to conduct my teaching and research from an interdisciplinary perspective. In 2010 I was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government for services to French culture and language, and since September 2012, I am Chair of the UK’s leading academic association for European Studies, UACES.  I was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European integration by the European Commission in September 2013 and am using this to support my teaching at Loughborough.



The study of contemporary French politics and government remains central to my research activity. In 2015 I will complete the second edition of Contemporary France (Palgrave, 2011); and I have begun work on a monograph (also for Palgrave) on France’s relationship with the European Union. In addition, I have been working with different colleagues on varied questions about France. Publications here include my work with Saskia Huc-Hepher on the contemporary French population in London; and with Aidan McGarry on the security discourse still stigmatising the Roma population in France.

In addition, I have recently begun leading collaborative work on two new research projects. The first, at a crucial juncture for UK-EU relations, is a critical history of UACES (the UK’s University Association for Contemporary European Studies), and by extension of the place of European Studies in UK Higher Education. The second collaboration extends the pedagogical research that I began with my 2013 study of peer-assisted learning. Still concerned with how students learn best, I am supporting my Loughborough colleague David Roberts in evaluating his highly popular teaching experiments that use literal and figurative images to convey meaning in international relations. Combining empirical data from student surveys with a critical review of literatures of cognition we are presenting our first findings about ‘using images to engage students’ in June 2015.

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PhD supervision

I have supervised students across a broad range of subject areas relating to the study of the EU. These range from a critical discourse analysis of the EU’s counter-terrorism policy; the institutional response of the Czech state to EU membership; the socialisation of Polish members of the European Parliament;  Johannes Althusius and the sui generis European Union and EU consumer policy: and a critique (an examination of consumers’ economic rights across borders).  In addition, I have examined PhDs at other institutions on contemporary French politics and society, and I welcome draft proposals for doctoral study in any aspect of French and European studies.


My most recent teaching at undergraduate level has been supported by the EU’s funding of my Jean Monnet Chair in European integration. In 2013-14 I incorporated alumni presentations into my Introduction to the European Union core module and invited practitioner visiting speakers to work with final year students on my optional course on (Im)migration, Migration and the UK today. At Masters level I most recently taught an optional course on French Influence in the Wider World. I supervise dissertations at all levels, and participate in the core skills modules Introduction to Academic Studies and Research Design.

Recent publications


Most recent articles and book chapters

Commentary and online

(2014) ‘Country Focus: France’, Political Insight 5, 3: 22-25. DOI: 10.1111/2041-9066.12071(December).

(2014) ‘The 2014 Israel-Palestine crisis has uncovered deep divisions within French society’ (LSE Blog EUROPP, European Politics and Policy, 15 October).

View all publications on central database



Contact us

Department of Politics, History and International Relations
Herbert Manzoni Building
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU, UK‌‌

Tel: +44 (0)1509 222983