The conclusion appraises the potential future of the history of emotions, looking at the methodological, linguistic and disciplinary barriers to the development of the field. This focuses in particular on the opportunities available to re-cast traditional historical periodisation and on the need to reach out to the neurosciences, not merely to borrow, but also to lend substantial historical insight into what emotions are. The book ends with a section on teaching and on the necessity for students of history to practice the history of emotions.
This chapter argues for the full integration of the history of the senses within the history of emotions. The senses are shown to be contingent and historical, and directly tied to a broader conceptual language of ‘feeling’. The chapter explores the connection of sensation and evaluation, focusing on the particular questions of callousness and pain. New historical methods are sought via contemporary brain- and neuroscience. This culminates in an attempt at rapprochement between the history of emotions and neurohistory, with exciting possibilities for the inclusion of genetics and epigenetics in historical analysis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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’.