Experience history in action, how human emotions have changed over the centuries, and the impact it has had on Australia today. Read the latest news from the History of Emotions:

20 February 2014


• How to lead a good life?
• Guiding emotions
• What does it mean to be a proud young Aboriginal person?
• CHE signs arts education partnership agreement
• Cadetship for promising Indigenous student
• New staff
• New Postdoctoral Fellows
• Industry recognition
• Publications
• Livestreamed Events
• Forthcoming Events

From the Director

Now is a good time for our Centre to look both backwards and forwards. We started in 2011. We’re anticipating our mid-term review in June this year. And we’re looking forward eagerly to what our next four years of research will produce!

So how have we used our research strengths to promote new insights in the history of emotions? Where might we go next? There are so many answers I’ll have to concentrate on just two!

Firstly, I think we can truthfully say that due to its excellent staff-power, CHE is now recognized internationally as an institution that covers a much wider chronological range of emotions history than many researchers can manage on their own. That’s why Bloomsbury Press has chosen us to edit their forthcoming six-volume collection on the history of emotions, right from 800 BC to the present day.

Besides, not only do we cover hundreds of years of history; our Shaping the Modern program adds an entirely new viewpoint to the long term—not just how emotions in the past continue to shape our lives now, but also how Australians today develop and maintain strong emotional attachments to our heritage in all its forms (including literary, musical, and artistic). This means that we have a rich array of research projects dealing with material objects and emotions—teasing out how we relate to our old buildings, artworks, memorials, landscapes, and artifacts, what they mean to us emotionally, and how we preserve and celebrate them.

Secondly, when we started the Centre, we decided up-front that we wouldn’t study just individual and personal emotions—we would also put significant energy into studying mass and communal emotions, what causes them and what are their political, social, cultural and even economic effects?

One of our major strengths in this area has been to develop expertise in the field of the growth of ‘hate literatures’ and cultures that identify some groups--ethnic, religious, social--as ‘others’ or ‘outsiders’. We now have many projects dealing with such issues as how Crusaders represented the Muslims they fought; how heretics, or lepers, or the insane, were discriminated against in the 13th C; how anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim and anti-witchcraft propaganda grew and spread in that (supposed) era of enlightenment, the Early Modern Period. Fascinatingly, this development took place at just the time that Europeans were setting up colonial enterprises to Africa, America, and Asia. Maybe this means that the next major research project, after 2017, should be on ‘Global Emotions’, and the relationships they brought about between members of very different cultures worldwide?

Long-term and mass-emotions history go well together. Of course, the objects and languages of discrimination change over time (few heretics get persecuted nowadays in Europe). But some factors are amazingly long-lasting. From at least the 1200s, ‘out-groups’ (Jews, Muslims, heretics) were often portrayed like a disease—an epidemic, ‘infecting’ the ‘healthy’ societies of the in-group. So is it any surprise to hear the Hon Julie Bishop referring to asylum seekers arriving by boat as a ‘plague’? Maybe not. Different group of people—but same tactics, over nine hundred years.

How to lead a good life?

Fra Filippo Lippi, Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement, ca. 1440. © Metropolitan Museum of Art, Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1889.Christine de Pizan’s books The book of the city of ladies or Le Livre de la Cité des Dames and The three virtues or Livre des trois Vertus (both published in 1405) have been viewed as mere conduct or courtesy guides in the past. CHE Distinguished Visiting Fellow Tracy Adams is shedding new light on these works as Ambassador’s instructions or diplomacy guides.

Adams, who delivered public lectures at the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Western Australia on ‘Marriage, passion and love’, says that she looked at du Pizan’s works when she started examining the concept of prudence.

“If you look at de Pizan’s concept of prudence, you find a sort of genealogy through the writings of Anne of France (1461-1522), with instructions on how to lead a good life as a woman. In the past, courtesy books were seen as guides on how to keep your reputation. Diplomacy was just starting to develop back then, but if you compare these to Ambassador’s instructions, you start seeing that these aren’t just guides for women on how to behave, but they actually give examples of how to conduct diplomacy,” Adams said.

Adams’ project follows the careers of a female network originating at the court of Anne of France, regent for her brother Charles VIII, and mentor to many girls who went on to illustrious careers like Marguerite of Austria, Louise of Savoy and Anne of Brittany.

