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Dr Richard Mole
16 Taviton Street
Tel: 020 7679 8809
Fax: 020 7679 8777
  • Senior Lecturer

Richard studied German and Russian at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and International Relations at the University of Cambridge, where he also worked at the University's Baltic States Research Unit. After four years working for Credit Suisse in London and Zurich, he began his doctoral studies in 1997 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His PhD thesis examined the relationship between identity and foreign policy in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. After completing his PhD, he was a Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, before taking up a two-year Andrew W. Mellon Research Fellowship at UCL. He joined SSEES in 2004 as Lecturer in the Politics of Central Europe and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology in 2010. Since 2017 he has been the SSEES Deputy Director and Head of Research.

He is External Examiner for the undergraduate programme in Central and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow and for the postgraduate programmes in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford. Together with his colleague, Christopher Gerry, he set up the International MA in Economy, State and Society (IMESS), which was recognised by the EU Erasmus Mundus Programme in 2006, making UCL the first Russell Group university to have received such recognition. He was IMESS Programme Director from 2009-11 and is currently IMESS Director.

In 2007 he was made a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and in 2009 he was awarded a Provost's Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.

Research Summary

Richard Mole's research focuses the relationship between identity and power, with particular reference to nationalism, sexualities, migration and diaspora. His research is explicitly interdisciplinary, crossing the boundaries of Sociology, International Relations, Social Psychology and Socio-Linguistics. He has a strong theoretical interest in discourse - particularly, the post-structuralist discourse theories of Laclau and Mouffe - and a regional interest in Russia and Poland and increasingly on Brazil and other Latin American societies. 

His most recent project examines the intersections between migration and sexuality. He first explored this relationship as part of a large-scale collaborative project on the Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles of London’s East Europeans between SSEES and the UCL Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research. The project, which received funding of £400,000 from the UK Medical Research Council, comprised a survey of over 2,500 East European migrants and 50 in-depth interviews and provided invaluable insights into the sexual behaviour and attitudes of these new communities. 

Building on the insights into the experiences of LGBT migrants gained from the above project, he is completing a project on Polish, Russian and Brazilian LGBT Migrants in London and Berlin, which seeks to explore the extent to which LGBT migrants engage with their ethno-national diasporas in a bid to gain social, economic and psychological support and, if this is lacking, whether LGBT migrants develop quasi-diasporic networks of their own. He completed the first year of the project as a Visiting Fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin, followed by three months at the Free University of Berlin, both funded by an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. 

He is currently Principal Investigator of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2017) 'Delayed Transformational Fatigue in Central and Eastern Europe: Responding to the Rise of Populism' (EUR 3,500,000) and Co-Investigator of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (H2020-SC6- GOVERNANCE-2018) 'Populist rebellion against modernity in 21st-century Eastern Europe: neo-traditionalism and neo-feudalism’ (EUR 3,000,000).

His research has found expression is his monograph The Baltic States from the Soviet Union to the European Union: Identity, Discourse and Power in the Post-Communist Transition of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, his edited volume on Discursive Constructions of Identity in European Politics and in articles and reviews published in Slavic Review, East European Politics and Societies, Ethnicity and Health, Nations and Nationalism, European Journal of Social Psychology, Slavonic and East European Review, Sexualities, Journal of Baltic Studies and Sexually Transmitted Infections. 

Teaching Summary

Courses taught

  • Nations, Identity and Power in Central and Eastern Europe 
  • Sexuality and Society in Russian and Eastern Europe 
  • Political Sociology 
  • Gender, Society and Representation 

He is currently supervising PhD students working on the following research projects:

  • Diego Garcia Rodriguez: 'Who are the Queer Muslims? An Exploration of Queer Religious Empowerment in Indonesia' (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Carlos Gomez del Tronco: 'How the fear of 'refugees' and Islamophobia stole the Czech political agenda (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Scholarship)
  • Aydan Greatrick: 'Queer Identities in Conflict: Responses to and Experiences of Sexual Minority Refugees from Syria in Lebanon and Germany' (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Rasa Kamarauskaite: ‘Body and space among Lithuanian sexual minorities’
  • Nikolay Nikolov: ‘A concrete life: a history of the panel housing complex in the former Soviet bloc’ (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Andrea Peinhopf: ‘States of uncertainty: Soviet identity and statehood in the secessions of Abkhazia and Transnistria’ (ESRC Scholarship)
  • Dzmitry Suslau: ‘Constructing urban narratives: public art and the gendering of urban space in Vilnius, Minsk and Kaliningrad’ (SSEES Foundation Scholarship)

He has supervised/co-supervised the following PhDs to completion:

  • Dr Oliwia Berdak: ‘I exist, I belong, I contribute: the self and the collective in Croatian national discourse’ (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship, Now: Senior Analyst, Forrester)
  • Dr Valentina Burrai: ‘Towards a symmetrical minority citizenship: group equality in Croatia, 1990-2007’ (Now: Senior Research Manager, Wood Mackenzie)
  • Dr Olga Cara: ‘Acculturation strategies and ethno-national identification: a study of adolescents in Russian- language schools in Riga’ (ESRC Scholarship. Now: Senior Research Officer, UCL Institute of Education)
  • Dr Piotr Godzisz: ‘Laws in action or action without laws? Understanding the legal and policy responses to hate crimes based on sexual orientation in Poland’ (Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship. Now: Researcher at Lambda Warsaw)
  • Dr Julia Halej: ‘Other whites, white others: East European migrants and the boundaries of whiteness’ (Now: Senior Evaluation and Research Consultant at Coffey International Development)
  • Dr Thomas Hoctor: ‘Making a model: UK policy networks and the Nordic model’ (AHRC scholarship. Now: Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire)

01-OCT-2010 Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology SSEES UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2004 – 30-SEP-2010 Lecturer in the Politics of Central Europe SSEES UCL, United Kingdom
01-OCT-2003 – 30-SEP-2005 Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Research Fellow SSEES UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2003 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – International Relations London School of Economics and Political Science
1992 M.Phil Master of Philosophy – International Relations University of Cambridge
1991 BA Hons Bachelor of Arts (Honours) – German and Russian Heriot-Watt University
03-05 CLTHE_1 Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE Part 1 – Academic studies in Higher Education University College London
03-05 CLTHE_2 Certificate in Learning and Teaching in HE Part 2 – Academic studies in Higher Education University College London
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