Rob Boddice

An overview of the historiography of emotions that makes a call for the historicisation of the human being. The chapter emphasises the history of emotions component to the narratives of Thucydides and Michelet, before finding a programme for the history of emotions in the early years of the discipline of psychology. The chapter also details the flirtation of the Annales school with emotions, and the components of psychohistory that might yet be salvaged. It concludes by appraising the historiographical turn to the neurosciences, and the range of available sources that allow us to practice the history of emotions.

in The history of emotions
Author: Rob Boddice

The history of emotions is the first accessible textbook on the theories, methods, achievements, and problems in this burgeoning field of historical inquiry. Historians of emotion borrow heavily from the disciplines of anthropology, psychology, philosophy and neuroscience, and stake out a claim that emotions have a past and change over time. This book introduces students and professional historians to the main areas of concern in the history of emotions, discussing how the emotions intersect with other lines of historical research relating to power, practice, society and morality. Providing a narrative of historical emotions concepts, the book is the go-to handbook for understanding the problems of interpreting historical experience, collating and evaluating all the principal methodological tools generated and used by historians of emotion. It also lays out an historiographical map of emotions history research in the past and present, and sets the agenda for the future of the history of emotions. Chiefly centring on the rapprochement of the humanities and the neurosciences, the book proposes a way forward in which disciplinary lines become blurred. Addressing criticism from both within and without the discipline of history, The history of emotions offers a rigorous defence of this new approach, demonstrating its potential to lie at the centre of historiographical practice, as well as the importance of this kind of historical work for our general understanding of the human brain and the meaning of human experience.

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Rob Boddice

The introduction puts forward the book's main claims. 1. Emotions change over time: that is to say, emotions are as much the subject of historical enquiry as anything else. 2. Emotions are not merely the effect of historical circumstances, expressed in the aftermath of events, but are active causes of events and richly enhance historiographical theories of causation. 3. Emotions are at the centre of the history of the human being, considered as a biocultural entity that is characterised as a worlded body, in worlds of other worlded bodies. 4. Emotions are at the centre of the history of morality, for it is becoming increasingly unlikely that any account of human virtue, morals or ethics can be devoid of an analysis of its historical emotional context. Taken together, the history of emotions is therefore putting the emotions at the centre of historiographical practice.

in The history of emotions
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Rob Boddice

The final chapter brackets a philosophical connection between emotions and morality in order to explore an historical connection that puts the study of justice in the purview of historical research. It discusses the contingency of the moral sense and introduces the ‘moral economy’ as an important category of analysis for historians of emotion.

in The history of emotions
Rob Boddice

This chapter explores the power dynamics in emotional prescription, as well as the political conceit implicit in separating emotion from reason in discourses of entitlement to power. This encompasses a discussion of how emotions come to be ‘lost’, and of the social evaluation of emotions along lines of class, gender, race and species. This chapter ultimately focuses on the importance of emotional prescription and emotive success in qualifications of what it means to be a human being.

in The history of emotions
Rob Boddice

Beginning with an account of the politics of staking a claim to emotional universality among humans, the chapter details ways in which the history of emotions can both speak to and undermine psychological and affect-theory approaches that would deterministically connect emotions and facial expressions. The chapter explores the ways in which ‘basic emotions’ models have been superseded by both neuroscientific insights about neuro-plasticity and by practice theory. This is particularly exemplified by a close study of what happens when we experience ‘empathy’.

in The history of emotions
Rob Boddice

The architecture of emotive dynamics is, in a tangible sense, partly located in the physical architecture of the worlds around us. Insofar as spaces, places, buildings and objects are themselves historical, their character and the ways with which they interact become centrally important in understanding the particularities of emotional style in context. The chapter asks, ‘where are emotions?’, or, literally, ‘how are emotions built?’ What is the relationship, moreover, between emotions and space? The chapter goes on to explain the ways in which objects acquire their emotional qualities.

in The history of emotions
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Rob Boddice

This chapter explores historiographical debates about emotion words, particularly concerning whether historians should employ the word ‘emotion’ as a meta-category to encompass historical iterations of emotion-like phenomena. Erring firmly on the side of rejection in this debate, the chapter goes on to analyse particular linguistic interventions in emotions research, as well as the vicissitudes of individual emotion words, such as ‘empathy’.

in The history of emotions
Patrick Peel

Americans did not initially view the Constitution’s commitments to freedom of speech and press as individual, counter-majoritarian rights, standing over and against the structural, democratic directives of the American constitution. Instead, they held an alternative theory: to have the status of a free person (a liber homo) is to live in a free state, such that one has a set of fundamental liberties secured from relationships of dependence, which in turn requires some exercise of control over one’s government so that the institutions necessary for one’s political independence (e.g. courts, legislatures, executives) do not themselves become sources of oppression. Political liberty, they argued, is rooted in an analysis of what it means to speak of being a free person, a member of a free society living in a free state. In making this argument, Americans were reaching back to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European debates regarding freedom of speech and press within free states, in contrast to monarchies, but doing so in a revolutionary context and expanding public sphere. The effect of inserting this argument into the American ratification debates was to establish for Americans the premise necessary to justify continuous, organised, oppositional political speech. Where political parties and the speech of factious men were once viewed as antithetical to responsible republican self-government, the development of the idea of legitimate contestatory, fiery speech, as part and parcel of party opposition within a constitutional democracy, marked a new turn in the history of American political thought.

in Freedom of speech, 1500–1850
Samuel Bailey and the nineteenth-century theory of free speech
Greg Conti

In 1829 the Westminster Review, the official journal of Benthamite principles with which both Mills and many other radical luminaries were involved, declared a recent publication to be the ‘second greatest of all comparatively modern books’, after Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Surprisingly, this accolade was directed at a work that has subsequently become unknown: Essays on the Formation and Publication of Opinions by Samuel Bailey. Though forgotten today, Bailey was a celebrated political economist, writer on parliamentary reform, mental philosopher and, above all, champion of toleration and a free press. The Formation and Publication was a vigorous defence of freedom of thought and discussion, and it had a lasting (if now unacknowledged) impact on the way this subject was handled throughout the nineteenth century. This chapter provides the first reconstruction and assessment of Bailey’s theory of intellectual-expressive liberty. In particular, it homes in on four main elements of his thought: (1) his innovative account of social intolerance; (2) his notion of a duty to pursue and speak the truth; (3) his psychological principle of the involuntariness of belief; and (4) his conception of the marketplace of ideas. It also touches on the legacy of Bailey’s theory of free thought and speech in the history of political thought.

in Freedom of speech, 1500–1850