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Jack Ford

Thornley Fellow 

Jack is a final year Ph.D. student at University College London (UCL). His thesis explores understandings of the interplay between the sense perception and emotion in Europe during the Middle Ages.


Jack's research

Jack maintains that the concept of ‘affectivity’, the emotional disposition of the human will towards either virtuous or sinful acts, stands at the crossroads of the thought and practices of two religious orders in the Middle Ages, the Cistercians and the Augustinian canons of the Abbey of Saint-Victor. Taking the underexplored genre of twelfth-century pre-Aristotelian, De anima (‘On the Soul’) treatises written by Cistercians and Victorine theologians as its source base, his project examines the significance of these texts in elaborating a psychology that stressed the harmonious interplay between sense perception and the emotional (affectus/affectio) and intellective faculties of the soul. 

He is supervised by Professor Sophie Page (UCL) and Professor Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute), and his doctoral studies are supported by the Wolfson Foundation.

Jack received his BA honours in History from UCL in 2018. He then undertook an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2018) at UCL sponsored by a Baxendale scholarship. 

His research interests include: affectivity and sensation; the history of emotions; the history of the senses; intellectual history; cultural history; medieval understandings of cosmology, morality, philosophy, science and theology.


‘The Victorines’, The Database of Religious History (DRH), (November 10, 2020): 

'Divine Love in the Medieval Cosmos', Chicago Journal of History (Spring 2017), 17-37: 

Review of K. Essary, J. F. Ruys, M. W. Champion (eds.), Before Emotion: The Language of Feeling, 400-1800, in Revista Española de Filosofía Medieval, 27:2, pp. 208-221 (Jan, 2021):  

Review of V. Langum, Medicine and the Seven Deadly Sins, in British Society for Literature and Society (October, 2019): 

Review of D. Boquet and P. Nagy, Medieval Sensibilities: A History of Emotions in the Middle Ages, in Reviews in History (review no. 2321) (May, 2019). Accessible at: