17 December 2013
From the Director
Sincerity, emotions and public mourning When Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, a tsunami of public mourning broke out. Britons from all walks of life were shown weeping in public. A million people lined the streets for the funeral procession; an estimated 2.5 billion worldwide watched the funeral on TV. In Paris, the Flame of Liberty statue was unofficially co-opted as a memorial. Years later, people still left memorial messages there.
It’s too early to calculate full numbers, but already millions of South Africans have attended ceremonies at the Day of Prayer announced last weekend on the death of Nelson Mandela. Many of them, too, wept as they sang or prayed. A constant vigil has been kept outside his house in Houghton; we know the sidelines of his funeral route, too, will be packed with emotional crowds. These people record a huge range of emotions: sadness at his passing, gratitude for his great achievements, pride in his statesmanship, honour for his memory, the recollection of the intense fear from which he delivered many black South Africans, and the intense relief of white South Africans when he successfully took on the Presidency of the post-apartheid state.
No one, I think, doubts the genuineness of these emotions. Directly or indirectly, Nelson Mandela influenced the lives of millions, we say, and it seems only fitting that they should remember it. But the case of Princess Diana is less clear—it’s perhaps easier to question the sincerity of mourners who never knew her personally, and may have seen her only as a kind of media icon of the youth and beauty of the Royal Family. Is this kind of mourning ‘real’? Or is it only public hysteria, with no individual sincerity?
But if we make this distinction — between a ‘sincere’ private emotion, as opposed to a less sincere crowd expression of feeling — then what are we to make of the mourning and gratitude expressed at Nelson Mandela’s death, and for his life?It too is very publicly expressed; and much of it is apparently felt by people who can never have known Mandela personally. So is it not entirely ‘sincere’ either? (Surely we don’t want to say that!) And what are we to make of some chilling statistics that allege that in the four weeks after Princess Diana’s funeral the suicide rate in England and Wales rose by 17% as a whole, compared to the same period in the previous four years? Surely an emotion that leads to suicide has to be viewed as ‘real’, even if it is in part publicly generated and expressed?
Looking back in history, what, again, do we make of those many mass emotions (often associated with some religious or devotional movements) that are well-attested in our sources? The mixture of piety, ethnic pride and fear of ‘the other’ that drove thousands of Europeans either on crusading ventures to the Middle East, or to ‘crusades’ against out-groups in their own society, such as heretics, or Jews? The manifestations of joy and gladness (admittedly, some initiated by the use of rent-a-crowds) when popular monarchs such as Elizabeth I entered their capital cities? Were these all ‘unreal’? Yet they, too, certainly had real effects — wars, economic developments, the power to maintain or destabilise monarchs.
Maybe the truth is that we are wrong even to try to set up a distinction between sincere, private emotion and less ‘real’ public emotional expression. An emotion may be no less sincerely held because it is expressed and intensified in large groups, rather than in individuals alone. Certainly the effects of public emotion can be large-scale, direct and important. We need to understand even those public outbursts of emotion that we might, at first, be disinclined to believe - not just the ones like those at Nelson Mandela’s death, that we all feel we can heartily endorse.
On November 25-27, The University of Queensland (UQ) Node of the Centre for History of Emotions was delighted to host “Arts and Rhetorics of Emotion in Early Modern Europe”, the 2013 annual conference — or “Collaboratory”— of CHE’s Meanings Program. The conference invited presenters and guests from a diverse range of disciplines — intellectual and social history, literary criticism, musicology, and performance studies, to name just a few — to explore the active role of aesthetic and rhetorical techniques in conditioning emotional experience in Europe between 1500 and 1800.
UQ CHE’s Director, Peter Holbrook, and ARC Postdoctoral Fellows Brandon Chua and Ross Knecht were pleased to welcome to Brisbane three keynote speakers: Lynn Enterline (Vanderbilt University), Christopher Tilmouth (Peterhouse, The University of Cambridge), and Vanessa Agnew (The University of Michigan). Enterline’s lecture considered Tudor literature and drama in light of the discursive practices of early modern educational institutions, while Tilmouth addressed eighteenth-century literary treatments of sentimentalism. The interdisciplinary emphasis of the Collaboratory was underlined by Agnew’s presentation on the affective dimensions of music in early modern cross-cultural encounters.
