Staff & Research Students

Tony Black

Emeritus Professor in Politics



Antony Black is emeritus professor in the History of Political Thought. He has published a comparative study of the political thought of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, India, Israel, China, Greece and Rome (2009). He has also made a comparative study of the political thought in the West and in the Muslim-ruled world from their origins to the present (2008). Before that he wrote a complete history of Islamic political thought (2001). Previously, he worked on medieval and early modern European political thought, and on theories of community.

Teaching & Research


First year undergraduate lectures on political ideas.


Professor Black is pioneering a comparative approach to political thought in the world today with special reference to the West, Islam and China.

Suggested Areas for Postgraduate Supervision

  • Comparative political thought (comparing cultures in a historical context)
  • The history of political thought in medieval and early modern Europe
  • Islamic political thought



Selected books

The History of Islamic Political Thought from the Prophet to the Present, 2nd edn (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011).

A World History of Ancient Political Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).

The West and Islam: Religion and Political Thought in World History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

Church, State and Community: Historical and Comparative Perspective (Ashgate Variorum, 2003).

The History of Islamic Political Thought from the Prophet to the Present  (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press; London: Routledge, 2001).

Guild and State: European Political Thought from the Twelfth Century to the Present (Transaction Press, 2002)
(previously published as Guilds and Civil Society in European Political Thought from the Twelfth Century to the Present) (London: Methuen, 1983; Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984).

Political Thought in Europe, 1250-1450 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Monarchy and Community: Political Ideas in the Later Conciliar Controversy, 1430-1450, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: 3rd Series, No.2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970).

State, Community and Human Desire: a Group-centred Account of Political Values (London: Wheatsheaf; New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988).

Community in Historical Perspective: a translation of selections from Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht (The German Law of Fellowship) by Otto von Gierke, trans. by Mary Fischer, ed. by Antony Black (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1990).

Selected articles/chapters

'Individuals, Groups and States: a Comparative Overview' in The Individual in Theory & Practice: The Origins of the Modern State in Europe, 13th-18th Centuries, ed. by Janet Coleman, The European Science Foundation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. 329-40.

'Classical Islam and Medieval Europe: a Comparison of Political Philosophies and Cultures', Political Studies, 41 (1993), 58-69

'Nation and Community in the International Order', Review of International Studies, 19 (1993), 81-89

'Christianity and Republicanism from St. Cyprian to Rousseau', American Political Science Review, 91 (1997), 647-56

'Communal Democracy and its History', Political Studies, 45 (1997), 5-20

'Decolonization of Concepts', Journal of Early Modern History: Contacts, Comparisons, Contrasts, 1 (1997), 55-69

'St Thomas Aquinas: the State and Morality' in Political Thought from Plato to NATO , ed. by Brian Redhead (London: Ariel/BBC, 1984), pp. 61-72.

'The Conciliar Movement' and 'The Individual and Society' in The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c.350-c.1450, ed. by J.H.Burns (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), ch.17 part II, pp. 573-587; ch.18, pp. 588-606.