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.

affiche

Sounds of Historical Amsterdam

Friday, 24 May, 13.30 – 17.00
Venue: Amsterdam Museum, Kalverstraat 92, entrance Kalverstraat 92
Sint Luciënsteeg 27.

HOW DO CITIES SOUND?K

A symposium organized around the installation ‘The Sound of Amsterdam’, now on show at the Amsterdam Museum

ROOM: HET GEWELF (buy your ticket at the central entrance)

THE SOUND INSTALLATION IS IN ROOM 17

PRICE
Museumticket :  € 10,-
UvA Studentenkaart  :  € 5,-
Museumjaarkaart        :  free

IF YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE SYMPOSIUM PLEASE REGISTER BELOW 

Clicke here if you want to hear this horse tram

K

Alex Rhys-Taylor

Sonic Boom – 100 Years of Urban Sound

The twentieth century city comprised a cascade of intertwined social, political, technological and economic revolutions, all of which combined to radically alter the sonic sensorium that filled the century’s cities. Automobiles, radios, planes, argot, sirens, industry. All of these displaced, or drowned out, the audible sensorium of millennia before. The great revolutions of the century are also reflected in the sensibilities through which urbanites made sense of the new urban symphonies and cacophonies. Starting with the hypnotic buzz of London as heard from afar, zooming in to the cacophonous soundscapes of the street, the talk will trace the provenance of both the soundscape of modern city, and the meanings we gave to it.

Alex Rhys-Taylor is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. One of his main interests is the multisensory ambience of everyday urban life. See: http://www.gold.ac.uk/sociology/staff/rhys-taylor/

Annelies Jacobs

Discourse and the Sounds of the City

Though we hardly know how cities sounded in the past, how sounds figured in daily life, we do believe that due to processes of expansion, industrialisation and technology cities grow noisier and noisier. It seems that the constant emergence of new sources of sound and a poor recall of sources lost, make us conclude that the past was more silent. In this lecture we ‘listen’ to changes in the discourse on sound, using texts from various periods. We will see that ideas about society and human beings inform our statements on silence increasing or decreasing, and the way we underpin these statements. Changes in the sounds and noises of city cannot be understood on the basis of material changes only.

Annelies Jacobs (1955) is a PhD student at the University of Maastricht. She is now completing her dissertation on the soundscape of Amsterdam between roughly 1880 and 1945, which provided most of the input to the installation now on show.

Arnoud Traa

Listening to the past? A sound designers’ perspective

Archival recordings allow listeners to feel like a time traveller. But to what extent are they actually able to listen to the past? How does the recording process of a sound (or the sound object itself) influence the perception of the age and meaning of sound? We will make a short trip through recording history by sound.

Arnoud Traa is a sound designer and composer with an interest in historical and vanished sound. He works in film, documentary and museums with diverse media. In 2012 he founded the website ‘Het Geluid van Nederland,’ an online crowd-sourced sound archive with recordings from 1955 to today. As a recordist of contemporary and historical sounds he contributed to the ‘Soundscapes of the Urban Past’ installation ‘De Dam,’ by the Amsterdam Museum and Maastricht University.

Rikko Voorberg and Marlous Willemsen

Sounds of belief

In a series of five events at Imagine IC young people collected sounds they see as meaningful to the way they experience their religion or spirituality. They collected this material as part of the project ‘My God’, in which present-day religion and its (new) practices were documented. See: www.imagineic.nl/cases/mijn-god.

Marlous Willemsen is the director of Imagine IC. Rikko Voorberg is ambassador of Imagine IC. Hij hosted the youth events on sound and religion, and is affiliated with the EO radio-program Denkstof

‘The Noise of the City Hits Me in the Face’: On Tangible Noise as a Source of Vexation, Knowledge and Experiment (1880-1940)

Piet Devos, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Since the end of the nineteenth century much has been written on the noise of big cities, on how one did not only hear it but also seemed to feel it bodily. It led novelists and scholars to a fascinating voyage of discovery through the borderland between hearing and touch. They discovered that the vibrations one could hear as tones and rhythm also touched the skin and other parts of the body. These vibrations proved to cause annoyance but also provided important information in one’s perception of the same urban space. We will have a look at the discussions on these multisensory vibrations in the city, profiting from contemporary novels and poetry, and from the writings of psychologists, among them Géza Révész, then teaching at the University of Amsterdam. These texts make us hear and feel an urban space which is still there in the present.

Piet Devos teaches literary studies at the University of Groningen, and is also a translator and essayist. He is completing his dissertation on sensory perception in avant-garde poetry of the avant-garde. His talk is part of a new research project on the impact of technology on touch.

To register please fill in this form:

[customcontact form=1]

Transmission of Emotions: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

Friday 10 February 2012, 12.30-17.30 hrs
VU University Amsterdam, Aurorazaal

‘The business of understanding the transmission of affect, in terms of theory, science, and practice, has barely begun’
– Teresa Brennan, The Transmission of Affect (2004)

How and why do we sense and share the emotions of others? The question of how we are moved by the feelings of others has long remained largely unexplored in psychology, neurology, and language research. It is only recently that various disciplines have begun to unravel the mechanisms of empathy, emotional contagion, and the operations of affect in watching a film or reading a novel.

This interdisciplinary symposium brings together three scientists who explore the transmission of emotions from different disciplinary perspectives: neurology, social psychology and psycholinguistics. Their lectures will introduce current knowledge of the transmission of emotion in these three fields. The symposium seeks to encourage interdisciplinary exchange on this broad-ranging topic so fundamental to understanding human interaction.

The speakers:

Christian Keysers (neurology): The emphatic brain

Agneta Fischer (social psychology): The regulation of social relations through emotional mimicry

Jos van Berkum (psycholinguistics): So what about emotion in language?

Registration closed on 25 January 2012

This event is organized by the Amsterdam Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Emotion and Sensory Studies, sponsored by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the Faculty of Arts, VU University.

The Transmission of Emotions

An interdisciplinary Symposium

10 February 2012, VU University

This symposium at the Vrije Universiteit brings together three scholars from different disciplines, who will each give an accessible
introduction to the present state of knowledge about the transmission of emotions in their field.

Agneta Fischer, professor in Social
Psychology at the University of Amsterdam will speak on emotional contagion;

Christian Keysers, Professor for the Social
Brain at the medical faculty of the University Medical Center Groningen and the
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience will speak on empathy and mirror neurons;

Jos van Berkum, professor in Discourse,
Cognition & Communication at Utrecht University will speak on language and emotion.

What do we know about the role of language in the  emotional effects that a book has on its reader? How does an audience get
‘infected’ with the emotions of a speaker? And what is the role of mirror  neurones in the transmission of emotions? With three lectures and ample room  for discussion, this symposium aims to stimulate (further) interaction between  different academic disciplines.

Organisation:

Kristine Steenbergh, Amsterdam Centre for  Cross-Disciplinary Study of the Emotions and the Senses, VU University Amsterdam. This interdisciplinary seminar is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts of VU University and an NWO VENI grant.

Registration closed on 25 January 2012.