Researchers at UCD


Graham Finlay


School of Politics & International Relations
G301 Newman
School of Politics and International Relations
University College Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716 8345


Graham Finlay (Ph.D. Johns Hopkins, 2002) has been a Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin since 2004. Before that, he taught in the Department of Philosophy of Trinity College Dublin from 2002-2004. He has also taught, in various capacities, at University College Cork, the University of Calgary, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the Johns Hopkins University. In 2009-2010, he was a Member of the School of Social Sciences of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, working on a project on 'Education for Cosmopolitan Citizenship'.
His research interests include the history of political thought, especially John Stuart Mill, consequentialist thought, citizenship and development education, the theory and politics of human rights (especially migrants' rights) and various topics in international justice, including migration and development.

He is currently Principal Investigator for UCD's role in two large European Commission funded projects:
FP7 FRAME (Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies) which examines how the human rights policies of the European Union might be made more coherent in their role promoting human rights worldwide. 

FP7 bEUcitizen (Barriers to European Union Citizenship) which focuses on the barriers to enjoyment of EU citizenship that face both EU citizens and non-citizens. 

He also contributes to UCD's Horizon 2020 GLOBUS project. 

He frequently appears on Irish radio on a variety of topics related to his research, as well as general topics in politics, history and philosophy.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2010.
Title: Seed Funding Grant for 'Cosmopolitan Citizenship Education'
Year: 2009.
Title: Member, School of Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Year: 2007.
Title: Seed Funding Grant for Conference on 'Justice and Borders' (with Adina Preda)
Year: 2005.
Title: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, The Huntington Library, Pasadena
Year: 1997.
Title: Leon Gilbert Barnhart Memorial Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University
Year: 1997.
Title: Dean's Teaching Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University
Year: 1993.
Title: Fellowship, Program in Social Theory and Historical Inquiry, Charles S. Singleton Center(Villa Spelman), Florence, Italy, Johns Hopkins University

Conference Contributions

Graham Finlay and Heidi Riley (2016) [Conference Organising Committee Chairperson], Agents of Coherence in EU Human Rights Policies, Dublin , 13-SEP-16 - 13-SEP-16.
Graham Finlay; (2006) A major international conference held at University College Dublin, June 28-July 1. [Conference Organising Committee Member], Association of Legal and Social Philosophy 2006: 'Social Justice in Practice', Dublin , 28-JUN-06 - 01-JUL-06.


Committee : Member, Board of Management, Centre for Humanitarian Action, 2014-present
Committee : Animal Research Ethics Committee
Committee : College of Human Sciences Teaching and Learning Committee
Committee : Coordinator, MA in Politics, Political Theory, 2008-2009
Committee : Head, Teaching and Learning Committee, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin
Committee : Exams Co-ordinator, First Year Convener, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, 2004-2006
Committee : Member, Communication, Development and Alumni Relations Committee, Faculty of Human Sciences, University College Dublin 2005-2006
Committee : Research Associate, Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin, 2002-present
Committee : Deputy Warden, Trinity Hall, Trinity College Dublin, 2003-2004
Committee : Junior Sophister Year Convener, Department of Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, 2002-2004


Year 1989 Institution: McGill University, PQ, Canada
Qualification: BA Subject:
Year 2002 Institution: John Hopkins Uni, Maryland
Qualification: PhD Subject:
Year 1993 Institution: John Hopkins Uni, Maryland
Qualification: MA Subject:




Client: European Commission in Ireland

Outreach Activities

Chair, Board of Management, Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal, Inchicore, Dublin 8
Member, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-NGO Standing Committee on Human Rights
Radio: Newstalk106-108, 'Moral Philosopher', weekly slot on 'Moncrieff', 2003-2006, then every few weeks to 2009, Weekly 'History slot', November, 2010 - 2016,  frequent appearances on 'Moncrieff', 'Today with Sean O'Rourke', appearances on RTE1 'The John Murray Show', 'Today with Pat Kenny',  'Down to Business', TodayFM, 'The Sunday Supplement', Radio Kerry, Newstalk106-108, 'The Wide Angle', 'Talking Point', 'Davenport After Dark', 'The Sunday Show', 'Talking History', 'Newstalk Breakfast', East Coast FM, Radio France 24, BBC Radio Foyle

