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Helen McCabe

Assistant Professor in Political Theory, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

I joined Nottingham in September 2017. My D.Phil thesis looked at J.S. Mill's surprising claim to be a socialist: I completed it in 2010. Since then, I have been teaching analytical political theory and the history of political thought at the University of Oxford (2010-2013) and the University of Warwick (2013-2017).

Expertise Summary

My research has mainly looked at the political philosophy of John Stuart Mill, especially his connections to pre-Marxist socialism (particularly that of Robert Owen, Charles Fourier, Victor Considerant, Henri Saint-Simon and Louis Blanc). I am increasingly interested in the nature of his intellectual relationship with Harriet Taylor Mill (whom he credited as his co-author), and in her independent status as a political philosopher.

Teaching Summary

I currently teach 'Political Thought: Ancient to Modern'.

In Semester 1, my Consultation and Feedback hours will be Wednesdays, 1:15-2:15 and Thursdays 12:30-1:30.

Research Summary

I am currently working on a book manuscript (working title, John Stuart Mill: Socialist) for which I am in discussions with Princeton University Press. I am also working on Mill and Taylor-Mill's… read more

Recent Publications

  • HELEN MCCABE, 2018. John Stuart Mill and Fourierism: ‘Association’, ‘Friendly Rivalry’ and Distributive Justice. Global Intellectual History. (In Press.)
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2017. “Good Housekeeping”? Re-Assessing John Stuart Mill’s Position on the Gendered Division of Labour History of Political Thought. (In Press.)
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2016. Harriet Taylor Mill. In: CHRIS MACLEOD and DALE MILLER, eds., A Companion to Mill Wiley-Blackwell. 112-125
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2015. John Stuart Mill, Utility and the Family: Attacking ‘the Citadel of the Enemy’ Revue Internationale de Philosophie/International Review of Philosophy. 272(2), 225-235

Current Research

I am currently working on a book manuscript (working title, John Stuart Mill: Socialist) for which I am in discussions with Princeton University Press. I am also working on Mill and Taylor-Mill's co-authoring relationship, and am presenting an initial paper on this ("Corresponding Views") at the University of Lancaster on October 17th. I hope to do more work on Harriet Taylor Mill as an independent thinker; work out a proper rubric for determining how we should think of Mill's body of work as 'his', 'hers' or 'theirs' and what this would mean for his, and her, status as a thinker in the 'canon' of Western political theory; and link this to other work being done on (particularly female) collaboration and co-authorship.

Past Research

My D.Phil thesis looked at Mill's somewhat surprising assertion of being 'under the general designation of Socialist'. I considered this in its historical context (particularly of 'utopian' socialism such as that of Robert Owen and his followers, Henri Saint-Simon and his followers the Saint-Simonians); Charles Fourier and Victor Consideration; and Louis Blanc, Philipe Buchez and other cooperative socialists in France) and found it to be a plausible claim. Mill's socialism is akin, but not identical to, many of these 'utopian' socialists. I also considered his socialism in a more conceptual fashion (particularly given John Rawls' claim that Mill was a supporter of 'property-owning democracy' rather than 'liberal socialism') and found that Mill's commitments to the free development of individuality; equality; social harmony; progress and general utility make him plausible a 'liberal socialist'.

Since completing my D.Phil I have been working on Mill's feminism and how his view of distributive justice and the 'ideal' society can help us unravel some of his oft-criticised statements regarding 'ideal' marriage in 'The Subjection of Women'. I have also done further work on his socialism, particularly focusing on his relationship with Fourierism, an over-looked element of his socialism, and on his concept of the 'ideal' as the North Star by which we ought to navigate current social reform.

Future Research

I am very interested in Mill's colonialism, an unexplored area of his life with (one imagines) important impact on his work. I hope in a future project to consider Mill's theorisation of colonialism, and his attitude towards colonialism in different periods of history and different places (e.g. the Ancient Greece; India; Ireland; Jamaica; Australia, Canada and New Zealand etc.).

  • HELEN MCCABE, 2018. John Stuart Mill and Fourierism: ‘Association’, ‘Friendly Rivalry’ and Distributive Justice. Global Intellectual History. (In Press.)
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2017. “Good Housekeeping”? Re-Assessing John Stuart Mill’s Position on the Gendered Division of Labour History of Political Thought. (In Press.)
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2016. Harriet Taylor Mill. In: CHRIS MACLEOD and DALE MILLER, eds., A Companion to Mill Wiley-Blackwell. 112-125
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2015. John Stuart Mill, Utility and the Family: Attacking ‘the Citadel of the Enemy’ Revue Internationale de Philosophie/International Review of Philosophy. 272(2), 225-235
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2015. JOHN STUART MILL’S ANALYSIS OF CAPITALISM AND THE ROAD TO SOCIALISM. In: CASEY HARRISON, ed., A New Social Question : Capitalism, Socialism and Utopia. Cambridge Scholars. 8-22
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2014. John Stuart Mill's Philosophy of Persuasion Informal Logic. 34(1), 38-61
  • HELEN MCCABE, 2012. Mill and Socialism: A Reply to Capaldi The Tocqueville Review. 33(1), 145-164

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