The Populism Specialist Group


It is with deep sorrow that we announce the sudden passing on 24 May 2024 of our dear friend and colleague Jonathan Dean, Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds, founder of the Centre for Democratic Engagement, and a cherished member of the Populism Specialist Group community. 

Jonathan was not just a scholar known for his critical ethos, but also an approachable person known for his generosity, kindness and enthusiasm. He was particularly warm and supportive towards his students, supervisees and junior scholars in general. Jonathan was outspoken about social, economic and political injustices. He stood with and by his colleagues during the recent waves of cuts and redundancies in the UK Higher Education. He was a feminist, and was not afraid to call out those who had once inspired him when he believed they acted unethically. These rare qualities of his will be profoundly missed.

In September 2023, Jonathan was the keynote speaker at our annual workshop. He delivered a captivating presentation on the relationship between the theories of Ernesto Laclau and Stuart Hall, and the interplay between populism studies and cultural studies. His engaging and rigorous talk was a highlight of the event, showcasing his intellectual curiosity and depth of knowledge.

Jonathan completed his PhD at the University of Essex in 2007. He worked at the London School of Economics before joining the University of Leeds in 2010. His academic journey was marked by a deep commitment to exploring the intersections of gender, race, and popular culture within political practices and identities. His notable contributions include research on left-wing populism and feminism. His monograph on contemporary feminism, along with numerous articles and projects, has left an indelible mark on critical political studies. Recently, Jonathan was writing a book on the politics of bird-watching, reflecting his passion for birding and his belief that all areas of life are inherently political. 

We extend our deepest condolences to Jonathan's family, friends, colleagues and students during this difficult time. His legacy will continue to inspire and influence us for years to come.

In heartfelt remembrance,

Populism Specialist Group


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