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Professor James Shields

Professor James ShieldsHonorary Professor

Email: James dot Shields at warwick dot ac dot uk

Tel: 07913 092034


Jim Shields was appointed Honorary Professor in French Studies in 2018. He spent much of his career at Warwick before being appointed Professor of French Politics and Modern History, and Head of French, at Aston University in 2010. His research has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nuffield Foundation. His most recently funded project, as a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2017-18), was a study of the Front National in local government (‘How Extremists Govern: Lessons from France’ RF-2017-642\7). In 2007, he was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Stanley Hoffmann Prize for the best article on French politics in anglophone political studies worldwide. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2011. He has served on the AHRC Peer Review College and as consultant on France for a number of academic and professional associations. He is a regular analyst of French politics for national and international broadcast, print and online media.

Research interests

Jim Shields’ research interests lie in French politics and modern history, having initially been in late 18th- and early 19th-century French literature and thought. After early publications on aspects of history of thought in relation to Stendhal, his work has focused largely on political parties, elections and the far right in France since the Vichy regime. His publications have examined political issues and developments in different periods, including Vichy France, Poujadism, Gaullism, nationalism, the Front National and wider far right, immigration policy, anti-Semitism, constitutional issues, contemporary parties and elections.

Past teaching and student engagement

Jim Shields has taught a wide range of modules across modern French history, literature, politics and society, from pre-Revolutionary literature and political thought to contemporary political and social issues. At postgraduate level, he has supervised doctoral theses in modern French history and on aspects of politics under the Fifth Republic (most recent doctorates supervised: Muslim women’s political participation in France and francophone Belgium, awarded 2015; Vichy through the medium of political cartoons, awarded 2018). In 2005, the quality of his teaching was recognised by a Warwick Award for Teaching Excellence. Throughout his time at Warwick (1990-2009), he also served as Warden of the 600-room Tocil residential site.

Public engagement

Jim Shields has taken part in several hundred interviews, discussion programmes, debates and documentaries for British, French and international broadcast media. These include many appearances on major networks (BBC, ABC, CNN, NBC, CBC, Sky, Reuters, Bloomberg, TRT, Al Jazeera, France 24) and flagship BBC programmes such as the ‘Today Programme’ and ‘Westminster Hour’; also many appearances in major national newspapers plus overseas press (Le Monde, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek etc).

A few televised appearances (Le Pen succession; Macron election; Macron a year on; Macron in trouble - ‘gilets jaunes’; Chirac death and legacy; pensions reform; Fillon fraud trial; Castex government; Macron presidency 'reset'; regional elections with presidential stakes):

BBC World ; BBC World, BBC News, TRT World, TRT World ; France 24 News, France 24 News ; France 24 News, France 24 Debate, France 24 News ; France 24 News, France 24 News ; France 24 News ; France 24 News ; France 24 Debate ; France 24 News ; France 24 News.

For online media, see below.


MA, PhD (Glasgow), DLitt (Warwick)

Selected publications


The Extreme Right in France: From Pétain to Le Pen (Routledge, 2007; 432 pp).

The New Politics of the Far Right in France (under contract, Palgrave Macmillan).

Edited collections

Political Radicalism in France: Changing Paradigms, ed. J. Shields – with Gérard Grunberg (Paris Sciences-Po), Florence Haegel (Paris Sciences-Po), Nonna Mayer (Paris Sciences-Po), Marcos Ancelovici (McGill, Canada), Alistair Cole (Cardiff), Jocelyn Evans (Leeds) – special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society, 29 (2) 2011, 1-140.

Politics, Ethics, and the Search for a Just International Order: Symposium in Honour of Stanley Hoffmann, ed. J. Shields – with Stanley Hoffmann (Harvard), Suzanne Berger (MIT), Michael Doyle (Columbia), Peter Gourevitch (California San Diego), Robert Keohane (Princeton), Andrew Moravcsik (Princeton) – special issue of French Politics, 7 (3/4) 2009, 359-436.

Journal articles and chapters

‘Le Pen, Mélenchon, Macron: Diversifying Political Populism in France’, Populism and New Patterns of Political Competition in Western Europe, eds. D. Albertazzi and D. Vampa (Routledge, 2021), 92-111 (link).

'France in Historical Perspective', Western Europe 2021. Europa Regional Surveys of the World (Routledge, 2020), 233-42 (link).

‘Electoral Performance and Policy Choices in the Front National’, Parliamentary Affairs, 71 (3), 2018: 538–57 (link).

‘Winner Loses All: The 2015 French Regional Elections’, Regional and Federal Studies, 28 (3), 2018: 367-81 (link).

