Douglas Cairns

Douglas Cairns is Professor of Classics at Edinburgh University and ETT‘s principal investigator.

Having received his PhD in Greek from the University of Glasgow, he later taught at University of St Andrews, University of Otago, University of Leeds and University of Glasgow before finally coming to Edinburgh where he took up the Chair of Classics in 2004.

Following Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung research fellowships (1993-5 and 2011) and a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2008-11), Douglas received a Senior Research Fellowship from the ERC/Oxford University Project The Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions (2012-13). He also studied the languages of emotions as an affiliated researcher at Freie Universität Berlin (2011-12). In 2013, he was elected to membership of Academia Europaea (the European Academy).

In addition to directing the Leverhulme International Research Network Emotions through time: from antiquity to Byzantium, Douglas is also the PI for the AHRC-funded project A History of Distributed Cognition.


Role in the project

In addition to directing the ETT research network, Douglas is organising the first ETT workshop Defining and Theorising Emotions (Edinburgh, 15 October 2016) together with another network member, namely Dr Aglae Pizzone (Centre for Medieval Literature, University of Southern Denmark). Within the ETT, Douglas will work on ancient Greek material and in particular on Homeric exegesis and emotion metaphors.


Related publications

Aidôs: The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).

Douglas Cairns, Co-editor (with L. Fulkerson), Emotions between Greece and Rome (BICS Supplement 125, London, 2015).

Douglas Cairns. Co-editor (with S. Blundell and N. S. Rabinowitz), Vision and Viewing in Ancient Greece (= Helios 40.1-2, 2013).

Douglas Cairns, Editor, Body Language in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2005).

Douglas Cairns, ‘Clothed in Shamelessness, Shrouded in Grief: The Role of “Garment” Metaphors in Ancient Greek Concepts of Emotion’, in G. Fanfani, M. Harlow, and M.-L. Nosch (eds.), Spinning Fates and the Song of the Loom: The Use of Textiles, Clothing and Cloth Production as Metaphor, Symbol, and Narrative (Oxford: Oxbow, 2016), 25-41.

Douglas Cairns, ‘Metaphors for Hope in Early Greek Literature’, in R. R. Caston and R. A. Kaster (eds.), Hope, Joy, and Affection in the Classical World (Festschrift for David Konstan) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 13-44.

Douglas Cairns, ‘Der iliadische Zorn und die transkulturelle Emotionsforschung’, in M. von Koppenfels and C. Zumbusch (eds.), Handbuch Literatur und Emotionen (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), 179-208.

Douglas Cairns and Laurel Fulkerson, Introduction, in D. Cairns and L. Fulkerson (eds.), Emotions between Greece and Rome (London: Institute of Classical Studies, 2015), 1-22.

Douglas Cairns,  ‘The Horror and the Pity: Phrike as a Tragic Emotion’, Psychoanalytic Inquiry 34 (2015), 75-94.

Douglas Cairns,  ‘A Short History of Shudders’, in A Chaniotis & P Ducrey (eds), Unveiling Emotions II: Emotions in Greece and Rome: Texts, Images, and Material Culture. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart, Stuttgart, pp. 85-107 (2013).


A complete list of Douglas’s publications is available here.


To learn more about Douglas’s research, visit his page.

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