15 May 2013
From the Deputy Director
As leader of the Performance Program – where we investigate how emotions were understood, expressed, displayed, transferred and constructed through the performing and visual arts – I have decided to open May’s newsletter with a special report on recent collaborations with three leading arts practitioners.
In March, ‘Early Music’ specialist Jordi Savall toured Australia and New Zealand with Celtic Viol, a project based on Scottish and Irish tunes as they may have been heard in the Elizabethan Court which, according to Ian Bell of Scotland’s Herald newspaper, displayed:
“not just his technical virtuosity – though there's certainly that – nor the sweet, plangent sounds he draws from his variously sized instruments [viols]. The art of Savall goes far deeper, right to the heart of his reverent, wholehearted approach to making music. Listening to Savall is a lesson in musical mindfulness.”
That musical mindfulness might be regarded as the successful achievement of a delicate balance between careful historical research contextualizing all aspects of the work, coupled with consummate technical and expressive musicianship, all aimed towards moving the passions of the audience. Of course, as far back as records exist, music’s role to modify mood and elicit emotional affect has been well documented, and this goal was at the forefront of Savall’s mind when creating his musical encounter with the Celtic past.
The Celtic Viol tour was a collaboration with CHE’s own senior visiting research fellow, Andrew Lawrence-King, scholar, harp-virtuoso and musical director. The two heavyweights of Early Music performance have worked together for more than a quarter of a century on many diverse and exciting projects. Their aims have been not only to present historical musical practices to modern audiences, but also to explore the history of emotions to illuminate topics of relevance to our modern world, such as global peace through examples of music’s emotional power to heal social conflicts of the past.
In 2010, Savall directed a project on the Borgia family exploring the rise of church and power in the Renaissance period. His project brings together examples of music, poetic testimonies, eulogies and critical accounts, encompassing the duration of the Dinastia Borja. Through these different forms of evidence, Savall ably represents the Borgias as important patrons of letters, arts and sciences. He acknowledges their reputations for debauched tastes and viciousness, highlighting that these were extraordinary people living in extreme times. In fact, violence in the exercise of power, along with slander, intrigue, and treachery, often with a hint of witchcraft and demonic involvement, were the staple diet of the Italian courts of the time. The intense fictionalization of the Borgias in modern times has led us to overlook how the family contributed in significant ways to European artistic expression.
The project produced by Savall, with Lawrence-King featuring in much of the music, resulted in a 3-CD collection and a wonderfully illustrated hardback book. Dinastia Borja won a Grammy award in the category of Best Small Ensemble Performance in 2011. The ensemble takes the audience on a musical journey through the seesawing religious and political opinions and actions along with the resultant emotional extremes of the times. For example, we hear the moving Agnus Dei from the Missa Hercules Rex of Josquin des Pres as a musical depiction of the grief surrounding the assassination of Ercole Strozzi, Lucrezia de Borgia’s confidante. Josquin, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were just three of the many artists associated with Lucrezia’s father, Rodrigo de Borja (Pope Alexander VI, 1492), who was a major arts patrons of the Italian Renaissance.
On 12 March 2013, CHE collaborated with both Savall and Lawrence-King in a public discussion on the Borgias and the arts. Music was played from the times of Turkish and Christian battles in Valencia in Spain – the city of the family’s origin- through to the heights of the Borgia’s political and religious papal power in the Vatican.
CHE arts partner The National Gallery of Victoria was represented by curator Carl Villis who also contributed to the discussion, specifically talking about Lucrezia de Borgia, who was long reputed to be treacherous, but it is now apparent that this view was more due to family associations than to her own actions. In 2008, Villis made a groundbreaking discovery when intensive research led him to conclude that an anonymous portrait of a young Italian woman, purchased by the gallery in 1965, was likely a portrait of Lucrezia. Through decoding the painting’s allegorical content, Villis was able to construct a character profile of an accomplished and beautiful young woman, named Lucrezia.
I was lucky enough to chair this fascinating discussion, which revealed the great insight and expertise of the three speakers. The date of the presentation coincided with the election of Pope Francis I, which served to highlight both the continuing power of the papacy and the emotional significance of such ceremonial events.