Master of politics, Anne passed on knowledge about succeeding in a man’s world. Her father Louis XI chose her to be unofficial regent on his deathbed, apparently believing that in this way she would encounter less opposition than if she were formally appointed.

“I examine Anne of France’s extended circle as an “emotional community” with the goal of understanding how members were prepared emotionally to exercise power while conforming to a repertoire of female stereotypes. Their libraries are of special interest, because in the works they shared we find models for ideal emotional modulation”.

Adams, attributed this to the change in the understanding of self. “There is a difference between the medieval individual and the renaissance individual. We need to reconstruct the worldview of women like Christine de Pizan and Anne of France, especially when it comes to marriage negotiations. To these women, who on occasion negotiated on behalf of the King, marriage itself was diplomacy. You only married someone who could benefit your family,” she argued.

In the public lectures, Adams explored how passionate love was the result of an imbalance of humors; marital affection was an idealized, modulated emotional state between spouses in dynastic marriages. Her research led to a comparison being drawn between some idealized representations of marital relationships in works from the libraries of the women with reports about these relationships from chronicles and ambassadors’ letters. These sources are all “texts”, of course, but she believes that, in comparing what was perceived as an ideal with impressions of the women, we find clues as to how they assimilated and manipulated their emotional models.

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Guiding emotions

Art Gallery of Western AustraliaMid December 2013, Catherine Czerw, CHE AI, gave a presentation to the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) Volunteer Gallery Guides entitled ‘Emotional Rescue: Appealing to feeling when guiding contemporary Indigenous artworks.’ Here is her summary of the event.

As the last presentation for our guiding year, this talk was intended to provide some food for thought with regard to possible ways of guiding artworks that can pose challenges to the guides because of their subject matter. In particular, I wanted to share some of the ideas around the history of emotions that I have encountered in my time as a CHE Associate Investigator.

I opened with a brief introduction to the aims of CHE, and an explanation of how I came to be involved (through meeting Susan Broomhall when she too presented to the guides during the V&A Princely Treasures exhibition in 2011). Many guides remember Susan's talk and were really interested to learn that it was through this initial experience that I have pursued opportunities through CHE.

I used three artworks currently on display in AGWA to discuss the political intentions of the artists and to explore how these can be conveyed to visitors to the gallery through the framework of the emotions they evoke. Against each Indigenous artwork, I compared an historical visual image or literary text that I source from CHE's Wiki site:

Gordon Bennett's ‘The Persistence of Language,’ a confronting painting from 1987 that explicitly speaks about racial vilification and Aboriginal deaths in custody through the use of imagery and text. We discussed this work in relation to two examples of the Caricatures of the Passions ‘An Illustration of Anger’ and ‘An Illustration of Terror’ from the year 1800.

Vernon Ah Kee's ‘Born in the Skin’, three beautifully rendered, large scale portraits that are used in much more subtle ways to address issues of racial stereotypes, post colonial conflict on Palm Island and Aboriginal identity. The quiet strength and empathetic treatment of Vernon Ah Kee's subjects was contrasted to the riotous approach adopted by Peter Bruegel the Elder in his ‘Ira Personified’, designed in the late 1550s as one of a series of ‘the Seven Deadly Sins’.

Julie Dowling's ‘Death of an Anthropologist’ (1996) was the final example discussed; especially the way she too uses empathy to draw her audience into the inter-racial politics of her painting. The guides discussed Dowling's approach in light of Percy Shelley's musings on the importance of empathy and our ability to 'imaginatively and intensely' put ourselves in the place of another.

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What does it mean to be a proud young Aboriginal person?

Indigenous painterIndigenous school students from across the Sydney basin discussed what it means to be a proud young Aboriginal person at a workshop presented by the Sydney node of CHE as part of an ‘Indigenous Experience Day’ held last year.

The workshop ‘Pride and Poetry’ was designed and presented by young indigenous poet and activist Lorna Munro, along with CHE Sydney Node Education and Outreach Officer Gabriel Watts. It was offered to indigenous high-school students visiting The University of Sydney as part of an excursion organised by USyd’s Social Inclusion Unit.

Munro, whose work has been published in Southerly Literary Journal and who has appeared in television productions such as ABC 1’s ‘Redfern Now’, encouraged students to take up poetic ‘tools’ to address the experience of being a young aboriginal person, while Watts discussed the historical connection between the passion of pride and self-esteem and personal identity.