‘Departmental Elections and the Changing Landscape of French Politics’, Regional and Federal Studies, 26 (3), 2016: 395-406 (link).

‘The Front National at the Polls: Transformational Elections or the Status Quo Reaffirmed?’, French Politics, 13 (4), 2015: 415-33 (link).

‘Electoral Impact and Party System Change: The Front National since the 1970s’, France since the 1970s: History, Politics and Memory in an Age of Uncertainty, ed. E. Chabal (Bloomsbury, 2015), 41-65 (link).

‘The Front National: From Systematic Opposition to Systemic Integration?’, Modern and Contemporary France, 22 (4), 2014: 491-511 (link).

‘Marine Le Pen and the “New” FN: A Change of Style or of Substance?’, Parliamentary Affairs, 66 (1), 2013: 179-96 (link).

‘Valéry Giscard d’Estaing: The Limits of Liberalism’, The Presidents of the French Fifth Republic, eds. D.S. Bell and J. Gaffney (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 114-35 (link).

‘Radical or Not So Radical? Tactical Variation in Core Policy Formation by the Front National’, French Politics, Culture and Society, 29 (3), 2011: 78-100 (link).

‘Political Radicalism in France: Perspectives on a Protean Concept’, Introduction to special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society, 29 (3), 2011: 1-11 (link).

‘Support for Le Pen in France: Two Elections in trompe l’œil’, Politics, 30 (1), 2010: 61-69 (link).

‘The Far-Right Vote in France: From Consolidation to Collapse?’, French Politics, Culture and Society, 28 (1), 2010: 25-45 (link).

‘Stanley Hoffmann: A Political Life’, Introduction to Politics, Ethics, and the Search for a Just International Order: Symposium in Honour of Stanley Hoffmann, ed. J. Shields, special issue of French Politics, 7 (3/4), 2009: 359-67 (link).

‘The Sarkozy Effect: France’s New Presidential Dynamic’, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 9 (1), 2008: 103-12 (link).

‘Charlemagne’s Crusaders: French Collaboration in Arms, 1941-1945’, French Cultural Studies, 18 (1), 2007: 83-105 (link).

‘Political Representation in France: A Crisis of Democracy?’, Parliamentary Affairs, 59 (1), 2006: 118-37 (winner of American Political Science Association’s Stanley Hoffmann Prize 2007-09) (link).

‘An Enigma Still: Poujadism Fifty Years On’, French Politics, Culture and Society, 22 (1), 2004: 36-56 (link).

‘The Poujadist Movement: A Faux “Fascism”’, Modern and Contemporary France, 8 (1), 2000: 19-34 (link).

Online media

‘Macron’s reckoning: The European Parliament elections in France’, LSE EUROPP (May 2019)

Today's French strikes lack vital ingredients of ’68 and ’95’, France 24 (April 2018)

‘Don't write Le Pen off yet. But which one?’, Political Studies Association (February 2018)

‘Four challenges for France’s youthful president’, CNN (December 2017)

‘France’s ambiguous presidential election’, Academy of Social Sciences (May 2017)

‘Emmanuel Macron will not make “any exceptions” for Brexit Britain, warns academic’, Daily Express (May 2017)

French voters looking for change: British academic’, Tasnim News Agency (Iran) (May 2017)

The historians’ view: Can the National Front storm the Élysée Palace?’, BBC History Magazine (April 2017)

‘Why Marine “detox” Le Pen reached for the old National Front poison’, Jewish Chronicle (April 2017)

‘Terror, Republican values and a very French paradox’, Academy of Social Sciences (September 2016)

'France: Regional elections with national stakes', Diplomatic Observer (Turkey) (January 2016)

‘Why Le Pen won't be president of France’, CNN (December 2015)

‘How Jeb Bush restored French honor’, CNN (November 2015)

Jim Shields: “The EU is not at risk from Le Pen but from a lack of vision”’, To Vima (Greece) (April 2014)

‘The Front National is tipped to “win” this year’s elections in France, but it needs more than votes to claim a share of power’, LSE EUROPP (March 2014)

‘France in 2014: Another annus horribilis for Hollande?’, CNN (December 2013)

‘Legacy of the “father” of France’s modern extreme right’, CNN (June 2013)

‘France in 2013: Living on borrowed time?’, CNN (December 2012)

‘Has Marine Le Pen brought the extreme right acceptability?’, Extremis Project (October 2012)

‘France: déjà vu in the banlieues’, CNN (August 2012)

‘Is Sarkozy looking the wrong way?’, Huffington Post (March 2012)

'Political representation in France - democracy, engagement and protest', Parliamentary Affairs Podcast (January 2008)