Linking back to the Grammy success of Savall and Lawrence-King in 2011, it has just been announced that Lawrence-King, applying practices from his CHE-supported research into emotional meaning in seventeenth century opera, has been awarded a Golden Mask – Russia’s equivalent to the Oscars. The award is for his musical direction of the earliest surviving opera, Emilio de Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo (Drama of the Soul & Body), first performed in Rome in 1600.
The opera was the first production for the new hall of Moscow’s Natalya Satz theatre, in Lawrence-King’s musical edition set to Alexey Parin’s Russian translation: Игра о Душе и Телe. It was nominated in four categories: Best Opera, Best Set Design (Valentina Ostankovich), Best Producer (Georgij Isaakian), Best Conductor (Andrew Lawrence-King).
At the recent award ceremony broadcast live on Russian TV’s Kultura channel from the Stanivlasky Theatre, Moscow, it was the outright winner of the highest award, the Jury’s Special Prize for all genres of music-drama (opera, operetta, ballet, musicals etc).
Our association with these groundbreaking arts practitioners is assisting CHE to translate and communicate history of emotions research to audiences across the globe.
The Pope and Jesuit Emotions
by Yasmin Haskell
Jorge Mario Bergoglio has chosen the papal name ‘Francis’, which will suggest to most Catholics the founder of the Franciscan order, Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis’ gentle and unassuming style, his poverty – if catching the bus and cooking one’s own meals really qualifies as poverty in the Latin American context – point to the medieval Italian saint who preached to the common people, and legendarily, to the birds. But Francis was also half the name of one of the Jesuits’ earliest saints, Francis-Xavier (1506-1552), the fervent and restless ‘Apostle to the Indes’, who took Catholic Christianity to India, Japan, and the East Indes in the early modern period, dying of a fever just fourteen kilometres from the shore of mainland China. Perhaps Pope Francis quietly gestures to this sixteenth century Jesuit missionary, too, who has come to represent the global reach of the Catholic Church, and embodies the evangelical zeal for ‘harvesting souls’ which fired so many members of his order in the early modern period.
So who were the Jesuits? The Society or Company of Jesus was a Catholic Reformation order founded in 1540 by Basque nobleman and former soldier, Ignatius of Loyola, and a bunch of his student friends (among them Francis-Xavier). They quickly earned a formidable and paradoxical reputation. The Pope’s crack troops were deployed from Messina to Macao, Paris to Paraguay, recruiting converts, fighting the spread of Protestantism, and educating the élites of Catholic Europe and her New World colonies. They conducted diplomatic business and scientific research, composed music and poetry, and shocked and awed audiences with theatre and pyrotechnics, art and architecture. Jesuits were prepared to die for their beliefs in faraway missions, but they were also accused of being slippery and self-serving. They championed native Indian rights, but enslaved Africans. In their ranks were hard-nosed heretic hunters, as well as defenders of the rights of ‘witches’, and believers in magic. Renowned for their chameleon-like ability to adapt to local circumstances – dressing as mandarins in China or brahmins in India – the proud and powerful ‘black robes’ couldn’t help but stand out even on Catholic home turf. Victims of their own success, the Jesuits were hounded out of France, Spain, Portugal, and the New World. The ‘Old’ Society of Jesus was shut down by the Pope in 1773.
The Society of Jesus was restored in 1814 and has regrown to become the single largest order of the Catholic Church. The ‘New’ Society has had its share of arch-conservatives, Nazi-resisters, freedom-fighters, and most recently, liberation theologians. It retains its former reputation for education and intellectual sophistication, and the twentieth century names of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (philosopher, mathematician, palaeontologist, and evolutionary biologist) and Frederick Copleston (philosopher and historian of philosophy) would not look out of place among the great biographical dictionaries of pre-modern Jesuit careers (e.g. Carlos Sommervogel’s Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus).
