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Feeling Exclusion: Emotional Strategies and Burdens of Religious Discrimination and Displacement in Early Modern Europe

full image Hans Holbein, The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, woodcut, in Les Simulachres et Historiées Faces de la Mort, Lyon: Melchior and Caspar Trechsel, 1538.

Date: 29-31 May
Venue: Graduate House, The University of Melbourne
Contact: Giovanni Tarantino or Charles Zika
List of speakers: Daniel Barbu (University of  Bern), Susan Broomhall (The University of Western Australia), Ole Peter Grell (The Open University, London), Yasmin Haskell (The University of Western Australia),  David Van der Linden (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Dolly MacKinnon (The University of Queensland), Giuseppe Marcocci (Tuscia University and Scuola Normale of Pisa), John Marshall (Johns Hopkins University), Penny Roberts (The University of Warwick), Giovanni Tarantino (The University of Melbourne), María Tausiet (independent scholar, Madrid), Nick Terpstra (The University of Toronto), Edoardo Tortarolo (The University of Eastern Piedmont), Claire Walker (The University of Adelaide), Gary Waite (The University of New Brunswick), Paola von Wyss-Giacosa (The University of Zurich), Charles Zika (The University of Melbourne).

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A related public lecture will be given on Thursday 29 May by Arnold Zable,
author and University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow: “The Cry of the Excluded – A writer's perspective” and a concert by e21 "From Mourning to Joy: Exclusion and Redemption" will take place at 6:15, on Friday 20 May.

Symposium Themes

‘We practiced the discrimination and exclusion.’ These words of the Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, from his 1992 Redfern Speech on the impact of the policies of European settlers on Australian Aboriginal communities, have a long history. Discrimination and exclusion have long been strategies used by authorities to maintain authority and control, and especially over groups who do not share, or are described as not sharing, the same value systems.

Fundamental to the success of such strategies, but ultimately also to their removal, is the role of emotion – the extent to which exclusion is felt to be necessary for communal survival or integrity, the extent to which it has been psychologically internalised, the extent to which it is felt to be an intolerable burden to be removed at any cost.

The aim of this symposium is to explore an important stage in the European history of exclusion. It will focus on the significance of emotions in the articulation and also experience of religious exile and displacement in the early modern period. It will also explore the degree to which these emotions facilitated the internalization of stereotypes created by the elites among the broad populace.

The political and religious upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries forced an unprecedented number of people to flee from their homelands or to live in a state of internal exile. The emotions to be explored in this conference might relate either to the lost homeland of exiles or to the new communities exiles came into contact with or created for themselves.

In pre-Enlightenment Europe strong attachments to long-established traditions and fears concerning the threat that diversity posed for stability and authority were widespread. One aim of this conference is also to explore how emotions were used to gradually weaken such attachments and to transform the fear of diversity into an alternative set of values and ideals based on different levels of tolerance.

Themes to be considered in the symposium might include:

  • the use of emotional strategies in ‘hate literature’ deliberately intended to label and stigmatize ‘deviant’ groups and individuals, and to exclude them from the realm of tolerance;
  • the responses of internal and external exiles to the psychological pressures associated with threatened or actual displacement;
  • the relationship between the emotional experience of exclusion, persecution or exile and the emergence, articulation or justification of tolerant and intolerant attitudes or policies;
  • the emotions produced among tolerated minorities by the precariousness of their status and uncertainty regarding their rights;
  • the affective language of the many competing martyrologies and how this proved functional for the advocacy of both intolerance and tolerance.