Other international guests included Indira Ghose (The University of Fribourg and CHE Partner Investigator), Simon Haines (Chinese University of Hong Kong), John Roe (The University of York), and Tom Bishop (The University of Auckland), who joined speakers from CHE’s Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and UWA Nodes and from UQ and other universities around Australia. The event saw a range of scholarly approaches brought to bear on the question of the relation between rhetoric and emotion, with presenters addressing such topics as the evolution of the novel; the role of affect in Shakespearean drama; early modern stage practice; political satire and polemic; and discursive modes of self-creation and self-discipline.
A highlight of the Collaboratory was the presentation of the first Australian performance of Johann Christoph Pepusch’s Venus and Adonis, a masque of 1715 with a libretto by Colley Cibber. Produced by Jane Davidson (UWA, and CHE Deputy Director) from a score edited by Samantha Owens (UQ, and an Associate Investigator with the Centre), the masque featured the performances of Lotte Betts-Dean as Venus, Vivien Hamilton as Adonis, and Stephen Grant as Mars, with musical direction by Donald Nicolson. The production was made possible by a UQ-UWA Bilateral Collaboration Award, the collaboration of CHE, The University of Queensland School of Music, and The University of Queensland Art Museum. Back to Top
Taking “Criminal” Justice to the Huntington
The Huntington Library and CHE jointly sponsored the conference “‘Criminal’ Justice during the Long Eighteenth Century: Theatre, Representation and Emotion in the Courtroom and the Public Sphere”, which took place at the Huntington’s beautiful site in San Marino, California, over 1 – 2 November 2013.
Convened by David Lemmings, Leader of the Change Program, the meeting featured invited speakers from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as Australia. The principal objective was to encourage a new wave of historical studies about crime and justice in eighteenth-century Britain, emphasizing the importance of emotions and the “theatre” of justice in this period as principal elements constituting public opinion.
“Rather than studying the details of the administration of justice, I am most interested in virtual representations of crime and disorder in the press, and especially in the newspapers, which constituted the life-blood of social and cultural exchange across eighteenth-century Britain”, said David Lemmings. He argued that these stories constituted the reality of crime and punishment for most people, especially outside London, and insisted that they depended on "performing" emotions, both in court and in media representations of trials.
The first day of the conference concentrated on popular “news” about crimes, criminals and punishment, stressing the representation of emotions. Dana Rabin (University of Illinois) discussed the “last dying speeches” of women accused of murdering their babies, while Andrea McKenzie (University of Victoria) looked at the representation of female parricide or “petty treason” defendants (like, for example, Catherine Hayes, who was burned at the stake for murdering her husband in 1726). Both attended closely to the emotions manifested in these “performances” and considered them as cultural work designed to satisfy pre-existing expectations of emotional narratives appropriate to the circumstances of women conceived as mothers and wives. In addition, Esther Snell (Southampton Solent University) considered the representation of trials for rape at the Old Bailey in the eighteenth century, and compared their treatment among different forms of publications, concluding that some may have served to titillate their readers, while others aimed to advise victims of rape about appropriate emotional behaviour in court.
Two speakers focussed on the apparent conflict between the emotional objectives of the English criminal justice system in demonizing crime and terrifying potential criminals, and the sympathetic treatment of particular criminals by the press. Thus Randall McGowen (University of Oregon) discussed the notorious case of the Reverend Dr. Dodd, known as “the Macaroni Parson” who was executed for forgery in 1777. Dodd was a celebrity preacher, famous for appealing to his audiences’ feelings, and he constructed a sentimental narrative out of his trial and execution, hoping thereby to secure a royal pardon. Robert Shoemaker (University of Sheffield) further developed this theme in his analysis of criminals who achieved celebrity status in the press. Both of these speakers showed how the growth of print culture in the eighteenth century facilitated the growth of commercial imperatives that encouraged emotions among members of the public that were seriously “off-message” from the perspective of the governing authorities.
