Conference to honour Essex’s ‘giant of political science’

  • Date

    Thu 10 May 18

Photo of Professor Anthony King

A conference to celebrate the life and work of the late Professor Anthony King will be held at our Colchester campus this weekend.

Inspired by Professor King’s contribution to the analysis of liberal democracy, his friends and peers will gather to share papers that explore its tension with authoritarian populism.

Topics for discussion will include populism and voting in the 2016 US Presidential Election, ‘Trumpism’, support for authoritarian populism in Europe, how liberal democracies can respond effectively to President Putin, how the liberal democratic cause can be advanced in the Middle East and the ‘top leader’ fixation in British politics.

It is intended that the papers presented will be published as an edited volume, dedicated to Professor King’s memory, in 2019.

Photo of Emeritus Professor David Sanders
"Tony was an inspiration to generations of students and staff at Essex."  
Emeritus Professor David Sanders Department of government

Conference organiser and close friend of Professor King, Emeritus Professor David Sanders, said: “Anthony King was a passionate believer in, and advocate for, liberal democracy. The papers for the conference show the enormous range of Tony’s contributions to debates about the functioning of democracy.

“The papers cover his work on overload, prime ministerial power, the role of constitutionalism and the rule of law, the relationship between leaders and voters, and, of course, the blunders of governments.

“The conference itself is intended as a celebration of Anthony King’s extraordinary contribution both to the discipline of politics and to the life of the Essex Department of Government. Tony was an inspiration to generations of students and staff at Essex. His intellectual honesty and leadership, his ability to engage in serious strategic and critical thinking, and his personal kindness will continue to be sorely missed. The conference, and the edited volume that will result from it, are dedicated to his memory.” 

Professor King, who passed away in January 2017, was one of the founding fathers of our Department of Government, having joined Essex in 1966. Hailed as ‘a giant of political science’ he was also a prolific media commentator and writer, joining David Dimbleby on numerous general election night broadcasts for the BBC.