But the heart has always been just as important as the head in Jesuit theology, and much of the Society’s thinking, historically, has gone into questions of how to rouse, channel and discipline the emotions. Back to Top
Feeling Things: a Symposium on Objects and Emotions in History
CHE, Postgraduate Fellows, Sarah Randles and Stephanie Downes convened a one-day symposium entitled Feeling Things at The University of Melbourne node on Thursday 14 March, 2013.
The symposium, on the theme of ‘Objects and Emotions,’ developed out of the strong response to two sessions at the recent ANZAMEMS conference. The aim of the symposium was to further explore the role of material culture in the history of emotions, and to address the need to develop theoretical frameworks in order to analyse the ways in which objects could be both agents and carriers of emotionality.
Papers on a wide variety of objects from the medieval and early modern periods were presented at the conference including Romancing the Scone: the affective history of the Stone of Scone (from Alicia Marchant and Susan Broomhall), Christ’s Tears: Madame Sainte Larme in Medieval and Early Modern England and France (from Helen Hickey), Emotional Debris in Early Modern Letters (from Diana Barnes), The Stuff of Miracles: The Clothing of the Virgin in Medieval Chartres and Beyond (from Sarah Randles),Wampum – objects, exchange and emotions in colonial America (from Jacqueline Van Gent), and De scheepskist van Dirk Hartog: (Dirk Hartog’s Sea Chest): Accidental objects of VOC colonialism on the West Australian coast (from Susan Broomhall).
Participants also visited the Dax Centre Gallery, part of the Melbourne Brain Centre, for an introduction to some objects in the Dax Collection made by mental health patients.
The symposium concluded with a lively panel session, the speakers being joined by distinguished visitor, Professor William Reddy. The discussion covered questions of authenticity, materiality, the senses, the makers of artifacts, the nature of ‘things’, ‘matter’ and ‘objects’, the social relations that objects can maintain or rupture, and the ways in which objects accrue multiple meaning over time, and in different times. It was clear that there was much to be gained from thinking about how objects carry, deflect, transmit, gather or retain emotional meaning in historical contexts. Back to Top
Distinguished Visitor William M. Reddy at the Methods Collaboratory
Professor William Reddy of Duke University visited CHE nodes throughout Australia during March. He presented a well-attended public lecture Do Emotions Have a History? (video available here) at The University of Adelaide and The University of Melbourne, and stayed on in Melbourne to deliver the plenary paper The Self as a Domain of Effort: The Convergence of Neuroscience, Ethnographic, and Historical Evidence at the March Methods Collaboratory.
His exploration of this convergence gave rise to an excellent discussion opened by David Lemmings of the Adelaide CHE node. In his response, David asked “How do we disentangle a history of emotions from that of ethics? Is bad behavior simply a perception by the observer of inappropriate emotional expression that threatens the stability of the group rather than an issue of virtue or vice? This would match well with what Thomas Holt believes: that good is what attracts us and gives pleasure, and bad causes pain.” The conversation continued with Marcello Costa, a Professor of Neurophysiology at Flinders University, unpacking the mysteries of neural chain reactions and calling for a “new neuro-physics” that seeks to understand both the most primitive pain and most acute emotional agony. Peter Hollbrook of CHE at UQ weighed in, insisting that “we can’t reduce the human to the brain. It’s a fascinating question as to why and how this locationalism, or physicalism that reduces the human to the brain, disregarding culture, context, cognition, values, norms and ideas has so taken hold of influential sectors of modern society, both elite and popular.”
A dynamic open discussion moderated by Philippa Maddern followed these responses. Many thanks to our distinguished visitor for his expert contributions to CHE and the Methods Collaboratory. William Reddy’s recent publication The Making of Romantic Love Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE is available from The University of Chicago Press. For further reading from Reddy on striving to feel and emotion as the domain of effort, visit the Queen Mary’s University of London’s History of Emotions blog, where he was featured in September 2012.
Emotions on Display at Stations of the Cross Exhibition
By Catherine Czerw
During the most somber and sacred times on their religious calendar, the congregation of Perth’s Wesley Mission allows the physical interior of their beautiful nineteenth century church, and the traditional Easter services performed there, to be transfigured by an exhibition of contemporary art by a variety of Western Australian visual artists working across a wide range of media.