I frequently discuss historical, philosophical and political issues with primary students in Inchicore. 
Television: appearances on RTE2, ¿The Big Bite', TV3 News, RTE Prime Time US Election Coverage 2012, RTE1 'Morning Edition'



Book Chapters

Graham Finlay (2015) 'The Philosophical Development of Human Rights' In: Suzanne Egan (eds). International Human Rights: Perspectives from Ireland. Haywards Heath, UK: Bloomsbury. , pp.11-23 Available Online [Details]
Graham Finlay (2016) ''Mill on Education and Schooling'' In: Christopher Macleod and Dale E. Miller (eds). The Blackwell Companion to John Stuart Mill. Oxford: Blackwell. [Details]
Graham Finlay and J.M. Mancini (2015) ''Her Life Within the Home': The Construction of Gender and Female Migrant Workers in the Republic of Ireland' In: Zahra Mehgani (eds). Migrant Women Workers: Ethical, Political and Legal Problems. New York: Routledge. [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2011) 'Madonna's Adoptions: Celebrity Activism, Justice and Civil Society in the Global South' In: A. Huliaras, L. Tsaliki and C.A. Frangonikolopoulos (eds). Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics. Bristol: Intellect Publishers. , pp.193-210 [Details]
Graham Finlay and Vusi Gumede; (2011) 'A Global Civics Syllabus for 2011-2012: Introduction to Concepts and Theories' In: Hakan Altinay (eds). Global Civics: Responsibilities and Rights in an Interdependent World. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. , pp.107-134 [Details]
JoAnne Mancini and Graham Finlay; (2009) '"Citizenship Matters": Lessons from the Irish Citizenship Referendum' In: David G. Gutiérrez and Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo (eds). Nation and Migration: Past and Future. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2009) 'John Stuart Mill and Ireland' In: Séamas Ó Síocháin (eds). Nineteenth Century Social Thought on Ireland. Dublin: University College Dublin Press. [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2008) 'Comprehensive Liberalism and Civic Education in the Republic of Ireland' In: Graham Finlay; (eds). Recognition, Equality and Democracy: Theoretical Perspectives on Irish Politics. London: Routledge. [Details]
G. Finlay; (2007) 'Power and Development: John Stuart Mill and Edmund Burke on Empire' In: Nalini Persram (eds). Postcolonialism and Political Theory. Lanham, Maryland, USA: Lexington Books. [Details]
G. Finlay; (2003) 'John Stuart Mill as a Theorist of Toleration' In: Dario Castiglione and Catriona McKinnon (eds). Toleration, Neutrality and Democracy. *: Kluwer Academic Publishers. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Graham Finlay and Lisa Ginsborg (2017) '¿Coherence Versus Coherence: Normative Versus Structural and Interest-Based Coherence¿'. European Yearbook on Human Rights, . [Details]
Graham Finlay (2011) '¿Democracy, Agency and the Priority of Liberty: A Response to Gillian Brock¿s Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Account¿'. Astrolabio. Revista internacional de filosofía, . [Details]
JoAnne Mancini and Graham Finlay; (2008) '"Citizenship Matters": Lessons from the Irish Citizenship Referendum'. American Quarterly, 60 (3):575-599. [Details]
G. Finlay; (2007) 'Comprehensive Liberalism and Civic Education in the Republic of Ireland'. Irish Political Studies, 22 (4):473-493. [Details]
G. Finlay; (2006) 'Popular development, moral justification and development education'. Policy and Practice, 1 (3). [Details]
G. Finlay; (2003) 'Review, K.C. O'Rourke, John Stuart Mill on Freedom of Expression'. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 11 (1). [Details]
G. Finlay; (2002) 'John Stuart Mill on the Uses of Diversity'. Utilitas, 14 (2). [Details]

