Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)

CHS lecture - THOMAS DIXON (Queen Mary University of London): "What is the history of emotions, and why does it matter? Lessons from psychologists and schoolchildren"

When:Mo 12-12-2022 17:00 - 18:30
Where:Heymanszaal, Academy building

This is a public lecture at the Centre for Historical Studies.


The history of emotions has been a burgeoning area of research for the last 20 years, with international centres, books series, and interdisciplinary initiatives proliferating. In this talk, Thomas Dixon, the founding director of the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions, offers an overview of the field, including his own research into the history of the category of “emotions”, as well as the histories of specific emotions and expressions, such as rage and weeping. He will explain how the findings of historians of emotions might shape the way psychologists approach their research. In recent years a lot of Thomas’s work has been focused on developing resources for primary schools to use, drawing on the history of emotions in lessons that promote emotional literacy. He will report on the thinking behind this work and share some of the results, including reflections on the visual and verbal emotional languages used by children in primary schools today.

About the speaker

Thomas Dixon is Professor of History at Queen Mary University of London where he was the founding director of the Centre for the History of the Emotions, and is now P.I. on the Wellcome-Trust-funded 'Living With Feeling' project.

Thomas’s books include From Passions to Emotions (CUP, 2003), The Invention of Altruism (OUP, 2008) and Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (OUP, 2015).

His broadcast work has included a 15-part BBC Radio 4 series 'Five Hundred Years of Friendship', ‘A Short History of Solitude’ (2020) also on Radio 4, and the podcast series, ‘The Sound of Anger’, exploring varieties of wrath, rage, and vexation, which won Gold in two categories at the British Podcast Awards. You can follow Thomas on Twitter @ProfThomasDixon