Early modern emotions: two new book publications

Two exciting new books on early emotions have recently been published, both with connections to ACCESS.

Early Modern Emotions: An Introduction, edited by Susan Broomhall, is a student-friendly introduction to the concepts, approaches and sources used to study emotions in early modern Europe, and to the perspectives that analysis of the history of emotions can offer early modern studies more broadly. The book contains chapters by ACCESS members Erika Kuijpers, Inger Leemans, and Herman Roodenburg. For more information, the table of contents – and to order the book for your university library –  please visit the Routledge catalogue.

Battlefield Emotions 1500-1800: Practices, Experience, Imagination, edited by ACCESS members Erika Kuijpers and Cornelis van der Haven, was published in Palgrave’s Studies in the History of Emotions series. The collection, resulting from the international workshops on battlefield emotions, explores changes in emotional cultures of the early modern battlefield. Integrating psychological, social and cultural perspectives, it explores emotional behaviour, expression and representation in a great variety of primary source material.

 

Smell: The Neglected Sense

SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION

Though unnoticed, our sense of smell is a major mood determiner. Scents evoke vivid childhood memories. They are part of our identity: we each have a scent that is as unique as our fingerprints.

Even cities have their own specific scent profiles. Still, we tend not to be aware of the profound effects of smell. VU Amsterdam is organizing a symposium on 24 February during which an art and fragrance historian, a psychologist and an artist will elucidate the importance of smell as part of culture. A new VU exhibition will also open that will let you observe that which is invisible, indefinable, elusive and often neglected: smell! Both activities are related to scent historian Caro Verbeek’s PhD dissertation, ‘Aromatic Art (Re-)reconstructed: In Search of Lost Scents’.

A century ago, surrealists like Duchamp and futurists like Marinetti used scents to accentuate their images, exhibition spaces, poetry readings and toys. They used Brazilian coffee beans, erotic perfumes, sulfuric acid, ozone, incense and industrial fumes as means to influence the public. Most of these ‘aromatic interventions’ were intended to provoke, to confuse, to alter people’s mood or to add a sensory dimension. Unfortunately, many of these ‘artistic aromas’ have been lost. These days, artists all over the world are once again working with scents and aromas. The exhibition provides an overview of how international artists and perfumers incorporate scents into their art as they explore the boundaries of ‘visual’ expression.

What does the countryside smell like? The Battle of Waterloo? The moon? The planet Earth? These and other lost and rare scents have been reconstructed thanks to the joint efforts of perfumers, chemists and historians.
Indulge your olfactory sense and give your nose something to sniff at. Register for the symposium and come see the exhibition.

Photo: Copyright Gayil Nalls, People sniffing World Sensorium at midnight 01-01-2000, Time Square, New York

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universiteit van nederland

Lectures on emotions at Universiteit van Nederland

On 9 November, the Universiteit van Nederland will record four 15-minute lectures on the emotions in Amsterdam. The lectures (in Dutch) are on Schadenfreude (leedvermaak), repentance/regret (spijt), anger, pride, and envy (afgunst).

For more information and registration, visit the Universiteit van Nederland.

Lecture on Consolation and the Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern England

On Wednesday, October 19th at 17:00, dr. Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen (University of Leiden) will present new research in his talk ‘”Never Better”: Consolation and the Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern England’.

The talk will take place at the University of Amsterdam, in P.C. Hoofthuis room 1.05, Spuistraat 134, Amsterdam.

“Never Better”: Consolation and the Culture of Protestantism in Early Modern England
In this talk I will look at the crucial role of consolation in the culture of early modern English Protestantism. Protestants were preoccupied by the idea of consolation, and felt that the true Christian community is defined by the ways in which it understands and practices consolation. This interest in consolation was occasioned in part by the importance of persecution and martyrdom for early modern notions of Protestant identity, yet the dominance of consolation in early modern Protestant culture extended beyond this. Members of the Protestant clergy were interested in suffering more broadly, and undertook a massive effort – in a diverse genre best labeled ‘religious consolation literature’ – to instruct their flock in the meanings of suffering, and to shape their responses to affliction.

I will map some of the dominant tropes in this literature, showing that consolation was always a deeply politically fraught concept. Throughout the early modern era, this political dimension of Protestant consolation remained a potential to be activated by various Protestant factions alike, from ardent conformists to radical Puritans. I will also examine how consolation literature was put to use by early modern Protestant individuals. By turning to the notebooks of the London wood turner Nehemiah Wallington (1598–1658), I will show that consolation could be a frustratingly open-ended, potentially endless enterprise. While consolation is a central strand in Wallington, it never seems to attain its goal; it never enables Wallington to confer definitive meaning on his suffering.