“Young Indigenous people are encouraged to feel pride in their culture and themselves,” Watts said, “this workshop aimed to expose students to historical understandings of the passion of pride, but also to get students thinking about how pride in one’s culture and self might be expressed through poetry.”

The workshop attracted a range of talented students, with each class constructing a group poem. “The group poems were the highlight of each class,” Watts said, “as more and more ideas and words were thrown up onto the board, students began pulling together phrases, lines, and rhymes, and encouraging each other, which was great to see.”

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CHE signs arts education partnership agreement

Copyright David HodgkinsonCHE Deputy Director, Jane Davidson, signed an arts education partnership agreement with the Methodist Ladies College (MLC) in Perth on 23 January 2014.

This seals the deal on an ongoing relationship between the Centre and MLC. In August 2013, Davidson (also CHE’s Performance Program Leader) worked with students to produce, Venus and Adonis, a masque created for the King with music by John Blow, with a libretto based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

“At the time of composition, the work has had only one performance outside of the court, at Josias Priest’s Chelsea Boarding School in 1684. It is for this reason that we chose to develop this creative production at MLC,” Davidson said.

The Venus and Adonis project was in fact a tripartite collaboration between the MLC, in association with Christ Church Grammar School, CHE and the musicians of Perth Baroque.

This project brought together academics, performers and students to investigate in theory and practice the long history of human emotional behaviour.

On 28 March 2014, CHE and MLC will collaborate again to bring a production of Dido and Aeneas to audiences.

“Through this partnership, we hope students will be able to explore how experiences and expressions of emotion have transformed over time and how musical emotions are susceptible to changing cultural context and belief,” Davidson said.

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Cadetship for promising Indigenous student

Emily Direen joined the Melbourne node of the Centre in February as part of an Indigenous Cadetship scheme, funded by the Arts Faculty at The University of Melbourne. Emily, who is presently completing an MA thesis dealing with representations of wilful children in the neo-Victorian novel, will work with Grace Moore and Stephanie Trigg on a fire source book, to be aimed at secondary school students. Emily began her immersion in the project in December last year, when she assisted at the ‘Fire Stories’ conference.

The cadetship is a short-term position, which draws upon the expertise of promising indigenous students, while offering them academic mentoring and professional experience. The program is part of the university’s Reconciliation Action Plan and one of its aims is to promote new and collaborative ways on understanding Australia’s past—a focus it shares with the Centre for the History of Emotions.

While she is with CHE, Emily will contribute to the Shaping the Modern program’s work in the ecological humanities. Her appointment, though, has been part of an ongoing collaboration with the university’s Australian Centre and Emily has recently completed worked for their ‘On Species’ conference and an ecological symposium. Emily also played an important role in an archival project to celebrate fifty years of Arena magazine. She will continue to deploy her archival skills while she is with CHE, as she assists in locating resources dealing with fire, along with the writing up of a book proposal.

This is the second year of the cadetship scheme and the pool of applicants is steadily growing. Emily was one of a number of excellent candidates for the position and while applicants could choose to work on one of several projects offered by staff across the Arts Faculty, a number of applicants expressed a preference for the CHE/Australian Centre joint position.

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New staff

Craig Lyons has been appointed as Administration Officer at the CHE University of Sydney node. Craig comes to this role having previously worked as a HECS and Fees Officer at The University of Sydney for two years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Sociology from Sydney, and is about to undertake a Master of Science in Human Geography, also at Sydney. In his spare time, Craig enjoys seeing and performing live music, and escaping to the South Coast of NSW to write. He’s excited about the prospect of working with CHE, and suspects he might learn a thing or two.

Cassie Charlton has been appointed as temporary Education and Outreach Officer at The University of Sydney CHE node. She graduated from the Australian Film, Television, and Radio School at the end of 2013.

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New Postdoctoral Fellows

Danijela Kambaskovic is one of the new Research Associates with CHE at The University of Western Australia. She is a former a lecturer in Shakespeare and Renaissance Studies at UWA. She has published widely in the fields of genre history and history of ideas and is an award-winning poet. Her latest works are a collection of poetry, Internal Monologues (Fremantle Press, 2013) and an edited collection of scholarly essays, Conjunctions: Body, Mind and Soul in the Medieval and Renaissance Periods, forthcoming from Springer early in 2014.

