Research Interests

Focused on the history of political thought and political philosophy, with distinctive strength in ancient Greek political thought while spanning both the ancients and the moderns. 

With an A.B. summa cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard, and an M.Phil. and PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge, where she studied as a Marshall, Truman, and Phi Beta Kappa scholar, Professor Lane’s work has focused on the history of political thought and political philosophy, with distinctive strength in ancient Greek political thought while spanning both the ancients and the moderns.  This wide range is reflected in the fact that she is a contributor to both the Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Political Thought (2000), of which she was also an Associate Editor, and the Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Political Thought (2003).

Professor Lane’s research in the area of ancient Greek and Roman political theory is reflected in the six Carlyle Lectures that she delivered at the University of Oxford in 2018 ‘Constitutions before Constitutionalism: Classical Greek Ideas of Office and Rule’.  The lectures, which are currently under preparation for publication as a book, explored the vocabulary, practices, and norms of political office and relationships of rule in ancient Greek polities, illustrated by two episodes relating to the brief period of power held by the ‘Thirty’ in Athens, and then how the ideas embedded in these practices were both employed and transformed by Aristotle, Xenophon, and especially Plato.  While the lectures offered a reading of those topics in the Republic, the book will draw on related research (both published and forthcoming) on the Statesman, and also on the Laws, to offer a new reading of the centrality of office and rule in Plato’s political thought.

This current work builds on her books Method and Politics in Plato’s Statesman (Cambridge, 1998); Plato’s Progeny: How Plato and Socrates still captivate the modern mind (Duckworth, 2001); her Introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Desmond Lee’s translation of Plato’s Republic (2007); and her article on ‘Ancient Political Philosophy’ in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, first published in 2010 and updated in 2014 and 2018.   Professor Lane’s third book, Eco-Republic, appeared in autumn 2011 from Peter Lang in the UK and in early 2012 from Princeton University Press in the United States.  Her fourth, Greek and Roman Political Ideasappeared as a Penguin Pelican in the UK and Commonwealth in 2014; an updated version was published in the United States as The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter by Princeton University Press in 2015.  She has co-edited two volumes: A Poet’s Reich: Politics and Culture in the George CircleCamden House (an imprint of Boydell and Brewer), 2011, co-edited with Martin A. Ruehl; and Politeia in Greek and Roman Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, 2013, co-edited with Verity Harte.

Professor Lane has also done substantial research on the ethics and political theory of climate change, and more broadly, of the intersection between science, democracy, and communication.  Fruits of this research include her book Eco-Republic (UK edition, 2011 / US edition, 2012), which has generated attention among scientists (see for example A review of Eco-Republic in Science), classicists (leading to a number of public and keynote lecture invitations), political theorists (leading to her invited survey of political theory and climate change for the 2015 Annual Review of Political Science), and the general public (most recently in a broadcast lecture on the book subtitled in Italian for the Turin Festival del Classico, almost ten years after the book first appeared).  Further research in this area, including articles and book chapters written collaboratively with her former Princeton graduate student K. Michael Lamb, and with Princeton faculty colleagues Robert O. Keohane and Michael Oppenheimer, can be found in the relevant section of Publications.

2021  |  Keynote Lecture, Duke University Political Theory Graduate Conference
2021  |  Langford Scholar Lecture, Florida State University  

2018  |  Carlyle Lecturer, University of Oxford

2018  |  Sir Malcolm Knox Memorial Lecture, University of St Andrews

2018  |  Fifth Annual Joint Lecture of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Institute of Philosophy

2018  |  Invited Symposiast, Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society & Mind Association

2017  |  Charles McCracken Distinguished Guest Lecturer, Michigan State University

2017  |  Gerald F. Else Lecture in the Humanities, University of Michigan

2016  |  Annual public lecture for the Centre for Political Philosophy, University of Leiden

2016  |  Keynote lecture for the London Graduate Conference in the History of Political Thought

2015  |  The Chapman Lecture, University of Auckland

2015  |  The Hood Lecture, University of Auckland

2014  |  The Common Humanities Lecture, University of Florida

2014  |  Plenary Lecture, Greening the Gods conference in Divinity and Classics, University of Cambridge

2014  |  Plenary Lecture, Cambridge Graduate Conference in Ancient Philosophy

2013  |  Architectural League of New York, Public Lecture, 5000 Pound Life Series

2013  |  Engaged Humanities Lecture in ‘Ethics and the Environment’ series, UNC-Asheville 

2012  |  Navin Narayan Memorial Lecture in Social Studies, Harvard University

2012  |  Saul O. Sidore Memorial Lecture, University of New Hampshire