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Staff Profile

Dr Raia Prokhovnik

Dr Raia Prokhovnik
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Head of Politics and International Studies

Politics & International Studies


Raia Prokhovnik joined the Open University in 2000, after six years teaching and research at Royal Holloway, University of London, and at the University of Southampton. Her first degree was in political science and history from the University of New South Wales, Australia (1974), and her MSc and PhD, 'Rhetoric and Philosophy in Hobbes's Leviathan', are from the London School of Economics (1976 and 1980).

Course development and teaching

Dr Prokhovnik chairs the OU interdisciplinary politics module Living political ideas (DD306), and has also been responsible for one of the five 'Rooms', on 'The Body in Politics'. The course enables students to interact with primary texts in political theory and has a highly innovative multi-media activity-driven delivery format. She is also involved in the production of the new second level Politics course, and is chairing a block for it on political concepts. Previously, she has worked with colleagues in the Department of Politics & International Studies on other courses, including Power, dissent, equality: understanding contemporary politics (DD203), and edited one of the course books, Making Policy, Shaping Lives (Edinburgh University Press 2005).

Research interests

Dr Prokhovnik has published widely in her three main research areas: feminist political theory, the concept of sovereignty, and early modern political thought. The meaning of citizenship is a theme which has run across all three areas. Recent work includes 'Embodied Relationality and Caring After Death', with Jane Ribbens McCarthy, Body & Society 2013 First Online, 'From Sovereignty in Australia to Australian Sovereignty', Political Studies 2013 Early View, Dialogues with Contemporary Political Theorists (Palgrave Macmillan 2012), co-edited with Gary Browning and Maria Dimova-Cookson; International Political Theory After Hobbes: Analysis, Interpretation and Orientation (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), co-edited with Gabriella Slomp; '"Men are not born fit for citizenship, but must be made so": Spinoza and citizenship', Citizenship Studies 2009; 'Political leadership and sovereignty', in J Femia, A Korosenyi and G Slomp eds. Political Leadership in Liberal and Democratic Theory (Imprint Academic, 2009); Sovereignty: History and Theory (Imprint Academic, 2008); Sovereignties: Contemporary Theory and Practice (Palgrave Macmillan 2007); 'Rationality', in G Blakeley and V Bryson eds. The Impact of Feminism on Political Concepts and Debates (Manchester University Press, 2007); The Politics of Protection: Sites of Insecurity and Political Agency (Routledge 2006), co-edited with J Huysmans and A Dobson; 'Hobbes's Artifice as Social Construction', Hobbes Studies 2005; Spinoza and Republicanism (Palgrave Macmillan 2004); Rational Woman: A Feminist Critique of Dichotomy (2nd edition, Manchester University Press, 2002); and 'Public and Private Citizenship: From Gender Invisibility to Feminist Inclusiveness', Feminist Review 1998.

Raia Prokhovnik's latest monographs reconceptualise sovereignty in the light of contemporary theory and practice, and analyse some of the multiplicity of conceptions of sovereignty available in the history of the concept. Current research projects extend her work on sovereignty to analyse sovereignty in Australia, and to explore the embodied sovereignty of indigenous peoples in Australia; and investigate the idea of relational embodiment and caring after death.

Dr Prokhovnik was for ten years a founding editor and submissions editor for the international journal Contemporary Political Theory, and is now on the editorial board of the journal. Between 2009 and 2011 she was the director of the Bodies Research Programme within the Centre for Citizenship, Identity and Governance (CCIG) at The Open University, overseeing 15 individual projects within the programme.

PhD supervision

Dr Prokhovnik welcomes applications to supervise PhD students in the areas of feminist political theory, the history of political thought, political theory and practice, sovereignty, and citizenship.  She currently supervises nine PhD students on the topics including: 'The Politics of How Law Works in War: The Case of the Israeli Military International Law Department', 'Genealogies of Multiculturalism: Tracing British Strategies of Difference Management', 'Rethinking Home in Feminist Theory and Politics', 'Modernism and Women's Agency in Interwar Britain', 'John Locke and the British Constitution's Central Designation of Parliamentary Sovereignty', 'Internal Outsiders: How Roma Challenge the Conception of Citizenship', 'Migrant Self-organising and Alternative Language Learning in Europe'.

PhD completions

Mihaela Neascu (2008), Rebecca Trimnell (2007), Claudia Aradau (2005), Kate McHale (1996).

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Last updated: 7 October 2013