The Centre for the History of the Emotions

Welcome to the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions

On this website you can learn about our members, current and past events, and the aims of our research projects into the politics of passion, the experience of emotion, and theories of feeling past and present. For regular lively discussions relating to all aspects of the history of emotions, see the History of Emotions Blog. 

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Latest News

Katherine Angel on female dysfunction and the DSM
Dr Katherine Angel, postdoctoral fellow at the Centre, will be delivering the first in the series of Katrina Honeyman memorial lectures held by the University of Leeds. The lecture, '"Poor Freud, he was born before we were": Historicisation, Psychoanalysis, and Post-Feminism in Female Sexual Dysfunction and the DSM', takes place on Wednesday 12 February. More details available here.

AHRC Success for Jules Evans
The Centre's Policy Director, Jules Evans, has been awarded £30,000 follow-on funding by the AHRC for a project called Philosophies for Life. Jules will develop and teach an eight-part course in practical philosophy, which he will pilot in three different organisations: Low Moss prison in Glasgow, Manor Gardens mental health charity in London, and Saracens rugby club. The course is designed to use the ideas of ancient philosophy to help people flourish today.

Discussing Boredom
Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith, British Academy postdoctoral fellow, recently appeared on Radio 4's Something Understood in conversation with John McCarthy on the subject of boredom. You can listen to the programme here.

Wellcome POST Fellowship
Congratulations to Dr Chris Millard, postdoctoral fellow at the Centre, who has been awarded a Wellcome Trust - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) Fellowship. He will spend three months in the Office in 2014.

Inside Broadmoor
Jade Shepherd, who has recently completed her PhD at the Centre, on the lives of male patients in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum in the nineteenth century, has been interviewed for a documentary 'Inside Broadmoor', being broadcast on Channel 5 on Monday 30th September.

Mimicry and Impersonation
Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith, a British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions, has been interviewed for an episode of the ABC programme ' The Body Sphere' on Australian radio. You can listen here..

Weeping on Australian Radio
Centre Director Dr Thomas Dixon was interviewed by Amanda Smith, along with psychologist Ad Vingerhoets, for an issue of the Australian National Radio programme 'The Body Sphere' devoted to the mystery of tears.

New Book on Emotions and Health
A new book, edited by Elena Carrera, has just been published by Brill on Emotions and Health: 1200-1700. The book arose directly from a conference hosted at the Centre for the History of the Emotions a couple of years ago.

Leverhulme Success
The Centre has been successful in applying for two Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence Grants for the year 2013-14; these will be held by Lloyd Newson of DV8 and Clare Whistler.

The Waterworks in Aeon Magazine
Dr Thomas Dixon's latest publication is an online essay in Aeon Magazine on theories of tears and weeping, especially the psychoanalytic idea that tears are a kind of affective overflow or discharge.

[View news archive]

About the Centre

The Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions, launched in November 2008, is the first research centre in the UK dedicated to the history of the emotions. One of its key objectives is to provide a focus for interactions between social and cultural historians of the emotions on the one hand, and historians of science and medicine on the other. It also seeks to contribute both to policy debates and to popular understandings of all aspects of the history of emotions.

The activities of the Centre relate to research themes such as:

  • Theoretical categories: passions, affections, sentiments, feelings, emotions
  • The idea of expression: using the emotional body to read the emotional mind
  • Madness: passions and pathology in medicine and psychiatry
  • Well-being: happiness, public health, and emotions as political objects
  • Difference: how have emotions associated with different races, sexes, and sexual orientations been experienced, categorised, and controlled?
  • Religion: religious practices and regimes of emotion
  • Law: the definition, control, and punishment of passions and emotions

To be added to the History of Emotions email list run by the Centre, please visit the JISCmail homepage for the list to sign up.

On this site you will find a list of members of the Centre, details of our past and future events, and links to related research centres in the UK and abroad, and to classic texts in the history of ideas about passions and emotions.

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