Professor Ruth Kinna

DPhil (Nuffield College, Oxford)

Pronouns: She/her
  • Professor of Political Theory

Ruth graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a BA History and Politics and completed her doctorate at Nuffield College Oxford.

Her doctoral research was funded by an SSRC scholarship. She is the recipient of two British Academy Small Research Grants (1993 ‘Mutual Aid in Historical Context’; 2005 ‘Early Writings on Terrorism’), a 2015 ISRF Flexible Small Group Award and a 2016 ESRC Transformative Research Award She was awarded an ISRF mid-career fellowship for 2023-24.

Ruth is co-editor of the journal Anarchist Studies and editor of Lexington’s series, Radical Subjects.

Her book, The Government of No One, was shortlisted for the 2020 Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing

Her work has been translated into French, Georgian, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Rumanian, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

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), The Government of No One (Pelican, 2019) and Great Anarchists (Dog Section Press, 2020). She is co-author of Anarchic Agreements, a guide to anarchist constitutionalising.

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), Anarchism 1914-18: Internationalism, Anti-militarism and War (Manchester University Press, 2017), Handbook of Radical Politics (Routledge, 2019) and Cultures of Violence (Routledge, 2020).

She is currently compiling the Penguin Book of Anarchism and co-authoring a book on anarchist constitutionalising with Alex Prichard (Exeter).

She has written for The ConversationStrike! MagazineThe Big IssueNovara Media and Dope

Ruth has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Ideas in Our Time and Start the Week, BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking and the How the Light Gets in Festival, 2021 and 2023.  Online interviews include Five Books on Anarchism and Russell Brand’s Under the Skin.

Ruth has been involved in programme design and curriculum development throughout her career. She was awarded 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). She was part of the Consent initiative in 2015.

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 and contributed to the Incite seminars. In 2020 she presented the anarchy night school – Five Weeks of Anarchy - at Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and in 2024 she delivered a series of lectures on anarchism for the Idler

Current Postgraduate Research Students

  • Sam Garrett: “Political subjectivity and identity politics in contemporary radical organisation’
  • William Godfrey: “Towards a materialist animal liberation”
  • Katie Shaw: "Fields, Factories and Further Education; the possibilities for anarchising England's further education system"

Ruth is a member of supervision committees at the California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, University of Guelph, Canada, University of Helsinki and University Paul Valéry, Monpellier 3 France.

Recent 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)

The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism

Publisher: Pelican

By: Ruth Kinna

Published in August 2019.

Penguin Site
book cover of Anarchic Agreements

Anarchic Agreements

Publisher: PM Press

By: Ruth Kinna, Alex Pritchard, Thomas Swann and Seeds for Change

PM Press website