The History of Emotions: An Introduction (Emotions In History) Hardcover – 22 Jan 2015
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this introductory volume will be difficult to surpass (Times Literary Supplement)
This book throws a lifeline to anyone trying to navigate the present high tide of multidisciplinary material on the emotions ... both scholarly and enjoyable. (Jane O'Grady, Times Higher Education, 'What Are You Reading?')
Plamper clears the way for others to approach the history of emotions by mapping the multidisciplinary intellectual architecture that has supplied us with a nature/culture dualism in contemporary understandings of what emotions are and where they come from ... Plamper is at his best, cutting a swathe through disciplines where other historians might fear to tread. (Rob Boddice, Reviews in History)
excellent and thought-provoking ... This is an indispensible text for anyone interested in this fast developing new subdiscipline of cultural history, and provides a refreshing perspective on emotions which are the everyday focus of so much work in mental health. As clinicians we are often less aware of the sociocultural aspects of this work than we might be, and perhaps also take the assertions of our neuroscience colleagues on faith rather too readily. That a historian can provide such an informed and thought-provoking account of contemporary approaches to emotions is salutary. (Stirling Moorey, Journal of Mental Health)
dazzling ... [Plamper] is a natural storyteller, and has a beautifully smooth writing style (thanks must also go to his translator) that makes the book accessible to readers at all levels ... his book will prompt intellectual exchanges for years to come. (Joanna Bourke, Social History)
the book as a whole provides an admirable introduction to the virtues of thinking historically about emotions ― not just thinking about emotions in history ... the book serves as a splendid guide to further reading. (Professor William M. Reddy, The History of Emotions Blog)
Plamper offers a road map for bridging the gap between and potentially reconciling social constructivists and essentialists working on human emotions ... Essential. (T. L. Loos, CHOICE)
a most welcome history and genealogy of an extremely diverse field (Stephanie Trigg, Australian Book Review)
For readers interested in the mid-nineteenth- and twentieth-century origins of the study of emotion in the emerging academic fields of anthropology, psychology, biology, and history, the book provides detailed summaries and commentaries on 150 years of research. (Nicole Eustace, American Historical Review)
Plamper's book sets out to provide an introduction to past and current research in the field. This is an ambitious aim, but one in which Plamper succeeds admirably, providing lucid and stimulating distillations of key work and debates ... anyone looking for a readable and engaging introduction to this fascinating field would do well to read Plamper's stimulating survey. (Catriona Kennedy, History Today)
About the Author
Jan Plamper is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He obtained a BA from Brandeis University and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, after which he taught at the University of Tübingen and from 2008 to 2012 was a Dilthey Fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, in Berlin. He is co-editor, with Benjamin Lazier, of Fear: Across the Disciplines (2012); and co-editor, with Marc Elie and Schamma Schahadat, of Rossiiskaia imperiia chuvstv: Podkhody k kul'turnoi istorii emotsii [In the Realm of Russian Feelings: Approaches to the Cultural History of Emotions] (2010). He has also recently authored The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (2012).
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I don't believe the author accomplished their goal about giving a definition of emotion by finding common ground between social constructivism and universalism, or even pointing a way towards it. What the author did accomplish: present both camps well (and with emotion!) for a layperson like myself, propose some exciting directions for historians, and make a rock solid case that emotions are inherent in the work of history.