About

Jan Frans van Dijkhuizen teaches English Literature at the University of Leiden. He is the author of Pain and Compassion in Early Modern English Literature and Culture (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2012) and Devil Theatre: Demonic Possession and Exorcism in English Renaissance Drama, 1558–1642 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2007), and has co- edited The Sense of Suffering: Constructions of Physical Pain in Early Modern Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2009) and The Reformation Unsettled: British Literature and the Question of Religious Identity, 1560–1660 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008). He is currently preparing a third monograph, entitled A Literary History of Reconciliation: Remorse and the Limits of Forgiveness, which is under contract for 2018 with Bloomsbury Academic. He spent most of the spring and summer of this year as a Short-Term Research Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, where he worked on the role of consolation in the culture of early modern English Protestantism. He is hoping to write a book on this topic in the not too distant future.

The Secular Sacred: Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion in Western Europe

International Symposium
The Secular Sacred: Emotions of Belonging and the Perils of Nation and Religion in Western Europe
Date: 10 and 11 November 2016
Venue: The Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam

The past decades have witnessed a spectacular rise of both nationalist and religious sentiments across Europe. Indeed, feelings of home, emotional appeals to community and even the ‘people’ (Volk) are entwined with and fueled by the increasing presence of religion in European public spheres, long considered to have been thoroughly secularized. New nationalists and increasingly the continent’s political and cultural elites frame the presence of religion as a threat to the ‘secular’ character of the nation. At the same time, religious ‘roots’, including what is now indicated as ‘Judeo-Christian’ roots, are mobilized as cultural identities. The nation’s secularism has turned sacred, as it were. In this volatile context, both ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’ have become emotionally charged.

The symposium brings together scholars working on issues of nationalism and religion to develop a postsecular approach investigating in tandem the continued and changing presences of religion and nationalism in Europe.

The categories of religion and secularism are categories of practice. They are not fixed, but constantly changing in often highly contested political and social arena’s. Indeed, both categories are frequently mobilized in political projects. For instance, over the past decades nationalists in the Netherlands have framed groups of Dutch citizens with a migrant background (the so-called allochtones) as ‘religious’ and hence ‘backward’, pitting them against a ‘secularized’ and ‘progressive’ but also ‘Judeo-Christian’ Dutch majority. At the same time, forms of religion – Christian, Islamic, and other forms – have continued to gain ground while becoming entangled with identity politics. Not seeking to define the secular or the religious, the symposium will focus on the boundary work through which both categories are being defined, contested, and re-made in social and political practice.

These shifting qualities of secularism and religion call for a praxeological approach, paying particular attention to the involvement of the body, the emotions and the senses or, more specifically, to ‘embodied practices’, ‘sensational forms’ and sense perception (aisthesis). Such an approach sheds light not only on how the nation and the sacred are mediated, but also on how they deeply take root in people, becoming all the more persuasive. At the same time, taking the established notions of habitus or bodily memory as a point of departure may provide us with a more detailed understanding of how practices may both reproduce and (temporarily) subvert the structures of power. How do such insights help us to understand the complexities involved in how a nation’s or a religion’s imaginaries resonate and may reinforce each other?

Invited speakers are: Jan-Willem Duyvendak, Irene Götz (Munich), Deborah Kapchan (New York), Birgit Meyer, Alex van Stipriaan and Jojada Verrips. Speakers from the Meertens Institute include Markus Balkenhol, Sophie Elpers, Ernst van den Hemel, Peter-Jan Margry, Herman Roodenburg, and Irene Stengs.

Please register by email to Irene Stengs (irene.stengs@meertens.knaw.nl ). Details of the symposium’s program will be announced shortly at on the Meertens Institute website.

 

KNAW Symposium: Boundless Love

Notions of Love in Various Cultural Traditions

During this symposium, scholars from diverse fields will discuss the nature of love and seduction, homo-eroticism in Islamic cultures, the lessons of the Kama Sutra, and what we can learn from the ways in which individuals and peoples have spoken of love.

From ancient times until today, thinkers in various disciplines have tried to decipher the mystery of love. Is it a religious and spiritual force identified with God, is it a philosophical concept, is it a force of attraction holding the whole cosmos together, or is love a disease that must be treated?

3 August 2016 from 15:00 to 18:00 hrs
Trippenhuis Building, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam

pauw

Speakers

  • Piet Gerbrandy, University of Amsterdam – Andreas Capellanus and the Rhetoric of Seduction. Twelfth-Century Techniques of Confusion
  • Mineke Schipper, Leiden University – How the Magic Matrix Gets in the Way of Boundless Love in Creation Stories
  • Jan Schmidt, Leiden University – Love and Sex among the Ottomans
  • Asghar Seyed-Gohrab, Leiden University – Homo-Erotic Love: Spiritual Eroticism versus Earthly Sexuality
  • Herman Tieken, Leiden University – Kama Sutra: when Sex becomes a Science