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CFP: History of Emotions Workshop, NACBS Annual Meeting

Published: January 3, 2018

Call for Proposals: History of Emotions Workshop

NACBS Annual Meeting

Providence, RI, October 25-28, 2018

Theme: History of Emotions

Proposal deadline: February 15, 2018

Materials: CV and 1-page abstract

This workshop will explore the history of emotions in Britain and its empire.  We seek papers from the medieval to the modern period that engage fundamental methodological questions in how we approach emotions in the past.  What is the connection between emotion, bodily sensation and cognition; or between reason, emotion and morality?  How do we analyze the relationship between emotional practices and experiences and emotional standards?  How do we examine emotions as inward sensations and as social and cultural practices?  What were the political meanings of emotions, and how have specific emotions or emotional registers been used to silence and/or give voice to political groups or movements; as well as aiding and legitimating specific forms of rule?  What role did emotions play in navigating moments of colonial or postcolonial contact?  How have the meanings and expressions of specific emotions—empathy, grief, anger, love, etc.—changed according to time, place, and population?  How might historians continue to draw upon work in other disciplines, for example, literary studies, queer studies, psychology, philosophy and anthropology?  By calling for papers from medieval to modern periods, we hope to interrogate the assumptions and perspectives that pertain to the study of different eras and by bringing these into a conversation with one another, examine the value and limitation of applying shared methodologies and framing questions to different chronological fields and contexts. 

The session will include 6-8 pre-circulated papers of 15-25 pages each. Participants will be chosen with a view to the complementarity of their research topics and strong preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars. Participants must be prepared to submit their papers by September 30, 2018. Each participant will be required to read all papers for the session, and to share written comments on two of the papers, prior to the conference. The session itself will include brief presentations and discussions of each paper, followed by a more extensive conversation between participants and the audience around common questions and themes. 

Those interested must submit a CV and a one-page abstract to Lydia Murdoch ( and Linda Pollock ( by February 15, 2018. Results will be announced by March 1.

Note: Those not accepted for the workshop may still submit proposals for the NACBS poster session, or paper or panel proposals for regular NACBS sessions, by the general deadline of March 30, 2018. Some financial assistance will be available for graduate students (up to US$500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed NACBS members within ten years of their terminal degree (US$300). Details of these travel grants will be posted to and emailed to members once the 2018 meeting program is prepared.


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