Perth’s Stations of the Cross exhibition was established five years ago when fifteen artists were invited to create an artwork relating to the Stations of the Cross. Some 75 artists have been involved since then. Originating in the late Middle Ages, the Stations of the Cross is a religious narrative that details the last stages of Jesus’ life, from his condemnation to death before Pilate and the taking up of his cross through to his eventual stripping, crucifixion and death at Golgotha. For centuries, these Stations have been represented around the walls of Christian churches in the form of painting, stained glass windows, carved relief and sculptures, but receive particular attention during Lent when they become the focus of meditation and prayer around themes such as pain, suffering, endurance, peace and rebirth.
While the narrative of the Stations has endured through the ages, relatively few artists today look to traditional religious art for their subject matter. Indeed many adhere to a set of formalist art principles that privilege a pure, unmediated art experience free from narrative, context and the representation of figures that we can recognise and identify. The exhibition undertaken by Wesley Uniting Church asks that visual artists look back to a dramatic religious story of the early Christian past shaped by medieval social, cultural and historical imperatives, so as to engage a contemporary and largely secular audience in conversations around universal human themes from outer pain to inner peace.
The Stations of the Cross exhibition is curated by Catherine Czerw, an Associate Investigator at the Perth node of CHE. Her research project is focussing on a suite of Stations of the Cross retableaus by Indigenous artist Julie Dowling. Back to Top
Broomhall’s Chain of Emotions
On April 24 2013, Professor Susan Broomhall was welcomed to Stirling by the Provost Michael Robbins. This was in recognition of her work through the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions with the unique artefacts of this historic city.
For over a year, Broomhall has worked in partnership with the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum. This week she presented the fruits of a research project in the form of a series of six greetings cards featuring Stirling Smith Museum objects. The objects have been researched by different early career researchers and the cards designed and presented in ways which will engage, intrigue and enlighten the recipient. Colin O’Brien, Chairman of the Smith Trustees said; “I am thrilled that students from the other side of the world have recognised the beauty and the significance of some of the objects in the Smith’s rich social history collections. I am sure that the publication of these lovely cards will lead to a greater appreciation of all that we have in the Stirling Smith.”
Some of the objects, like the six links of a chain from the healing pool of St. Fillan at Killin, have no intrinsic value. The thought of being chained up overnight, out of doors and in a remote place, as a cure for mental illness, is a chilling one. The card seeks to engage the emotions and senses of the reader, and to lead them to a deeper appreciation of the social and historical value of museums and museum collections.
"This has been an important research training project for early career scholars working with scholarly experts and practitioners in CHE and the Smith. Through the project, the researchers were able to develop museum-ready skills, learning not just how to pitch detailed research in an accessible and engaging way but also considering visual elements of the card design and identifying image details to capture readers' attention," Broomhall explained. "We're thrilled with the results and are grateful to the Smith staff for their willingness to participate in a unique experience for early career Australian scholars.
The cards go on sale this week at the Smith. For further details, click here
Shakespeare and Emotion: Then and Now
On 29th April the UQ Node of CHE teamed up with the School of English, Media Studies and Art History (EMSAH) to offer a second event to teachers in Queensland. The response was extremely positive, with many teachers involved in the outreach event, Shakespeare and Emotion: Then and Now. Presenters include Dr. Erin Sullivan, who is on an extended visit to UQ CHE from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, and UWA CHE Postdoctoral Research Fellow Penelope Woods. Their respective papers, Mind, body, and emotion in Shakespeare, and Stage kisses, stage blood and eavesdropping scenes: the young audience at Shakespeare’s Globe, explore how emotion conditions Shakespeare’s work and assures its continued relevance to contemporary audiences. Teachers participated in a round table discussion on practical ways to use knowledge about emotion to make Shakespeare relevant to students today.
These workshops for English teachers have been an excellent way to introduce a broader audience to the research that is being conducted within CHE, while providing teachers with resources and the opportunity to hear about new research by internationally renowned scholars in their field. Similar professional development events will be offered to secondary school teachers of History and Music in the second half of 2013. Back to Top
Genre, Affect and Authority in Early Modern Europe (1517-1688)
On July 11 and 12, the CHE node at The University of Melbourne is convening a conference exploring the struggle for political authority in early modern Europe through the creation and development of media such as public pamphleteering, anonymous libels and permanent popular playhouses.
