Ruth graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a BA History and Politics and was awarded an SSRC research scholarship to study at Nuffield College Oxford.
Her research has been funded by the ISRF (mid-career fellowship, 2023-24), the ESRC (ES/N006860/1 Transformative Research Award, Anarchy as a constitutional principle: constitutionalising in anarchist politics) the ISRF (Flexible Small Group Award, Art Activism and Political Violence) and the British Academy (Small Research Grant, 2005, ‘Early Writings on Terrorism’, and 1993 ‘Mutual Aid in Historical Context’).
Ruth is a political theorist and historian of ideas with research interests in anarchism, nineteenth and early twentieth-century socialist thought, utopianism and contemporary radicalism. Her book William Morris: The Art of Socialism was published in 2000 by University of Wales press; she has since published The Beginner's Guide to Anarchism (Oneworld, 2005/2009), Kropotkin: Reviewing the Classical Anarchist Tradition (University of Edinburgh, 2016) and The Government of No One (Pelican, 2019). She is editor of the Bloomsbury Companion to Anarchism (2012) and co-editor of Anarchism and Utopianism (Manchester University Press, 2009), Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red (Palgrave & PM Press, 2012) and Anarchism 1914-18: Internationalism, Anti-militarism and War (Manchester University Press, 2017).
Her work has been translated into 10 languages.
She has written for The Conversation, Strike! Magazine, The Big Issue, Novara Media and Dope. She is author of the Great Anarchists pamphlet series by Dog Section Press – now available as a book – and is working on a new series. She is co-author with Alex Prichard, Thomas Swann and Seeds For Change of Anarchic Agreements, a guide to anarchist constitutionalising.
Ruth has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Ideas in Our Time and Start the Week, contributed to British Socialism: the Grand Tour, The Moral Maze (‘The Morality of Disobedience’), BBC Radio 3’s Nightwaves, ITV News Channel, How the Light Gets In and Sky News. Online interviews include Five Books on Anarchism, Russell Brand’s Under the Skin, Robert Elms’ BBC Radio London programme and Beth Matthews Radio 3CR Melbourne.
Ruth has been involved in programme design and curriculum development throughout her career. She was recipient of a University teaching prize in 2005 and served as Associate Dean for Teaching (Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2010-11) and School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences (2011-2014).
With Uri Gordon she co-authored the Political Studies Association Teachers’ Topic Guide on Anarchism and Ideology (2015/2019). She has recorded online lectures for Massolit on anarchism for A-level Politics students, in 2020 presented the anarchy night school – Five Weeks of Anarchy - at Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and contributed to the Incite seminars.
Current postgraduate research students
- Sam Garrett: “Political subjectivity and identity politics in contemporary radical organisation’
- William Godfrey: “Towards a materialist animal liberation”
- Richard Valliere, Advisory Committee, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Guelph, Canada.
- Katie Shaw: "Fields, Factories and Further Education; the possibilities for anarchising England's further education system"
Previous postgraduate research students
- Shane Little: "The Politics Behind the Unbridgeable Chasm: Revisiting the relationship between social anarchism and individualism" (2022)
- James McIntyre: "Hometime for Humanity: on Working our Way towards a Workless Society" (2021)
- Sebastian Averill: "Mikhail Bakunin at the margins of Slavoj Žižek" (2021)
- Jon Bigger: "Anarchists in the UK General Election 2015: an ethnographic Study of Class War" (2021)
- Simon Stevens "State and Citizens or Home and the Outsiders? A Genealogy of Citizenship in the UK" (2018)
- Elisabeth Vasileva "Postanarchist Ethics and the Possibilities for Resistance: An Analysis of the Tension Between Poststructuralism and Ethical Politics" (2018)
- Teresa Fernandes "The postanarchist, an activist in a “heterotopia”: building an ideal type" (2017)
- Jim Donaghey "Punk and Anarchism: UK, Poland, Indonesia" (2016)
- Anthony Fiscella (Lund University) "Universal Burdens: Stories of (Un)Freedom from the Unitarian Universalist Association, The MOVE Organization, and Taqwacore" (2015)
- Cris Iliopoulos "Nietzsche & anarchism: an elective affinity, and a Nietzschean reading of the December 08 revolt in Athens" (2014)
- ‘Anarchism and the National Question: Historical, Theoretical and Contemporary Perspectives’ with José Gutierrez, Introduction to the Themed Section in Nations and Nationalism, 29 (1), 2023: 121-130
- Anarchic Agreements: A Field Guide to Collective Organizing, co-ed with Alex Prichard, Thomas Swann and Seeds for Change (PM Press, 2022)
- ‘Peter Kropotkin and Communist Anarchism’, Cambridge History of Socialism, ed. Marcel van der Linden (Cambridge University Press, 2022) 331-354
- The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism (Penguin, 2019)
- ‘What is Anarchist Internationalism?’ Nations and Nationalism, 27 (4) (2021): 976-991 (online first, December 2020)
- ‘Heretical Constructions of Anarchist Utopianism’, History of European Ideas, 46 (8), 2020: 1078-1092
- ‘Occupy and the Constitution of Anarchy’ with Alex Prichard and Thomas Swann, Global Constitutionalism 8 (2), 2019: 357-390
- ‘Anarchism and non-domination’ with Alex Prichard, Journal of Political Ideologies, 24 (3) 2019: 221-240