Professor Thomas Dixon
Professor of History
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgTelephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8425Room Number: ArtsTwo 2.31
I am a historian of philosophy, science, medicine, and religion, with particular expertise in the history of emotions, and in Victorian intellectual and cultural history.
My PhD (1996-2000) and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2000-2003) at the University of Cambridge were followed by a period as a Lecturer in History at Lancaster.
- The science, philosophy, and experience of anger through history
- The history and meanings of ‘passions’, ‘emotions’, ‘affections’ and related categories in science, medicine, philosophy and theology
- The history of ‘altruism’ and Victorian theories of morality
- The life and thought of the Scottish philosopher and physician Thomas Brown (1778-1820)
- The relationship between science and religion
- Moral and emotional aspects of education
- Tears and weeping, especially in British history
- The cultural history of philosophy
- 'What is the history of anger a history of?' (link is external), Emotions: History, Culture, Society 4, no.1 (2020): 1-34.
- Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (link is external) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
- Enthusiasm Delineated: Varieties of Weeping in Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Litteraria Pragensia: Studies in Literature and Culture 22 (2012): 59–81. Open Access. See table of contents and abstracts for whole issue here (link is external).
- ‘La science du cerveau et la religion de l’humanité: Auguste Comte et l’altruisme dans l’Angleterre victorienne’, Revue d’Histoire des Sciences 65 (2012): 287–316. (link is external)
- 'Educating the Emotions from Gradgrind to Goleman', Research Papers in Education 27 (2012): 481-495. (link is external)
- '"Emotion": The History of a Keyword in Crisis', Emotion Review 4 (2012): 338-344. (link is external) Open Access.
- 'The Tears of Mr Justice Willes', Journal of Victorian Culture 17 (2012): 1-23. (link is external) Open Access.
- 'Feeling Differently: Using Historical Images to Teach Emotional Literacy in an East London School (2011). (link is external) Open Access.
- 'Revolting Passions', Modern Theology 27 (2011): 298-312 (link is external); reprinted in Faith, Rationality and the Passions, ed. Sarah Coakley (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), pp. 181-195.
- (ed.) Thomas Brown: Selected Philosophical Writings (Imprint Academic, 2010). (link is external)
- (Co-edited with Geoffrey Cantor and Stephen Pumfrey), Science and Religion: New Historical Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2010). (link is external)
- ‘Darwin, religión y ciencia’ in Historia, Medicina, y Ciencia en Torno a Darwin (Madrid: Fundación de Ciencias de la Salud/British Council, 2008), pp. 149-62.
- The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 2008). (link is external)
- Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008) (link is external).
- 'Patients and Passions: Languages of Medicine and Emotion, 1789-1850', in Fay Bound Alberti (ed.), Medicine, Emotion, and Disease, 1750-1950 (Palgrave, 2006), pp 22-52.
- 'Religion and Science', in John Hinnells (ed), The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (London: Routledge, 2005), pp 456-472; second edition (2009), pp. 509-525.
- 'The Invention of Altruism: Auguste Comte's Positive Polity and Respectable Unbelief in Victorian Britain', in D Knight and M Eddy (eds),Science and Beliefs: From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), pp 195-211
- .How to Get a First: The Essential Guide to Academic Success (London: Routledge, 2004). (link is external)
- 'Agnosticism', 'Altruism' and 'Natural Theology', in Maryanne Cline Horowitz (ed), New Dictionary of the History of Ideas (New York: Scribner's, 2004).
- 'Herbert Spencer and Altruism: The Sternness and Kindness of a Victorian Moralist', in Greta Jones and Robert A. Peel (eds), Herbert Spencer: The Intellectual Legacy (London: Galton Institute, 2004), pp 85-124.
- From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003; Paperback edition, 2006). (link is external)
- (ed) The Life and Collected Works of Thomas Brown (1778-1820), 8 vols. (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 2003).
- 'Looking beyond "the rumpus about Moses and monkeys": Religion and the Sciences in the Nineteenth Century', Nineteenth-Century Studies, 17 (2003), 25-33.
- ‘Scientific Atheism as a Faith Tradition', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 33 (2002), 337-59.
- Editor of Journal of Victorian Culture (link is external) (co-editor, with Helen Rogers, Ruth Livesey, and Joseph Bristow)
- Co-editor with Jules Evans of History of Emotions Blog (co-editor with Jules Evans)
- Co-editor with Professor Ute Frevert of ‘Emotions in History, 1500-2000’: Oxford University Press book series
- Editorial board member, Nineteenth Century Studies (link is external).
I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:
- History of passions, emotions, feelings and sensibility
- Cultural and social history of philosophy and philosophers
- History of science, medicine, psychiatry, and sexuality
- Intellectual, cultural, and religious history of modern Britain since the eighteenth century
Former PhD Students
- Richard Firth-Godbehere – European Philosophical and Medical Understandings of Aversion, Abomination and Disgust, 1517- 1764
- Jane Mackelworth – Meanings of home, love, belonging and selfhood for women in relationships together, 1900-1960, with a key focus on Vera 'Jack' Holme and friends.
- Rebecca O'Neal – Memory, Passions and the Cognitive Physiology of Thomas Willis
- Evelien Lemmens - the history of emotions and digestion in 19th-century Britain
- Eleanor Betts - the medical and legal treatment of 19th-century children accused of killing
- Åsa Jansson - 19th-century melancholia in medicine and culture
- Jade Shepherd - criminal insanity and the Broadmoor asylum
- Tiffany Watt-Smith the history of the flinch in science and performance
Engagement and impact have been central to my work over the last ten years, especially through work for BBC radio, podcasts for the Centre for the History of the Emotions, and my work developing a programme of lessons about emotions to use in primary schools. Much of this public-facing work on the history of emotions is available, along with many contributions by other QMUL scholars, on The Emotions Lab website (link is external).
- In 2013 I presented, 'Margaret are you grieving?' (link is external), a BBC Radio 3 'Sunday Feature' based on my research into the history of tears and weeping
- 'Five Hundred Years of Friendship' (link is external) is a 15-part series I presented for BBC Radio 4, first broadcast in 2014.
- I was the academic consultant for a 10-part BBC Radio 4 series on the History of Charisma (link is external) in 2015.
- In March 2019, I delivered the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Lecture 2019, ‘Feelings, and Feelings, and Feelings’ (link is external).
- In 2020 I presented a three-part series - 'A Short History of Solitude' (link is external) on BBC Radio 4.
- In 2019, I presented 'The Sound of Anger' (link is external), a podcast series based around my research into the history of anger, including three features, two original audio dramas by Craig Baxter, and two extended interviews. 'The Sound of Anger' series won two gold awards - for 'Smartest' and 'Wellbeing' - at the British Podcast Awards 2020.
- The QMUL Centre for the History of the Emotions podcast (link is external) on SoundCloud has received over 60,000 plays since 2018.
I first developed an interest in the ways that the history of emotions could be used in a primary school setting during an AHRC funded project in 2011, and wrote a report called 'Feeling Differently' (link is external). Since 2019, I have been working with the TKAT academy chain in schools across the South East of England to launch the 'Developing Emotions' programme of lessons aimed at children in year 3 and year 5 of UK primary schools. The first pilot versions were successfully completed in 2020. You can read more and listen to a podcast episode about the lessons via the History of Emotions blog (link is external).