The second day of the conference focussed on emotions in courtrooms and lawyers’ performances in trials, especially as reproduced by print media. Looking at eighteenth and early nineteenth-century English criminal trials in the context of their “lawyerisation” from the mid-1700s, Simon Devereaux (University of Victoria), pointed out that emotion was always a feature of these public adversarial contests, but the lawyers created a different form of theatre, clearly influenced by their appreciation of popular drama. In his paper David Lemmings discussed Thomas Erskine, who was the pre-eminent English barrister of the late eighteenth century, and considered how his dramatically successful performances in trials for adultery and treason appealed to moral sentiments associated with the family, while stressing their importance for the British nation in wartime. Lemmings showed how these performances were variously represented by newspapers with different political allegiances, however, thereby constituting a crisis of moral sentiments in the contemporary context of public opinion divided by opposing reactions to the French Revolution. Additionally, Katie Barclay (The University of Adelaide), discussing early nineteenth-century Irish trials, emphasized the masculine culture of courts. By interrogating various genres of emotional communication, ranging from classical rhetoric to banter, she demonstrated that lawyers deployed emotional strategies in court designed to sway judges and juries who subscribed to “manly” ideals of justice. Allyson May (University of Western Ontario) followed by comparing the rhetorical styles of criminal barristers in Erskine’s day with styles of advocacy current among Old Bailey counsel in the early to mid-nineteenth century. She argued that the performances of Charles Phillips, the leading barrister between 1825 and 1840, might best be understood as a product of the same emotional culture as Charles Dickens, in so far as they demonstrated similar sensibilities to those characteristic of Dickens’ novels.
Finally, Hal Gladfelder (University of Manchester), foregrounded one of the central preoccupations of the conference – the unprecedented broadcasting of justice to the general public via the proliferation of textual accounts – and stressed how ultimately they communicated terror. Indeed, it appears that the expanded public gaze represented by the eighteenth-century media’s enhanced attention to criminal trials and the competing narratives of lawyers may have rendered justice as more terrifying, because it represented starkly the emotional helplessness of ordinary people in the grip of arbitrary power.
As David Lemmings said at the conclusion of the conference, discussions about the representation of emotions, performance and theatre promise to make significant conceptual advances in British socio-legal history. The Huntington’s Director of Research, Dr. Steve Hindle, suggested that he should edit a collection of essays from the papers presented. Back to Top
Early in December the Shaping the Modern program at The University of Melbourne hosted “Fire Stories”, a conference dedicated to examining emotional responses to fire across the ages. The event brought together academics from a range of disciplines, curators, survivors of bushfires and even fire-fighters, in a fruitful, cross-disciplinary gathering.
“Fire Stories” began on a high note with a beautiful Murnong Song engaging with fire through the Murnong flower, which regenerates after a burn. The song was performed by Mandy Nicholson, a Wurundjeri artist and Indigenous languages expert. The opening keynote address was given by Danielle Clode of Flinders University, exploring emotion and evolution in response to bushfires and issues like risk-taking and preparedness.
The conference was filled with diverse and though-provoking engagements with fire and burning (a fuller account of individual papers and panels is available via the CHE blog). At the lunchtime of day one, Penelope Lee, CHE Education and Outreach Officer, gave an inspiring talk at the Dax Centre, offering delegates a taster of the Bushfire Exhibition that will open in 2015. The first day ended with a keynote by Bill Gammage (ANU), whose talk built on his research into indigenous fire practices in 1788. “Burn, and burn regularly” was Gammage’s advice to modern-day land managers, as he pointed us to the past for lessons on how to live with fire in this sunburnt country.
Day two began with an energetic and wide-ranging study of beacon fires by Alan Krell (UNSW/CoFA), whose talk moved from flames in ancient Greece to Peter Jackson’s film Lord of the Rings. Arguing for a reading of the Pharos Lighthouse of Alexandria as a form of monumental sublime, Krell also considered signal fires as emotional markers or beacons. Rachel Fensham and Andrish St Claire offered a panel addressing performative responses to fire. It was followed by a dance performance in which Ellen Davies, accompanied by Jack Tan on piano, demonstrated a balletic response to the bushfires of February 1926, “Spirit of the Bushfire”.
