Call for Papers – ESA Emotions Network Midterm Conference 2014**DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 6TH 2014**

Antony Gormley: FEELING MATERIAL XIV, 2004 4 mm square section mild steel bar 225 x 218 x 170 cm Photograph by Stephen White, London
Antony Gormley: FEELING MATERIAL XIV, 2004
4 mm square section mild steel bar
225 x 218 x 170 cm
Photograph by Stephen White, London


The ESA Emotions Network (RN11) will hold their 6th midterm conference between 25-27 September, 2014. The conference will take place on the island of Rhodes, Greece, in the University of the Aegean. This year, in addition to the usual streams, the conference will feature two special workshops on emotions – one for PhD students (featuring Prof. Helena Flam and Prof. Helmut Kuzmics), and one on the use of literary analysis for sociology of emotions research (again, featuring Prof. Helmut Kuzmics and Dr. Stephanie Bird). The proposed sessions, towards which you might pitch your abstracts, include: Theorizing Emotions; Emotions and: Morality; Globalization; Religion; Civic Action; Power; Literature; Law; Finance; Visuals; Migration-Sensations-Spaces; Post-Atrocity Emotions; and Researching Emotions Empirically. The full call for papers is here: CfP RN 11 Midterm Rhodes final(pdf).

Abstracts not exceeding 300 words should be sent by the 31st of March 2014 to Jochen Kleres ( Please use “RN 11 midterm submission”in the subject line of your email. Also, please send your abstract indicating whether it is for a specific session listed above. Notifications about the abstracts selected for presentation at the midterm conference will be made by mid-May 2014. Conference fees, more precise conference times, and links to accommodation will be announced then.

I hope to make it this year myself and I urge those working on affect or emotions to submit an abstract. I have been to other conferences with this group and always found them both intellectually stimulating and, perhaps more importantly, filled with interesting, warm and (not least) fun social scientists from all over the world. But hurry up! The deadline is Monday!


William Reddy – Do Emotions Have a History? The Example of Romantic Love.

In this fascinating talk William M. Reddy, the William T. Laprade Professor of History and Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, expounds on the theme of romantic love.  This is the subject of his recent (and award-winning) book called The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE (2012).  The talk took place at the University of Melbourne in March of last year, in association with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. The blurb for the talks is below.  Reddy’s earlier work, and his concept of ’emotional regimes’ in particular has been influential for my own work in the sociology of emotions.  I have recently aquired this book and look forward to reading it.  The talk offers a reasonable summary of the main arguments, which suggests that the history of love is different in Europe to elsewhere, where love and sexual desire are united.  In Europe this was the case prior to, but not after, the 12th century CE, when the medieval notion of courtly love developed in opposition to moral theological definitions of sexual love as an ‘appetite of the body’ to be suppressed, controlled and subject to discipline. Love became ‘split’ or bifurcated, as is the Western tendency, into ‘bad/profane’ sexual desire and ‘pure/sacred’ sublime love – body and soul.  This split did not occur elsewhere, according to Reddy, who uses (primarily) literary examples from Japan, Asia and other cultures to make a comparative ethnography of love.  These themes, and much more besides, feature in the talk.      

Are emotions hard-wired, or are they subject to cultural or historical variation? In general, emotions are not subject to voluntary control; we do not get to pick which ones we will feel. Some emotions, like fear or anger, may trigger physiological changes. Others, like pride or nostalgia, do not. Are emotions hard-wired? Or are they subject to cultural or historical variation? Or perhaps, some are hard-wired, others shaped by culture?

For decades experts have been divided on the subject. The question of romantic love is a good entry point for appreciating the complexities social scientists face in trying to make sense of emotions. It seems that romantic love, of one kind or another, can be found in almost every part of the world. Is it universal, a product of neurotransmitters interacting with subcortical structures? The record suggests, on the contrary, not only that romantic love has gone through some striking transformations over the centuries, but also that collective action can make a difference in how we feel.

Professor William M. Reddy is the author of the seminal work on the History of Emotions, The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions. (Cambridge University Press, 2001). His most recent book is The making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia and Japan, 900-1200CE (University of Chicago Press) was published in 2012.

