Workshop: Emotion and Subjectivity

Emotion and Subjectivity, 1300-1900
Workshop at NIAS (Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study) September 29-30, 2014

crying womanThe workshop brings together scholars from the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, who are working on various historical and literary approaches to the study of emotions. During two days in Wassenaar, participants will explore the ways in which emotions have been placed in dialogue with sociocultural values and political discourse throughout the period 1300-1900. The workshop primarily engages with emotion in a European context and so will raise questions about national stereotypes and emotions, as well as the possibility of characterizing a ‘European’ selfhood.

In their papers, participating scholars explore emotional rhetoric in a range of texts, such as medical and scientific tracts, visual art, music, theatre, literature, historiography, and war reporting. Individual topics range from medieval medicine to midwifery manuals of the eighteenth-century to the emotional appeal of opera in the nineteenth century. All workshop participants are invested in understanding the historical development both of emotions and the subject, concerns which continue to impact and shape European culture, literature, and art as we know it today.

The workshop is organized as part of the Emotion and Subjectivity Research Group, based at the University of Amsterdam. For more information or to register, please contact the workshop organizers, Dr. Kristine Johanson (K.A.Johanson@uva.nl) and Dr. Tara MacDonald (T.C.MacDonald@uva.nl).

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Battlefield Emotions 1550-1850: International workshop

Battlefield Emotions 1550-1850, an international workshop 
13-15 February, Ghent University, Belgium
http://www.battlefieldemotions.ugent.be

In modern Europe we are daily confronted with images of ‘our’ soldiers in action in faraway warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Modern media explicitly pay attention to not only the problems of desperate relatives at the home front, but also the intimate feelings like fear and dejection of the military subject itself. The ‘emotional soldier’ however is a very complex figure, since military discipline does not allow for emotions to be displayed as openly as they are in civil society today. Representations of ‘battlefield emotions’ in the past open up the long history of this complex relation between two overlapping yet different emotional cultures: the military and the civic public sphere. Moreover, it will contribute to the current debate in the humanities concerning the historical and cultural origins of modern emotions.

We call ‘battlefield emotions’ the emotions of the individual in the face of violence and death as they are expressed and represented in text and image, songs and gestures, rituals and objects. ‘Battlefield emotions’ have long been considered absent in battle reports, memoirs and artistic representations of the battlefield experience from before the rise of romanticism and nationalism in the 18th and 19th centuries. Moreover, it is assumed that the 18th century was the age of sentimentalisation that altered the representation of battlefield experiences. According to historian Yuval Harari, this change began in the late 18th century, when soldiers started to describe battlefield events as revelatory, unique experiences that transformed the self. In art and literature also, the focus is assumed to have switched from heroic facts to individual emotions; even heroes were human and their image had to reveal their inner experience of war. Newspapers would no longer restrict their war reports to military facts and figures but also published personal letters from the front.

This workshop seeks to problematise the idea that 16th- and 17th-century war experiences did not foster emotions or that the early accounts do not contain emotional elements. Instead of using the paradigms of ‘absence’ in the 16th and 17th century and ‘birth’ of emotions in the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, this workshop aims to explore battlefield emotions in the light of an on-going clash between emotional cultures or communities of soldiers and civilians and to recognise early battlefield emotions as such, even when they are no longer familiar to us. Honour, desire for glory, patriotism, love of knowledge, truth and order, are notions that are deeply emotional in nature and very important to the early modern soldier. In this workshop we plan to map and understand a broader spectrum of emotions that are related to the battlefield in the course of the 17th and 18th centuries and to find explanations for variations and changes in emotional culture. The battlefield thus serves as a case to enhance our theoretical and methodological approach of emotions in history.

For more information and registration, visit the workshop’s website.

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BATTLEFIELD EMOTIONS 1500-1900 interdisciplinary workshop

Friday 18 january 2013, 10:00 – 17:00

VU University, Boelelaan 1105 Amsterdam (room 1 E – 13)          For a route description see this link.

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Battlefield Emotions 

From the 18th century onwards there is a growing interest in battlefield emotions. This can for example be seen in the reports and memoirs of soldiers, in the shift of focus from heroic facts to individual emotions in art and literature and the appearance of empathy and enthusiasm as important notions in military science. The aim of the workshop is to study how and why this changes did occur. In doing so it will try to chart the changes  in expressions of battlefield emotions and shed light on the social and cultural developments that brought these changes about.

Registration

Registration is possible before 1 january. If you want to participate please fill in this form.

Program

See for the program below or download the full program with the abstracts of the lectures here .

10.00 – 10.40 Welcome and introduction

10.40 – 11.40 Lecture by Mary A. Favret (Indiana University, USA)  Fallen Bodies: Considering Soldiers and Suicides c.1800 (download abstract) and discussion

11.40 Coffee

11.50 Richard Smith (Goldsmiths University of London, UK) A “considerably larger emotional  capacity than the English”: Changing representations of the West Indian soldier’s character and sensibilities from the French Revolution to the First World War (download abstract) and discussion.

12.40 Lunch break

13.40 David Lederer (NUI Maynooth, Ireland) Where is the battlefield? The Ubiquity of Fear during the Thirty Years War (download abstract)

14.10 Lisa de Boer (Westmont College, USA) The Sidelong Glance: Tracing ‘Battlefield Emotions’ in Dutch Art of the Golden Age (download abstract)

15.30 Coffee

15.50 Mareen van Marwyck (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) “Love Wars”: The Sentimentalization of Violence in Early 19th Century German Literature (download abstract) and discussion

 16.40 Conclusions by Dorothee Sturkenboom (Independent Scholar)

17.00 Drinks

Battlefield Emotions 1500-1900 is organized by: Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies (ACCESS), Group for Early Modern Studies Ghent University (GEMS), History Department Leiden University. For more information: Erika Kuijpers, h.m.e.p.kuijpers@hum.leidenuniv.nl / Cornelis van der Haven, Cornelis.vanderHaven@UGent.be

Application Call Moral Economies Research School

The International Max Planck Research School for Moral Economies of Modern Societies are starting a new PhD program in october 2013. It focuses on identifying which kind of values, emotions and habits inform and inspire the social formations that have emerged since the eighteenth century. The School sets out to investigate how ‘moral economies’ were composed, organized and practiced in the last three centuries.

Masterstudents who are interested can apply until the 5th of december. See for more information the flyer or visit the website.

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Lecture on The Origins of Sex

At the Institute of History of Leiden University

Faramerz Dabhoiwala will give a lecture on

The Origins of Sex: The First Sexual Revolution

on Friday 20 April  at 3.30 p.m.

Cover Origins of Sex

 The lecture will take place in room 028 of the Lipsiusbuilding, Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden, and will be followed by drinks. Entry is free of charge, but we ask those planning to attend to inform Alec Ewing (a.ewing@hum.leidenuniv.nl) before 16 April.

For most of western history, all sex outside marriage was illegal, and the church, the state, and ordinary people all devoted huge efforts to suppressing and punishing it. In the eighteenth century, that world view was shattered by revolutionary new ideas – that sex is a private matter; that morality cannot be imposed by force; that men are more lustful than women. This lecture will explore how and why that happened, and with what momentous consequences.

Faramerz Dabhoiwala (1969) is University Lecturer in Modern History at Exeter College, Oxford. He previously taught at the University of Sheffield and All Souls College, Oxford, being mostly concerned with the social and intellectual history of the English-speaking world, c. 1500–1800. In 2012, he published the critically acclaimed debut, The Origins of Sex: A History of the First Sexual Revolution. For more information, see his website: http://www.dabhoiwala.com/Home.html.