The second afternoon provided a forum for bushfire survivors present on their experiences, with Daryl Taylor theorizing some of his own fire experiences. Katrin Oliver talked about her experiences as a social worker, helping Black Saturday survivors to deal with trauma through creative work. Artist Louise Foletta then spoke of the danger to her farm on February 7, 2009, while showing a selection of her extremely powerful paintings of the catastrophe. Artistic responses to fire continued to be a key concern for art therapist Janine Brophy-Dixon, who spoke of her postcard project, which enabled bushfire survivors to represent their personal fire stories through annotating and illustrating cards. Chris McAuliffe then went on to think about visual depictions of fire from the nineteenth century, most notably William Strutt’s famous Black Saturday of 1862.
The event ended with a keynote by Pat Simons (The University of Michigan) who took the audience on an astounding and incisive tour of fire representations from the ancient to the modern, focusing particularly on the hearth.
“The calibre of the papers was consistently excellent and the conference has begun an important sequence of debates that will contribute to the Shaping the Modern program in years to come”, Grace Moore, Fire Stories organizer and Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Melbourne said. Back to Top
Children's Literature, Childhood Death and the Emotions 1500-1800
Death remains a very sensitive topic, particularly when it comes to the death of a child. Although researchers have started exploring children’s literature and childhood culture during the period of 1500-1800 up to now, the emotions relating to children and childhood, and the ways in which such feelings were represented to the young in the literature and accompanying images created for, about, and occasionally by them, have been largely unexplored.
Very little is known about how one of the most emotionally-charged and poignant subjects was handled: childhood death. The symposium entitled “Children's Literature, Childhood Death and the Emotions 1500-1800”, hosted on 5 and 6 December 2013 at UWA in conjunction with the Children’s Literature Unit of Newcastle University, UK, drew a range of academics working across a number of different disciplines. They investigated the question of how children experienced, were taught about, and were taught to manage the powerful emotions associated with the death of children – from siblings, friends, and fictional characters to their own impending death. Also of interest were the emotions children’s deaths provoked in others, whether they be parents, grandparents, friends, or doctors.
In addition to materials created specifically for children – such as “Sunday School Reward Books”, moral and cautionary tales, miracle texts, and chapbooks – a vast array of rare and illuminating sources were explored, including diaries, journals, letters, teaching materials, medical treatises, drawings, samplers, ballads, legal papers and instructions for rituals.
The symposium commenced with a presentation by the keynote speaker Annemarieke Willemsen, from the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands, whose paper gave a historical background to the conference theme and period by exploring how the death of children was perceived and presented in Western Europe from classical times to c.1800.
Presenters such as Susan Broomhall (UWA), Bob Weston (UWA) and John Boulton (The University of Sydney) added a serious note to the discussion by analysing real cases of childhood death in the medical texts and stories of various communities and cultures. Kimberley Reynolds (Newcastle University, UK), who coordinated the symposium, took delegates into the world of children’s literature in her presentation entitled “Short graves: Images of Child-Death in Early-Modern Texts for Children”, which was then supplemented by presentations on medieval miracle tales, songs, hymns, and sermons; Early Modern poems, autobiographical writings, and deathbed stories; and eighteenth-century correspondence, by academics from The University of Yamanashi (Japan), The University of Adelaide, The University of Melbourne and The University of Western Australia.
“One of the most memorable moments of the symposium came towards the end, when we connected via video link to Newcastle University in the UK”, said Ciara Rawnsley, one of the presenters.
“We were joined by a group of postgraduate students and a select panel of pre-eminent academics including Matthew Grenby, Andrew Lacey, and Shehzana Mamujee, all from Newcastle University, as well as Alec Ryrie, from Durham University. In my opinion, the symposium really fostered an interdisciplinary approach and facilitated connections across countries, cultures, and time periods”, Rawnsley said. Back to Top
Violence and Emotions
Early October saw academics gather at UWA for the "Violence and Emotions in Early Modern Europe, 1400-1800" symposium, which had it all -- from Nostradamus, the desire for punishment and revenge, guilt, anger, plagues, fear, murders, to natural disasters.
