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School of History

Professor Thomas Dixon


Professor of History

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8425
Room 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.

I joined the School of History at Queen Mary in 2007 and since 2008 have been a member of the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions, and co-editor of the History of Emotions Blog.

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.


Undergraduate Teaching


Research Interests:

My current research interests are in the history of emotions (especially anger), emotional health, medicine and science, and in the cultural history of philosophy (including Stoicism and existentialism). Previous research projects have explored the histories of psychological categories, Victorian moral thought, relationships between science and religion, the history of weeping, and the British stiff upper lip. 
Key areas of research:
  • 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


Editorial Positions


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

Current PhD Students

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

Current PHD Students

  • Connor Clayton – An analysis of the role of emotion in political and social mobilisation, through a case study of People’s Temple 1955-78.
  • Hayley Kavanagh – Joy, laughter and radical happiness in the British Women's Liberation Movement 1960s-1980s