Call for Papers: “Regulating Emotions”. University of Limerick, April 30th-May 1st

The University of Limerick Research Cluster in Emotions in Society is delighted to announce that it will host a conference on the theme of “Regulating Emotions” on the 30th of April and 1st of May 2012 at the University of Limerick. The conference is kindly funded as part of the “New Ideas” scheme by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) (See
The study of emotional regulation (Gross, 1998a, 1998b) is a developing area of scholarship nationally and internationally. The role of emotional regulation in cognition and behaviour and its consequential importance in society is increasingly recognised within distinct academic disciplines including law, education, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, psychiatry and economics, for example. However, the current paradigm operating in the study of emotional regulation is for individual disciplines to examine the concept from an established perspective with little opportunity for active engagement in interdisciplinary scholarship in this area. This conference will provide an opportunity for collaboration across a range of disciplines which will allow new ideas to form and existing dogma to be challenged and critiqued.

The conference will take place over two days and will include a combination of panel discussions, roundtable discussions and addresses by key note speakers. The conference line-up will feature a range of distinguished speakers from the US, Canada and Europe.

The conference organisers welcome proposals from all disciplines on any topic relevant to the theme of emotional regulation. The organisers particularly welcome inter-disciplinary submissions, though this is not required. All proposals will be subjected to peer-review by the Scientific Committee.

Attendance at the conference will cost €60. The organisers also welcome submissions from early career researchers, with discounts of €30 available for PhD and postdoctoral students. Presenters will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. There will be a conference dinner on the evening of Monday 30 April which will cost an additional €25.

Possible areas on which papers may be given include, but are not limited to:
* Sociology
* Psychology
* English
* Business
* Politics
* Education
* Music
* Applied Languages
* Medicine
* Occupational Therapy
* History
* Information Technology, including Artificial Intelligence and
* Law

Persons interested in participating in the event should submit an abstract of no more than 500 words along with a brief biography (150 words). Submissions should be made to using the form attached.

Paper submissions should be received by February 29th, 2012.

Submissions for posters will also be considered. Please submit proposals in the form of 250 world abstracts to by latest March 31st 2012.

If you have any queries, please contact the conference organisers at

RSA Animate – The Divided Brain

While the festival of samhain may be over, and as the West slips somewhat grudgingly into the darker half of the annual cycle, there may be a few theory-type zombies remaining with a thirst for braaains.  In this new RSAnimate, renowned psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist may help satiate their need for a time.  In this talk he explains how our ‘divided brain’ has profoundly altered human behaviour, culture and society.  The talk is based on his influential book of last year, The Master and His Emissary (2010).  The full, 30 minute lecture is here for those interested.  The introduction to the book, for those really interested is here, where he writes that the overall thesis of the book is:

that for us as human beings there are two fundamentally opposed realities, two different modes of experience; that each is of ultimate importance in bringing about the recognisably human world; and that their difference is rooted in the bihemispheric structure of the brain. It follows that the hemispheres need to co-operate, but I believe they are in fact involved in a sort of power struggle, and that this explains many aspects of contemporary Western culture (McGilchrist, 2010, p.3).

The book sounds fascinating but, at over 600 pages, I simply will not get to it in the next 12 months.  Which is why I like the RSA Animate series so much.  Perhaps you will.  Enjoy.

The Fabric of Our Social World: Social Cognition & Consiliance.

Consiliance, or the unity of knowledge, is an idea that I am interested in and this three-way, interdisciplinary talk, which took place in London on June 13h as part of the “Forum for European Philosophy Consilience public debate” is a welcome addition to the discussion.  Professor Chris Frith, Dr Alex Gillespie, Professor Dermot Moran each speak for about 10 minutes each from their different perspectives before a general discussion.  The chair was Kristina Musholt.  Here is the blurb:

“How do we create our world through shared experiences? What are the psychological and physiological mechanisms that underlie our abilities to relate to and interact with others? Chris Frith is emeritus professor of psychology in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL. Alex Gillespie is senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Stirling. Dermot Moran is professor of philosophy at University College Dublin”.

Here is the mp3.


The Human Sciences in the ‘Age of Biology’: revitalising sociology.

Really interesting talk by Rose on the need to rethink the relationship between sociology and the biological sciences, such as genetics and neuroscience, partilularly social neuroscience.

Speaker: Professor Nikolas Rose
Chair: Professor Judy Wajcman
This event was recorded on 8 March 2011 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Thanks to the insights of genomics and neuroscience we now understand ourselves in radically new ways. Is a new figure of the human, and of the social, taking shape in the 21st century? Nikolas Rose is professor of sociology and director of BIOS at LSE.