Participants explored the way in which emotions engendered and sustained violence in Europe over this period. Four sessions took participants along a route of “Crime and Punishment”, “Disaster and Providence”, “The Religious, Medical and Supernatural”, and “Print, Propaganda and Histories”, with emotions weaving the tale.
“Crime and Punishment” revealed to participants an early modern Europe with descriptions of tortured, dismembered bodies, exhibited at the gates, while the news of were broadcast via the medium of song. Lisa Beaven’s talk (La Trobe University) highlighted the emotion of “misericordia”, a combination of grief and compassion for those who suffered at the hands of others.
While Denis Crouzet (Université de Paris-Sorbonne) painted a picture of Nostradamus’ prophetic writing, CHE Chief Investigator (CI) Susan Broomhall showcased 23 journal accounts from across 16th-Century France, looking at how emotions were articulated about disastrous and violent weather events, and their attribution to the phenomena itself, to God, or to the people who experienced it. CHE CI Charles Zika’s research on the vast archive of human and divine action put together by the Zurich pastor Johann Jakob Wick also pointed out how many natural and meteorological events were read as signs of God’s growing impatience, the boiling over of his anger, the registering of His disgust, and expressions of His zeal for justice or mercy.
The supernatural theme was further explored by Sarah Ferber (The University of Wollongong) who noted that the “discernment of spirits” was required to judge whether events in the physical world were manifestations of divine rather than diabolical influence. In a paper exploring the emotional complexity of the practice of witch scratching in early modern England, Judith Bonzol (The University of Sydney) stated: “Scratching a witch and obtaining her blood was adopted as an efficacious method by sick and debilitated people to find relief from their afflictions”. Robert Weston pointed out how 17th- and 18th-century medicine utilized treatments considered by some contemporaries to be acts of violence.
Our final session examined how print shaped emotions for propaganda and historical writing. Troy Heffernan (The University of Southern Queensland) investigated “Propaganda in the English Civil War” while Giovanni Tarantino analysed John Lockman’s 1670 History of the Cruel Sufferings of the Protestants, and Others, by Popish Persecutions.
The diversity of papers helped the group draw out the changing relationship of emotional language in textual and visual sources, and consider carefully how it influenced the experience, repression or conceptualization of violence over this period.
The full program with short abstracts can be downloaded here Back to Top
In November 2013, Google maps launched an online tour of Rome’s Catacomb of Priscilla, and the 55th Venice Biennale came to a close, along with its first ever exhibition pavilion from the Vatican. Unconnected? By no means! It’s all about the emotional and spiritual power of tangible, material things — relics and images.
This connectedness of emotions and sacred space was the topic at the “Sacred Places, Pilgrimage and Emotions” Collaboratory held at The University of Melbourne in May earlier this year. Those who missed the event now have the chance to get a snapshot of what was said. Radio National’s “Encounter” show hosted a program entitled “Re-creation” where five of the speakers (Lawrence Carroll, Dr Simon Ditchfield, Dr Dee Dyas, Dr Felicity Harley-McGowan and Professor Susan Karant-Nunn) were interviewed. To listen to the show go to: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/encounter/re-creation/5021422 Back to Top
Jane Davidson to Melbourne
CHE’s Deputy Director will be taking up the position as inaugural head of The University of Melbourne’s major research initiative in the Creative and Performing Arts, based in the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (VCA & MCM) from 3rd March 2014.
Although moving from The University of Western Australia to The University of Melbourne, Davidson, one of the world’s most respected performance and music psychology academics, will continue in her role as Deputy Director of CHE.
Her new role will consolidate and further build interdisciplinary research links between CHE, The University of Melbourne and the Arts community within Australia and internationally.
Professor Davidson said she was very much looking forward to her new post and cementing strong relationships within the national and international Arts communities.
Davidson researches in the area of music performance studies, including emotion and expression in performance, vocal studies, performances influenced by historical contexts, musical development, and music and health.