Conference Publications

Graham Finlay (2015) 'Crisis and Migration: a philosophical perspective' When the Going Gets Tough: Human Rights in Times of Economic Hardship [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2011) Toleration and Development PSAI Political Theory Group Workshop on Toleration [Details]
JoAnne Mancini and Graham Finlay; (2007) 'Citizenship Matters': Lessons from the Irish Citizenship Referendum Development's Futures [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2007) Invited Contributor to Panel on 'Civic Education' PSAI Annual Conference [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2006) Commentator for papers by Professor Paddy Hillyard and Professor Colm Campbell `Human Rights and Security: Lessons from the Past for the Future' [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2006) 'Over-Romanticising Mill' John Stuart Mill Bicentennial Conference [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2006) 'Toleration and Development' 'Linking the Global and the Local: Education for Development in a Globalising World' [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2005) 'Comprehensive Liberalism and Education for Citizenship' 'Creating Citizens' [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2005) 'John Stuart Mill and Ireland' ‘Nineteenth Century Social Thought and Ireland’ [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2005) ¿Consequentialism After 9/11¿ Colloquium on Justice, Security and Rights [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2005) ¿Toleration and Development¿ Manchester Workshops in Political Theory [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2005) ¿Political Utilitarianism: Mill on Principles, Institutions and Political Action¿ Political Studies Association Annual Meetings [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2004) 'Cosmopolitanism and Empire: John Stuart Mill on the Ethics of Development' 'Political Concepts Beyond the Nation-State' [Details]
Graham Finlay; (2004) 'Natural Law and Empire: Burke vs. Mill' Ninth Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas [Details]

Published Reports

Tamara Lewis, Adina Portaru (Raducanu), Ricki Schoen, Karen Murphy, TJ McIntyre, and Graham Finlay (As Principal Investigator) (2015) 8.2 EU and Member State Competences in Human Rights. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium. Available Online [Details]
Lisa Ginsborg, Wolfgang Benedek, Graham Finlay (As Principal Investigator), Veronika Haász, Isabella Meier, Klaus Starl, Maddalena Vivona, Stuart Wallace (2016) 8.3 Policymakers' Experiences Regarding Coherence in the European Union Human Rights Context. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium. Available Online [Details]
Graham Finlay (2016) 'Economic and Social Rights and Integration: the case of low-paid third-country migrant workers in Ireland'. European Commission, Brussels, Belgium. Available Online [Details]
Tamara Lewis with Wolfgang Benedek, Anna Müller-Funk and Graham Finlay (2014) (As Principal Investigator)8.1 Report on coherence of human rights policymaking in EU Institutions and other EU agencies and bodies. FP7 FRAME, Leuven. [Details]
Graham Finlay (2014) Overview of Principles of Eligibility for access to welfare, the territory of the state and citizenship in Ireland. bEUcitizen, Utrecht. [Details]

Website article

Graham Finlay (2015) As twitter campaigns for a yes vote, new media stands at a crossroads. Website article [Details]
Graham Finlay (2014) ¿Outside the European Union Inside the European Union: the case of Direct Provision in Ireland¿. Website article [Details]
Graham Finlay (2014) ¿More effective but at what cost?¿: the New European Commission and Human Rights. Website article [Details]


Research Interests

Human rights theory (especially the rights of migrants)
International justice (especially development theory and migration)
Citizenship, development and human rights education
History of political thought (especially John Stuart Mill and nineteenth century political thought)
Consequentialist theory

