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have been superseded by both neuroscientific insights about neuro-plasticity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
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
This chapter describes the genealogy of the heterosexual in relation to its counterpart by looking closely at two distinctive but interconnected systems: sexology and marital advice literature. As a great classificatory project, sexology turns an undifferentiated sexual nature into multiple essences we now term sexual identities. Practising the scientific method of 'close and careful observation', Stella Browne believes her cases 'are absolutely distinguishable from affectionate friendship' and 'episodical homosexuality'. In the closing months of the First World War, sex reformers and sex educators actively developed and disseminated a scientific knowledge of sex by drawing on the work of Havelock Ellis and others. Using the sexological framework to impose order and substance on the messiness of human sexuality, Browne uses the case study method to produce a knowable sexual subject against its nameable opposite.
Unconventionality and queerness in Katherine Everett’s life writing
Katherine Everett's 1949 memoir, Bricks and Flowers, narrates a remarkable life. Born into the Anglo-Irish gentry in the 1870s, Everett escaped an abusive mother by moving to Britain as a teenager. This chapter provides a key to understanding a life like Everett's, which seems simultaneously to invite and to resist a queer reading. It argues that it is possible to arrive at a richer understanding of life outside the conventions of heteronormativity and, perhaps, of homonormativity as well. The chapter describes queer critical history in Everett's life-writing, of the strange-to-us category of unconventionality. Homosexuality, or the possibility of it, appears only in muted and intermittent ways in Bricks and Flowers. For Everett, however, the war put a temporary break in her unconventional career as a builder and pushed her towards more typical means of earning a living for a woman: nursing and working as a personal companion.
This book demonstrates a fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas between British queer history and art history. It engages with self-identified lesbians and with another highly important source for queer history: oral history. The book highlights the international dimension of what to date has been told as a classic British tale of homosexual law reform and also illuminates the choices made and constraints imposed at the national level. It embarks on a queer critical history, arguing for the centrality, in John Everett Millais's life-writing, of the strange-to-us category of unconventionality. The book aims to expose the queer implications of celebrity gossip writing. It offers a historical analysis of the link between homosexual men and gossip by examining the origins of the gossip column in the British tabloid press in the three decades after 1910. The book provides an overview of the emergence and consolidation of a number of new discourses of homosexuality as a social practice in postwar Britain. It explores a British variant on homophile internationalism before and immediately after the 1967 Sexual Offences Act by mapping Grey's cross-border connections while noting strain against transnational solidarity. The book focuses on evidence collected by the 1977 Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship to illustrate how gay men conceptualised the place of pornography in their lives and its role in the broader struggle for the freedom.
Eric Weitz has claimed that during the Weimar Republic, 'women had greater choices in their lives than ever before'. Women were able to take advantage of the employment and professional opportunities that the Weimar Republic was making accessible because they were able to control their fertility. Contraceptive advice became more widespread, and the use of contraception to limit family size became accepted as couples sought to ensure a better future for their children. Felix Gilbert has pointed out that the difference between 'actual behaviour and publicly accepted values' may be 'considered characteristic of contrasting attitudes that had developed in Germany'. The revolution granted women equal suffrage rights, and women could participate actively in politics, at all levels, in keeping with their ideological beliefs. Many of the rights and opportunities granted to women in the early years of the Weimar Republic were not universally welcomed, by either men or women.
This chapter describes the particular developments associated with the publication of Him Exclusive, Him International and Him Monthly and highlights the cultural work that pornography did for gay men in the 1970s. It focuses on both the prosecution of gay-oriented book sellers and publishers by legal officials in the mid-970s and critiques of pornography that were generated by members of the gay left. The chapter explores how various agents of the state, charged with enforcing British censorship laws, sought to police not only the boundaries of propriety but also the expression of queer political sensibilities and subjectivities. It also focuses on evidence collected by the 1977 Williams Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship to illustrate how gay men conceptualised the place of pornography in their lives and its role in the broader struggle for the freedom.