In 2011, she became the Deputy Director of CHE. She is former Editor of the discipline-leading journal Psychology of Music (1997-2001); former Vice-President of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (2003-2006); and was President of the Musicological Society of Australia (2010 and 2011).
The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of the VCA & MCM Associate Dean (Research), Gary McPherson, said he was delighted to have someone of Davidson’s calibre coming on board.
“Jane brings great experience in the area of music performance studies and is committed to positioning the VCA & MCM as a world leader in research within the creative and performing arts”, he said.
“This is a fantastic appointment for the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and a valuable asset for the broader Arts community. With the expertise Professor Davidson brings, we look forward to seeing her excel in this role”. Back to Top
- Journal Articles
- L.Marshall, ‘Plague in the City: Identifying the Subject of Giovanni di Paolo’s Vienna Miracle of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino’, in Renaissance Studies, 27(5), November 2013, pp. 654-80.
- White, R.S. 2013, 'Emotional Landscapes: Romantic Travels in Scotland', KEATS-SHELLEY REVIEW, 27, 2, pp. 76-90
White, R.S. 2013, “The Critical Backstory” in Twelfth Night: A Critical Reader, Eds. Alison Findlay and Liz Oakley-Brown, pp. 27-51, Bloomsbury.
White, R.S. 2013, “Making Something Out of ‘Nothing’ in Shakespeare” in Shakespeare Survey 66: Working with Shakespeare. Ed. Peter Holland, pp. 232-245. Cambridge University Press. Edited Books
K.Barclay, D.Simonton (Eds), Women in Eighteenth-Century Scotland: Intimate, Intellectual and Public Lives, [Farnham: Ashgate, 2013], ISBN 978-1-4094-5046-7. Back to Top
Selected Forthcoming Events
Public Lecture: “The Battle of the Quills: Luther and the German Reformation”
Presenter: CHE Advisory Board Member Prof. Lyndal Roper (The University of Oxford)
Date: 18 December 2013
Time: 6.30pm - 7.30pm
Venue: Public Lecture Theatre Old Arts Building The University of Melbourne PARKVILLE VIC 3010
To register visit: http:// alumni.online.unimelb.edu.au/luther
For further information please contact Rochelle Sullivan or phone 9035 8358.
Workshop “Praise of Passion in the Renaissance and Reformation”
Date: 24 January 2014
Time: 10.30am - 12.30pm
Venue: Level 7 Common Room, Arts West, The University of Melbourne
Presenter: Prof. Richard Strier (The University of Chicago)
Public Lecture: “Mind, Nature, Heterodoxy, and Iconoclasm in The Winter’s Tale”
Presenter: Prof. Richard Strier (The University of Chicago)
Date: Friday 24 January 2014
Venue: Room 106, John Medley Building, The University of Melbourne
Change Collaboratory: “Emotion, Ritual and Power in Europe: 1200 to the Present”
Date: 10-12 February 2014
Time: 9.00am - 5.30pm
Venues: The University of Adelaide (Public Lecture 10 Feb), and The National Wine Centre (Collaboratory 11-12 Feb)
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 January 2013.
Symposium: “Try Walking in My Shoes: Empathy and Portrayals of Mental Illness on Screen”
Date: 13 - 14 February 2014
Location: The Dax Centre, Kenneth Myer Building, The University of Melbourne.
Film Screening: “Romulus, My Father”
Date: Thursday 13 February 2014
Venue: The Auditorium, Kenneth Myer Building, The University of Melbourne
Conference: “Changing Hearts: Performing Jesuit Emotions Between Europe, Asia and The Americas”
Date: 7 - 8 March 2014
Venue: Trinity College, University of Cambridge (UK)
“Languages of Emotion: Translations & Transformations Collaboratory”
Date: 10 - 12 June 2014
Venue: The University of Western Australia
Call for papers deadline: 20 January 2014
“Literature & Affect Conference 2014”
Date: 2 - 4 July 2014.
Venue: The University of Melbourne
“CISH/ICHS Historicizing Emotions Theme Day”
Date: 23 - 29 August 2015.
Venue: TBA, Jinan, China.
Call for papers closes 31 December 2013