Historicizing the Self: Emotions and Cognition in U.S. History

Stephen Berry's picture
Call for Papers
February 1, 2020
Georgia, United States
Subject Fields: 
African American History / Studies, American History / Studies, Animal Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies

John Keats explained his love and loathing of a dinner party this way: “Not myself goes home to myself, but the identity of every one in the room begins to press upon me, so that I am in a very little time annihilated.” For Keats, the self was a vacillating existence, lacking a resolute ‘Nature,’ always adapting, exploring, and exhausted by turns.

‘Historicizing the Self’ is designed to be a cooperative grappling with the theoretical and methodological challenges facing scholars engaged in the history of emotions and social cognition. Susan J. Matt says the goal is “to conjoin the intellectual histories of emotions—the dominant ideals and ideas—with explorations of how such ideas were received or rejected, adopted or adapted, in social and cultural life.” We believe emotions history, in all of its forms, offers scholars a better lens for understanding how decisions—both personal and political—are actually made.

The conference will kickoff Thursday afternoon with the 10th annual Gregory Lecture, delivered by Peter Carmichael, Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, and will conclude on Friday evening with a capstone dinner comment by Joanne Freeman, Yale University Professor of History and American Studies. Papers will be pre-circulated, and all conferees are expected to participate in the Q&A.

We welcome submissions from anyone whose research or methodology relates to emotions history, including research on cognitive science, animal behavior, epistemology and ontology, performance studies, political decision-making, behavioral economics, mental health, vicarious trauma, material culture, literary expression, and nature writing. This list is not intended to be exhaustive but to suggest the broad range of fields that connect to emotions scholarship.

Please submit a 300 word abstract, accompanied by a CV, to Annelle Brunson (annelle.brunson25@uga.edu) by February 1, 2020. Accepted participants will receive complimentary meals, lodging, and transportation. Feel free to write with any questions!

This conference is made possible through the generous support of the Gregory Chair of the Civil War Era, the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, and the T.R.R. Cobb House.

Contact Info: 

Stephen Berry

111B LeConte Hall

Department of History

The University of Georgia

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