Research Interests

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.   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 Ideas, appeared 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 Circle, Camden 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.

Recent and forthcoming public, named, or plenary lectures delivered by Professor Lane include:

2018        Carlyle Lectures, Oxford University; Sir Malcolm Knox Memorial Lecture (University of St Andrews, Scotland); the Fifth Annual Joint Lecture of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Institute of Philosophy (Edinburgh, Scotland); Symposiast at the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the 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