From the Protestant Revolution to the Glorious Revolution, the terms and technologies of political struggle were radically transformed, from late medieval disputes to recognizably modern debates. Recent scholarship has returned to the proliferation and cross-pollination of genres in early modern Europe, showing how new genres emerged as partial responses to contemporaneous political, religious and media developments. These new genres develop as symbolic responses to real political problems, and in turn, create problems in their own right. In doing so, they provoke, channel and modify affect, often even being directed towards the confection and control of certain emotions. The problem of authority – of symbolic authority, of authorization, of authorship – thereby receives a new and decisive impetus in early modern Europe.
Keynote speakers, Ian Donaldson of The University of Melbourne and James Simpson of Harvard University, delve into the literature of Early Modern England to open a window on concerns of the time. Donaldson looks at the way in which two genres in particular were subjected to ridicule in early modern England: romantic comedy and heroic tragedy. He focuses in particular on the strategies employed by two writers ambitious to challenge literary authority, Ben Jonson and Henry Fielding. Simpson traces the crucial shift from liberties to Liberty in early modern England. The seventeenth century English revolutionary and poet John Milton will serve as the most revealing and conflicted instance of the shift from plural liberties to singular Liberty.
This conference will examine the relationships between genre, affect and authority in their historical context, as well as the continuing import that these early modern developments have for us today. For more information and registration visit the conference page.
After heroic (and at moments, highly emotional) efforts on the part of our dedicated CHE staff and researchers, the 2012 Annual Report came together beautifully. 2012 was a year of growth for the Centre, as 26 new Associate Investigators and 10 new postdoctoral researchers joined our ranks. An additional 28 visiting fellows, 8 new postdoctoral researchers, and 7 honors students have added to the momentum and energy of CHE’s research output. With more than twice last year’s publications and events, the ‘selected’ list published in the report is a mere fraction of the actual output, but demonstrates the breadth of research.
With 54 public lectures, 40 talks delivered by CHE staff, 10 international keynote lectures and 75 papers delivered at international meetings (not to mention 7 new books published), CHE has been a hive of scholarly activity. A History of Emotions is being taught to generations of future historians, with over 2000 school age students across Australia involved in our outreach and education programs in 96 school outreach events.
We look forward to another year of growth, exciting research, and new partnerships as CHE enters its third year. As usual, Director Philippa Maddern says it best:
“Overall, then, 2012 has proved a packed year – fast-paced, exciting, expansive, intensive and innovatory. Thanks to the enthusiasm, dedication and sheer hard work of all our staff, both academic and professional/administrative, we have, I think, both built successfully on our establishment in 2011 and provided and outstanding platform for further discoveries and developments in 2013.”
Download the report on the website. For a hard copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Merridee Bailey was appointed a five-year Research Fellow based at The University of Adelaide in the Change program. She is investigating emotional discourses surrounding merchant practices in London over the late medieval and early modern period, c. 1450-1650. Drawing on an array of archival materials, from court records to popular printed didactic texts, she is examining the central role of emotions and morality in London merchant activities and the ways in which moral virtues, vices and emotional expressions of good economic conduct were represented. In addition, her research investigates the language of emotions in legal and literary texts. Her project revises our ideas of medieval and early modern merchants, showing that emotions and morality were at the core of economic activity.
The University of Melbourne PhD Students:
Bronwyn Reddan has recently commenced a PhD on romantic love in early modern French fairy tales. Her project examines the types of love expressed in the contes des fées written by aristocratic women and men participating in the seventeenth century French fairy tale vogue. These fairy tale authors, with the notable exception of Charles Perrault, are relatively unknown figures and yet their writing provides valuable insight into early modern debates about the nature of women and the critical role of emotion in shaping human experiences. In particular, the tragic tales written by Marie-Catherine le Jumel de Barneville, Comtesse d’Aulnoy and Henriette-Julie de Castelnau, Comtesse de Murat, illustrate ambiguity in early modern attitudes to love. Rather than being an unbridled source of joy, the experience of romantic love is represented as frequently disappointing, or indeed disastrous. Bronwyn’s project investigates this challenge to popular assumptions that fairy tale love will inevitably lead to a happy ever after ending, using the tales of d’Aulnoy, Murat and others to develop a more complex picture of historical attitudes towards love.