Katrina O’Loughlin joined CHE as a Postdoctoral Fellow based at The University of Western Australia. She holds a BA and PhD from The University of Melbourne. Her research interests in colonial and postcolonial literature and art led her back into the eighteenth century and women's travel narratives for her PhD research. In 2010 she was a Visiting Scholar at Chawton House, Hampshire - a research centre for early women's writing, and in 2011 a Visiting Fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the ANU. Working with Bob White in the Meanings program, her project for CHE explores the forging of intellectual and emotional bonds among women in the ‘long eighteenth century’. Drawing on letters, travel writing and memoirs, this research investigates women’s participation in the early modern Republic of Letters and the emotional structures of intellectual sociability.

Gordon Raeburn has been appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the CHE University of Melbourne node. He holds a BD(Hons) from the University of Aberdeen, an MSc (Theology in History) from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD from the University of Durham. His PhD thesis, The Long Reformation of the Dead in Scotland, studied the development of Scottish burial practices between 1542 and 1856, with an eye towards the effects of major societal changes such as the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the Disruption. In this role he intends to pursue research into the effects of various Early Modern Scottish disasters, and the emotional responses they provoked, upon the development of a national Scottish identity in the Early Modern period.

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Industry recognition

Giovanni Tarantino, a Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Melbourne, has been recently assessed as part of the new Italian National Scientific Qualification (ASN, Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale). The five-member assessment committee of the ASN has unanimously judged his publications and research as eligible for appointment at the level of Associate Professor within the Italian University system.


Edited Journal Issues (2014)
S. Trigg et al. Pre-Modern Emotions. Exemplaria Volume 26 Issue 1 (Spring 2014). Online ISSN: 1753-3074. http://www.maneyonline.com/toc/exm/26/1

Edited Books (2013)
S.Broomhall, R.Millar (Eds), Far From Home: Adventures, Treks, Exiles, Migrations: The Zest Festival, 2013, [Crawley: Uniprint 2013], ISBN 978-1-74052-278-6

Edited Books (2014)
C.Jarzebowski & T.M.Safley (Eds), Childhoold and Emotion Across Cultures 1450-1800, [Routledge: Oxford and New York, 2014], ISBN 978-0-415-83916-3.
R.Yeo, Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science, [University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2014], ISBN 9780226106564 (Cloth), 9780226106731 (e-book).

Book Chapters (2014)
P.Maddern, 'How children were supposed to feel: how children felt: England 1350-1530', in Childhood and Emotion Across Cultures 1450-1800, [Routledge: Oxford and New York, 2014], pp. 121-140.

For a full list of all our publications click

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Livestreamed Events

In an effort to extend the opportunity to engage with visiting scholars, CHE has livestreamed three events this month. View these online at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/emotions-make-history

Miraculous Affects: Inventing Corpses in Baroque Italy
Professor Helen Hills explores miracle and affect and the divergent ways in which they come to matter in art and architecture. Hill explores relics, and the impact they have as remains of a human, marked by deeds of a saint, and left behind as ‘deposit’ or pledge of the saint now glorified in heaven.

Marriage, Passion and Love
Associate Professor Tracy Adams focuses on an “emotional community” within female network originating at the court of Anne of France (1461-1522), regent for her brother Charles VIII. Anne of France passed on knowledge about succeeding in a man’s world. Adams traces this legacy into the next generations, with the goal of understanding how members were prepared emotionally to exercise power while conforming to a repertoire of female stereotypes.

Delight in Friendship: The Properties of Affection in Early British Children's Literature
Professor Matthew Grenby considers the place and proprieties of friendship in early British children’s books and asks why, to many authors, friendship was a perilous exercise that brought more harm than good both to the individual and society.

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Forthcoming Events

Lecture: Feeling anti-Jacobinism: enlisting the emotions in the fiction of the British War of Ideas 1790-1805
Date: Friday 21 February 2014
Time: 1.00pm
Venue: Stretton Room, Level 4 Napier Building, The University of Adelaide

Changing Hearts: Performing Jesuit Emotions Between Europe, Asia and The Americas”
Date: 7 - 8 March 2014
Venue: Trinity College, University of Cambridge (UK)

Study Day: Relics and Emotions
Date: Friday 21 March 2014
Time: TBA
Venue: The University of Melbourne (TBA)

Affective Habitus: New Environmental Histories of Botany, Zoology and Emotions
Date: 19 - 21 June 2014
Time: TBA
Venue: Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University

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