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Corruption Network

John Bull

John Bull and the genius of corruption (1809) British Museum. Old old man to John Bull:"What you say about Reform Jhonny is very true,—but this is not the time for it." John answers angrily: "No nor it never will be—while such a Monster as you remain in existence!!! He is a fat 'cit' with an ill-fitting wig."

Corruption is a concept/practice common to most societies across time and space and as such is an intrinsically interdisciplinary subject. Corruption is of concern to anyone interested in governance, both in the present and in the past, and therefore a key theme for political scientists and historians. But it is not merely political. It is of intrinsic interest to economists and lawyers, and also provides a key metaphor for explaining almost any kind of decay: moral, linguistic, national, natural and medical world. Corruption also provides a major theme in literature and the desire to combat corruption excites imagined Utopias as well as reforming visions and practices. The interconnections between these types of corruption have seldom been explored and corruption has a long and rich history that has yet to be comprehensively written. It is also a subject that should have a considerable ‘impact’ on contemporary policy discussions.

The interdisciplinary Corruption Network brings together colleagues from across the university who share an interest in corruption, irrespective of time and place. Our members include researchers from history, political science, law, and economics. The Network invites scholars from outside Warwick to discuss their work with us, and gives an opportunity for internal speakers, at all stages of their career, to get feedback on their research. The Network also seeks to inform members about relevant events elsewhere, publications and resources.

Next Meeting(s)

Professor Paul Heywood (University of Nottingham) will speak as part of the PAIS seminar series

Title: TBC

Date: Wed Jan 27th, 2016

Location: Room: S0.21, Social Sciences, University of Warwick

Last Meetings

Talk by Professor Rose Ackerman

May 5, 5.00 pm Wolfson Exchange (University of Warwick)

Talk by Professor Paul Heywood

27 May, details TBC

This will be a joint session with Wawick's Department of Politics and International Studies.Reading group/discussion: A Moral Economy of Africa?

3 December, Wolfson Research Exchange

The Corruption Network and the EHRC will hold a joint reading group/ discussion based around J P Olivier de Sardan's 'A Moral Economy of Africa?' Journal of Modern African Studies 37 (1) 1999, 25-52 with commentary by David Anderson, Dan Branch, Mark Philp and others. Although focused on Africa, it is hoped that the discussion will also raise more general issues about definitions of corruption, parallels with early modern states, and complexities associated with gift cultures.

The Gift Culture of early modern England

27 November, 5pm start in H3.03 (Humanities, University of Warwick)

A talk by Dr Felicity Heal (Jesus College, Oxford). Please visit Dr Felicity Heal's website.

Probity and Corruption in 18th Century Trade: a half-day workshop

28 May, 2.00-6.30 pm, Radcliffe House, University of Warwick

The aim of the workshop is to bring together people working on more analytical approaches to corruption in relation to markets and forms of exchange with those engaged in the historical study of trading organisations in the early modern period. The workshop will focus on analytic questions associated with corruption such as concerns about the character of markets, types of exchange, norms of reciprocity, and principal-agent issues about whose interest is to be served with, and, from the historical point of view, issues about conceptions of fair trading.


Sandwich lunch for speakers – 1.00pm

1.45-2.15pm Introduction: Mark Philp & Mark Knights – Markets, exchange and corruption

2.15-3.15pm: Nicholas Wilson (Yale): Organizational Politics and 'Corruption' During Late Merchant Colonialism: Some Lessons from Robert Clive's Career.


3.15pm Tea

3.30 - 4.30pm Hanna Hodacs and Felicia Gottmann, and Chris Nierstrasz – company/private trading in public companies

4.30-6.15pm Margot Finn (UCL), Perry Gauci (Lincoln College/History, Oxford), Simon Middleton (Sheffield) and James Shaw (Sheffield), Patric Winton (Uppsala)

Buffet dinner 6.30pm for all attendees

February 7 (Friday), Time: 09:30-16:00, Workshop ‘Engaging Citizens in Fighting Corruption in the European Union’. Location: IAS seminar room

Workshop organised jointly by Warwick Law School in conjunction with the Department of History and the Corruption Network of the Institute of Advance Studies, University of Warwick.

Coordinators: Professor Ralf Rogowski (academic supervision) and Andi Hoxhaj (conference organisation)

External events

The national Anti-Corruption Research Network that is co-ordinated from Oxford produces a monthly newsletter. The ACRN newsletter is quarterly and summarises the latest research, blogs, events, conferences and job opportunities in the anti-corruption world.

A shortened web version of the international ACRN newsletter (December 2013) can be found here.

Future Events:

  • Bo Rothstein, University of Gothenberg/ University of Oxford title tbc,. IAS 16 March 5-7 2016
  • Helen Marquette, University of Birmingham, title tbc., IAS 27 April 2016

We are also looking for:

a) volunteers to offer papers of their own or to lead sessions focused on a particularly stimulating article or chapter in the autumn of 2011; please let us know before the end of term if possible.
b) members of the network to send half a dozen titles of secondary literature from their discipline that they have found particularly useful or interesting. We will place these on a collaborative reading list. Please send us your titles as soon as you can.
c) suggestions for speakers to invite to talk to us.
d) suggestions for other members (from Warwick or elsewhere) to join the network.

Contact Details:

Please do contact either Mark on or Renske on for more information on future events.

If you would like to keep updated about future events, please email Marijn Nieuwenhuis

Please nominate speakers to invite or volunteer papers! Scroll down for contact details.

A list of past events can be found here

And please don't forget to send us some key texts for our shared bibliography.


A political cartoon from Harper's Weekly, January 26, 1878, depicting U.S. Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz investigating the Indian Bureau at the U.S. Department of the Interior. The original caption for the cartoon is: "The secretary of the interior investigating the indian bureau. Give him his due, and give them their dues." (Boston Public Library)