Jonathan Leader Maynard – B.A. (London), M.Phil. (Oxon)

Rank-Manning Junior Research Fellow in Social Sciences, New College, University of Oxford


About Me

My primary current research is on the ideological foundations of ‘atrocities’ – the many horrific forms of mass violence targeted against civilians, including but not limited to genocide. My work aims to produce a general cross-case account of the role of ideology in atrocities, informed by the latest methods and research on both phenomena. I draw on a range of disciplines in producing this theory, including genocide studies, International Relations, political theory, political sociology, intellectual history, social psychology and social epistemology. My theory is substantiated in my doctoral thesis through case studies of the Nazi Holocaust, Stalinist violence in the Soviet Union, Allied aerial bombing in World War Two, and a number of recent atrocities. I ultimately intend to publish this research as a major monograph – Ideologies and Mass Violence: The Justificatory Mechanics of Deadly Atrocities, which will detail not only my general theory of the role of ideology in atrocities, but also the implications this theory has for international atrocity/genocide prevention efforts. I have secondary research interests in a number of areas related to this project: including philosophical accounts of evil, international normative theory, and the sociology of knowledge.


I currently teach Oxford undergraduate students in the following PPE papers: Theory of Politics, International Relations, International Relations in the Era of the Cold War, and Sociological Theory.


I have a great interest in communicating my research to non-specialist and non-academic audiences who desire to understand genocide and other forms of horrific violence. Misspent hours of my undergraduate and masters degrees as a competitive debater have left me with a general interest in presentations and public speaking, as well as enduring links to debating itself. I will serve as the Chief Adjudicator of the World Universities Debating Championship in Malaysia in 2015.


Contact Details

I can be contacted at jonathan.leadermaynard [at] (forgive the anti-spam presentation of this address).

You can also write to me at Jonathan Leader Maynard, New College, Holywell Street, Oxford, OX1 3BN.

My doctoral supervisor at Oxford is Dr. Elizabeth Frazer.


Curriculum Vitae


BA (First Class Honours), War Studies and History, King’s College London (2008)

M.Phil. (Distinction), Politics, University of Oxford (2010)


Academic Career

Non-Stipendiary Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford (2011-2013)

Rank-Manning Junior Research Fellow in Social Sciences, New College, University of Oxford (October 2013 – Present)




-         “A Map of the Field of Ideological Analysis,” Journal of Political Ideologies 18/3 (2013): 299-327.

-         “A Complex Systems Approach to the Study of Ideology: Cognitive-Affective Structures and the Dynamics of Belief Systems” (co-authored with Thomas Homer-Dixon, Matto Mildenberger, Manjana Milkoreit, Steven J. Mock, Stephen Quilley, Tobias Schröder and Paul Thagard), Journal of Social and Political Psychology 1/1 (2013): 337-363.

-         “Rethinking the Role of Ideology in Mass Atrocities,” Terrorism and Political Violence 26 (2014).

-         “Ideology and the Justification of Atrocities,” in Jennifer Welsh & Serena Sharma (eds.), Operationalizing the Responsibility to Prevent (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) [Forthcoming]

-         “Liberal and Illiberal Justifications of Mass Violence Against Civilians,” in Alan Cromartie (ed.), Liberal Wars (2014) [Forthcoming]



“A doubtful genealogy,” The Oxonian Review of Books, 15.3 (2011)

“Stalin’s Genocides,” The Oxonian Review of Books, Orbits (2011)

“What is the Left for?,” The Point, 5 (2011)


Working Papers

“Ideology: A Transatlantic Literature Review” [with Matto Mildenberger, Yale University]

“Ethical Theory and the Narrative of Political Realism” [with Alex Worsnip, Yale University]

“Theories of Genocide and Theories of Evil”

“The Revolution is the Highest Law: Revolutionary Marxist Discourse on the Morality of Ends and Means”

“Social Psychology and the Explanation of Atrocities: A Critical Examination”