Barret Reiter

PhD candidate in the History of Political Thought

Barret received his BA in Political Science and the History of Art from the University of Winnipeg. He then obtained his MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge, with a dissertation on “Imagination in the Political Thought of Thomas Hobbes and Gerrard Winstanley.” His current PhD topic developed out of this project and is tentatively entitled “The Politics of the Confessional Imagination from Calvin to Hobbes.”

Barret is broadly interested in the interrelationships between aesthetic and political thought, with a particular focus on the nature of the imagination in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-centuries, especially in England. His own research examines the connections between religious and philosophical writings on the imagination and the relationship of the Reformation to transformations in political thought and natural philosophy. In addition to his historical work on early-modern theology, philosophy and aesthetics, Barret also has keen interests in British and Canadian political thought, both historic and contemporary, especially the work of Charles Taylor; the history and philosophy of social science; as well as modern aesthetics, art and architecture.

POL1: The Modern State and its Alternatives

Part I, Paper 19 / POL7: History of Political Thought to c. 1700

“Theories and Methods” for the MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History

2020 | “Protestantism and the Imagination, c. 1550-1650.” Early Modern Philosophy and the Scientific Imagination Seminar (EMPHASIS), Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London

2019 | “Bacon among the Puritans: Idolatry and method in early-modern theology and natural philosophy.” Scientiae: Early Modern Knowledge, Queen’s University, Belfast

2018 | “William Perkins, the imagination in Calvinist theology and ‘inner iconoclasm’ after Yates.” Mnemonic Waves Postgraduate Symposium, Warburg Institute, London

2018 | “A ‘fiction of the mind’: Imagination and Idolatry in early-modern England.” Beyond Truth: Fiction and (Dis)information in the Early Modern World, New College, Oxford

2018 | “Idols of the Imagination: Mental Misrepresentation in the political thought of Thomas Hobbes.” London Graduate Conference in the History of Political Thought, University College London

2019 | Presenter, with Dr Angus Gowland (UCL), at Erotemata: In Conversation with the Digital Advocates of Renaissance thought 

2019 | Co-organiser, Beginners reading group in Latin political thought, University of Cambridge

2017-9 | Co-convenor, Graduate Workshop in Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of  Cambridge

2018 | Guest co-host, interview with Professor Martin Jay, Interventions: The Intellectual History Podcast (Released: 12 August 2018)

2017-8 | Co-organiser, Eleventh Annual Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge: “Aesthetics and Poetics in the History of Political Thought” (13 June 2018)


Tags & Themes


St Edmund’s College


Key publications