Research Projects

Sponsor : HORIZON 2020
Title : Reconsidering European Contributions to Global Justice (GLOBUS)
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-15 / 30-SEP-19
Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : Citizenship at the margins: The case of migrant activism
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-16 / 30-SEP-18
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : school account
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-16 / 30-APR-19
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Coherence in EU human rights policy: structures, policies and political interests
Start Date / End Date : 01-APR-15 / 31-MAR-17
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Education for Cosmopolitan Citizenship
Start Date / End Date : 17-MAY-10 / 16-NOV-11
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : State Security and Religious Freedom: Explaining Recent Changes in the European Union
Start Date / End Date : 17-MAY-10 / 16-NOV-11
Sponsor : Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)
Title : Economic Rights in the Making of the Irish Constitution 1922-2002
Start Date / End Date : 01-OCT-11 / 30-SEP-12
Sponsor : EC Framework (FP7)
Title : Fostering Human Rights Among European (external and internal) Policies (FRAME)
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-13 / 30-APR-17
Sponsor : EC Framework (FP7)
Title : FP7 bEUcitizen
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-13 / 30-APR-17

Recent Postgraduates

Postgraduate Teaching and Supervision
Supervised many MA and MSc students.
Second Reader on several Ph.D. theses, Examiner of Ph.D. theses, School of Social Justice, UCD and School of Politics and International Relations, member of many doctoral studies panels.
Recent Completed Ph.D. Students: 
Thomas Murray, 'The Politics of Economic Rights in Ireland: 1922-2008' 
(With Professor Daniel Thomas) Karen Murphy, 'State Security and Religious Freedom: Explaining Recent Changes in the European Union'


Current Postgraduate Students

Xiaodong Li, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor
Tarcisio Amorim, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)   -   Thesis Supervisor


Teaching Philosophy

Political Theory and democratic deliberation alike require us to treat education as a Deweyan common task. In my experience, this involves listening as much as talking.

Enhancement of Teaching

I teach at all levels, from large First Year modules to Ph.D. field modules. This wide variety of students, with very different levels of background, poses challenges to getting the kind of participation I associate with critical thinking. I also teach political theory, which is a subject that is not, for the most part, taught in secondary school in Ireland, or is taught, in Civil, Social and Political Education, in an uncritical manner. The challenges of learning an unfamiliar subject and a potentially difficult one have appeared in my student feedback. In response, I have made the materials more accessible and inclusive, and have taken particular care to focus more on the application of abstract concepts and case studies. Some of my co-teachers have observed my teaching and they have suggested techniques, like more visual material, that have worked for them. I have incorporated these changes into my teaching. On the basis of my experience and reflection on teaching critical thinking, I have been asked to contribute to the Political Studies Association of Ireland's discussion of civic education and I have made a submission to the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment on the new 'Politics and Society' that has led to changes in the new subject's curriculum.

Review and Enhancement of Curriculum

I have increasingly designed my modules so that applications of political thought and case studies constitute an important part of the syllabus. Almost all my modules have connections to communities of activists and policy issues in the wider society. I constantly try to maintain this connection by involving my students in events outside of class. One example was having undergraduate students participate in a one day workshop on 'Global Civics', coordinated by a visiting Fellow from the Brookings Institution. Another is having students in my postgraduate Theory of Human Rights module advocate on behalf of human rights defenders who are candidates for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, in an event hosted by the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland. As Head of Teaching and Learning for the School of Politics and International Relations, 2008-2009 and 2010-2012, I oversaw extensive revision of our curriculum, working with colleagues and our Head of School. These changes included bringing assessment more in line with learning outcomes and changes in subject matter to meet student demand.

Developing as a Teacher

In 2009-2010, I was a member of the Dewey seminar in the School of Social Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. This was an intensive seminar that focused on educational innovation, educational policy and democracy. Through it I met key figures from American education and pedagogical experts from around the world. I learned alot about what works and what does not in educational practice and I try to incorporate it into my own teaching. I have especially focused on what encourages critical thinking skills among students and the effects of this on all students' subjects, not just Politics or Philosophy. As module coordinator, I have supervised and provided feedback to the teaching of several Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows.

Innovation & Leadership

I have a record of innovation and leadership at School, College, University and International levels. I have published two articles on teaching the subjects that are the basis of my research.