Politics, History and International Relations


Helen Drake

Photo of  Helen Drake

Professor of French and European Studies


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 European Studies, is from Aston University.  This academic background has led me to conduct my teaching and research from a multi-disciplinary 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 have been Chair of the UK’s leading academic association for European Studies, UACES (@uaces).  I was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European integration by the European Commission in September 2013 and have used this to support my teaching at Loughborough. 

In 2016 I was awarded an ESRC Dissemination grant for a project involving sixth formers in Loughborough and London schools. The project is called Future-Proofing the UK electorate: simulating real world, post-Brexit decisions on EU freedom of movement in UK Schools, and two very successful simulations have already taken place.

Since 1 April 2017 (and to 30 September 2018) I am research leader on a second ESRC-funded, Brexit-related project.  Entitled 28+ Perspectives on Brexit: a guide to the multi-stakeholder negotiations, the project is to work with UK stakeholders of all kinds to better understand how key member states from the remaining 27, as well as 'Brussels' itself, think and feel about the UK's Brexit. I am working with four co-investgators, three drawn from across Loughborough University (Nicola Chelotti, Elena Georgiadou and Borja García García); and one from Queen Mary University of London (Stijn van Kessel).  Please follow us on Twitter(@28Brexits) and visit our website.  

The study of France in its international context remains central to my research activity.  I am currently working solo on a monograph (Palgrave) on France’s relationship with the European Union, and in November 2015 I delivered my inaugural lecture at Loughborough by asking whether Europe has ‘unmade’ France.

In addition, I have recently collaborated 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. Questions of EU governance also continue to drive my research interest and I have recently launched a research project based on the transfer of 50 years’ worth of UACES archives to the Historical Archives of the European Union (European University Institute, Florence). 

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.

I have supervised students across a broad range of subject areas relating to the study of the EU, particularly in its international dimension. The most recent examples include theses on: EU diplomatic actorness in its immediate neighbourhood in the East (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine); the governance of European funds in new European member states (the absorption performance of Bulgaria and Romania, and their management and implementation of European Structural Funds during 2007-2013); the political and bureaucratic origins of the European External Action Service (EEAS); 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).  

The Discourses and Politics of Migration in Europe

(New York, Palgrave Macmillan), with U. Korkut, G. Bucken-Knapp, A. McGarry and J. Hinnfors (eds.)

See more about the book on the Palgrave MacMillian website

The Discourses and Politics of Migration in Europe

Jacques Delors

Perpectives on a European Leader

Paperback – 14 Sep 2000

See more about the book on the Amazon website

Jacques Delors

Contempory France

In this authoritative yet accessible new text, Helen Drake provides a compelling introduction to the politics, society, economy and culture of France.

See more about the book on the Palgrave Macmillan website

Contempory France

French Relations with the European Union

(Europe and the Nation State) - Hardcover – 14 Apr 2005

This scholarly work examines how key actors within French politics and society have related to the challenges and opportunities posed by the European Union, and how these relations have driven or hindered change in France.

See more about the book on the Amazon website

French Relations with the European Union

Jacques Delors en Europe

Histoire et sociologie d'un leadership improbable (Broché)

de Helen Drake (Auteur), Thomas Liébault (Traduction)
Jacques Delors en Europe

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).