Charlotte-Rose Millar’s work explores the links between English witchcraft and diabolism in popular print and focuses on the constructed emotional experiences of witches, devils, readers and authors. These experiences constitute a complex web of interconnected emotional experiences and her thesis aims to examine how they interact. Millar highlights a number of different phenomena through which these emotions become visible. Through looking at witches' sabbats, gendered witchcraft, witchcraft during the civil wars and sexualised witchcraft, she attempts to understand how popular print positioned witches as objects of hate, fear and disgust. In all of these phenomena the role of the Devil is emphasised. In the seventeenth century the Devil was a cause for fear; witches’ links with the diabolical would have been one of the primary reasons for their status as a feared and hated group in society. Ultimately, her project aims to further our understanding of seventeenth century English witchcraft by re-evaluating the role of the Devil and examining how the emotions of witches and devils were portrayed in popular print, and what emotional effect this may have had on readers.
Hannah Kilpatrick’s work considers the portrayal of anger in early -fourteenth century English historical writing, with a particular focus on the reign of Edward II. Given that rhetorical forms were already a powerfully established tool for representing and understanding emotion, Kilpatrick will investigate how individual chroniclers used or adapted those traditional forms and interpretations. The emphasis of this work will be on the performance of anger and the rhetorical tools used to construct meaning from it. The Univerisy of Sydney PhD Students:
Keagan Brewer's thesis will provide some initial groundwork on a subject which has thus far received scant attention, the emotion of amazement or wonder in the Middle Ages. This research will review the modern scientific literature on the emotion of amazement, and bring together various primary source materials in an analysis of the role that wonder played in the Middle Ages. In particular, there are a great many manuscript sources and collections of marvels stories which have hitherto gone unnoticed which shall be used in this analysis. It is hoped that the thesis will stimulate further research and interest in the area. Wonder in the Middle Ages was of course an important aspect of various parts of life, including the Christian religion, their understanding of science and the world around them, life, death, birth and illness. Wonder and amazement are natural corollaries to non-understanding; that is to say, when you don't understand something, it becomes amazing. Wonder is an emotion which engenders learning. Medieval people therefore arguably experienced more wonder than modern people, because we now know so much more about the world than they did. This thesis will suggest that one's experience of wonder is bound by one's cultural sphere, and that anyone transplanted into the Middle Ages, would have reacted to wondrous phenomena in similar ways. Back to Top
Beyond Melancholy: Sadness and Selfhood in Renaissance England
A Lecture at The University of Queensland Art Museum by Erin Sullivan of the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham.
Sacred Places, Pilgrimage and Emotion
A CHE Change Collaboratory at The University of Melbourne. Visiting speakers include Simon Ditchfield (University of York) and Philip Soergel (University of Maryland). For more information contact Jessica.email@example.com
Shark in Art: Creature vs. Culture
The Institute of Advanced Studies at The University of Western Australia presents Vivienne Westbrook of National Taiwan University exploring the divide between the shark of cultural representation, and the creature itself. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.
Sourcing Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World
This international conference will bring together scholars interested in exploring how we ‘source’, or access and analyse, emotions of the medieval and early modern period. Register for the conference here.
Emotions and Conversion
A workshop for the CHE ‘Meanings’ and ‘Shaping the Modern’ programs at The University of Western Australia. For more information contact Spencer Young at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emotions in Middle English Literature
A study day at The University of Melbourne. For more information contact Stephanie Trigg at: email@example.com or +61383445504
Genre, Affect and Authority in Early Modern Europe
This conference at The University of Melbourne explores the search for political authority in early modern Europe. For more information contact Dr. Justin Clemens. Back to Top