Columns in Spanish national press
‘La fragilidad del presidente’, La Razón, 20 June 2017
‘Coser las fracturas’, La Razón, 9 May 2017
‘La insurgencia populista’, La Razón, 25 April 2017
‘Una campaña fantasma’, La Razón, 15 March 2017
‘El problema de la izquierda’, La Razón, 31 January 2017
‘La traíción de un líder en retirada’, La Razón, 11 September 2016
‘Rumbo a la presidencia’, La Razón, 31 August 2016
  • 'Macron's mid-term review', Clare College, Cambridge, 5 March 2020
  • ‘Has Marine Le Pen had her day? Reflections on how to squander political opportunity’, Political Studies Association Conference, Cardiff City Hall, 26-28 March 2018
  • ‘The radicalising of electoral competition in France’, British Academy, London, What’s Happening in Contemporary Western Politics? (Chair: Michael Crick), 25 January 2018
  • ‘Populism at the polls and the new drivers of French politics’, International research workshop on the dynamics of competition between populist challengers and mainstream parties in Europe, University of Birmingham, 22-23 January 2018
  • ‘Understanding Macron’s France’, Portcullis House Westminster (with French Ambassador S.-A. Bermann), France After the Elections (Chair: Neil Carmichael MP outgoing), 4 July 2017
  • ‘The 2017 French presidential and parliamentary elections – looking back, looking forward’, University of London in Paris, 23 May 2017
  • ‘The Le Pen dynamic’, University of Warwick, 3 May 2017
  • ‘French elections and the global far right’, University of Leeds, 26 April 2017
  • ‘Marine Le Pen: France's next president?’, University of Exeter, 28 March 2017
  • ‘French presidential elections 2017 – the view from the right’, University of Portsmouth, 1 March 2017
  • Opening address (as organising host), Conference of Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, bringing to Aston 48 speakers from UK, US, France, Belgium and Guadeloupe, 6-7 September 2016
  • 'A divided Republic? The past and future of French politics', Conference to mark publication of two books on French politics by Emile Chabal, Institut Français, Edinburgh, 4 November 2015
  • ‘The Front National in resurgence – electoral gains and prospects’, Political Studies Association Conference, Manchester, 14-16 April 2014
  • ‘Context and issues in Hollande’s first year’, French Politics in the Hollande Presidency, University of Warwick, 9 May 2013
  • ‘Where's the party? The Front National at forty’, Inaugural Lecture, Aston University, 23 April 2013
  • ‘The Front National – towards the mainstream?’, Political Studies Association Conference, Cardiff, 25-27 March 2013
  • ‘FN support in 2012 and beyond’, University of Bath, 1 February 2013
  • ‘'Left' and 'right' as identity markers in French politics’, French Politics in an Age of Uncertainty, Balliol College/Maison Française, Oxford, 15 September 2012
  • ‘Giscard and the limits of liberalism’, The French Presidency, Aston University, 6 March 2012
  • ‘The Marine Le Pen campaign’, The Presidential Elections, University of Warwick, 3 May 2012
  • ‘Front National voting in the 2012 elections’, France’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, University of Cardiff, 16 May 2012
  • ‘The impact of the far right in the 2012 electoral series’, Political Studies Association Conference, Belfast, 3-5 April 2012
  • ‘The new radical agenda in France – rhetoric and reality’, Political Studies Association Conference, London, 19-21 April 2011
  • ‘Developments of the far right in France and Europe’, Public Lecture Series Europe in Crisis?, University of Limerick, 7 April 2011
  • ‘The Sarkozy presidency – continuity or change in France?’, Political Studies Association Conference, Edinburgh, 29 March-1 April 2010
  • ‘Political radicalism in France’, American Political Science Association Conference, Toronto, 3-6 September 2009
  • ‘France and Europe – a rekindled affection?’, American Political Science Association Conference, Toronto, 3-6 September 2009
  • ‘Voting trends in France – lessons from recent elections’, University of the West of England, 13 May 2009
  • ‘The far right in the Fifth Republic at fifty – electoral defeat, ideological victory’, Political Studies Association Conference, Manchester, 7-9 April 2009
  • ‘The US, France, and the search for a just international system: Roundtable in honor of Stanley Hoffmann’, American Political Science Association Conference, Boston, 28-31 August 2008
  • ‘Franco-German military collaboration on the Eastern Front’, History Department, De Montfort University, 6 February 2008
  • ‘Insurgents against modernity – the France of the Poujadistes’, The Lost Decade: The 1950s in European History, Economics, Society and Culture, University of Cardiff, 11-13 July 2007
  • ‘The far-right factor – lessons from 2002 and 2007’, New Dimensions in Political Competition in France, University of Bath, 6 July 2007

book cover and spine

FPCS cover

FP cover