Juanita Feros Ruys

Dr Juanita Feros Ruys is Director of The University of Sydney Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CHE). Juanita's work contributes to the Meanings, Change and Shaping the Modern Programs. Her project on demonic emotions studies how emotions came to be attributed to disembodied beings such as demons in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It considers the sorts of emotions ascribed to demons and what this tells us about the relationship between feeling and embodiment, and whether feelings were considered an exclusively human characteristic. In collaboration with Sydney Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Rebecca McNamara, Juanita is researching suicidal emotions in the Middle Ages, exploring how we might uncover the emotional states at play in the act of self-murder. Her focus here is on textual resources, particularly first-person life narratives. Juanita is also collaborating with UWA CI, Professor Yasmin Haskell, on a project studying the long history of academic emotions from the High Middle Ages to the eighteenth century. This project examines traditions and discontinuities in the way scholars responded emotionally to the processes, technologies, and contexts of learning.


+61 2 9351 4149
The University of Sydney Staff Profile

Research project

The Secret Life of Demons

Emotions and the Suicidal Impulse in the Medieval World (with Dr Rebecca F. McNamara) 

The Devil's Country


Selected Publications


Ruys, J. F. Demons in the Middle Ages. Kalamazoo, MI: Arc Humanities Press, 2017.

Edited Books

Ruys, J. F. and C. Monagle, eds. A Cultural History of the Emotions in the Medieval Age. London: Bloomsbury, 2019.

Ruys, J. F., M. W. Champion and K. Essary, eds. Before Emotion: The Language of Feeling, 400–1800. London and New York: Routledge, 2019.

Book Chapters

Ruys, J. F. ‘Before the Affective Turn: Affectus in Heloise, Abelard and the Woman Writer of the Epistolae duorum amantium’. In Before Emotion: The Language of Feeling, 400–1800, edited by J. F. Ruys, M. W. Champion and K. Essary, pp. 61 –75. New York and London: Routledge, 2019.

Ruys, J. F. ‘Literature’. In A Cultural History of the Emotions in the Medieval Age, edited by J. F. Ruys and C. Monagle, pp. 101–18. Vol. 2. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.

Ruys, J. F. ‘From Virtue Ethics to Emotional Intelligence: Advice from Medieval Parents to Their Children’. In Affect, Emotion, and Children’s Literature: Representation and Socialisation in Texts for Children and Young Adults, edited by K. Moruzi, M. J. Smith and E. Bullen, pp. 19–32. London: Routledge, 2018.

Ruys, J. F.‘Love’. In Medievalism: Key Critical Terms, edited by Elizabeth Emery and Richard Utz. Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 2014.

Ruys, J. F. ‘“He who kills himself liberates a wretch”: Abelard on Suicide’. In Rethinking Abelard: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Babette S. Hellemans, pp. 230‒49. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

Journal Articles

Ruys, J. F. ‘The Devil’s Coach House and Skeleton Cave: Colonial Tales, the Medieval Demonic, and the Absence of the Indigenous’. Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural 5:2 (2016): 159‒88.

Ruys, J. F. and Rebecca F. McNamara, ‘Unlocking the Silences of the Self-Murdered: Textual Approaches to Suicidal Emotions in the Middle Ages’. Exemplaria 26.1 (2014): 58‒80.

Ruys, J. F. ‘Sensitive Spirits: Changing Depictions of Demonic Emotions in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries’. Digital Philology: A Journal of Medieval Cultures 1:2 (2012): 184‒209.

Ruys, J. F.  ‘Love in the Time of Demons: Thirteenth-Century Approaches to the Capacity for Love in Fallen Angels’.  Mirabilia: Electronic Journal of Antiquity and the Middle Ages 15 (2012): 28‒46.