Professor Thomas Dixon

Professor of History; Director, Centre for the History of the Emotions

Location Arts Two 2.31


Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8425

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 Director of the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions, and 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.


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

Current PhD Students

  • Richard Firth-Godbehere – European Philosophical and Medical Understandings of Aversion, Abomination and Disgust, 1517- 1764
  • Rebecca O'Neal – Memory, Passions and the Cognitive Physiology of Thomas Willis

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching

Postgraduate supervision 

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





Membership of professional associations or societies

Editorial Positions

  • Editor of Journal of Victorian Culture (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

Appearances in the media

I have worked as a presenter, consultant and contributor on a range of television and radio projects: