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Journal Article

THE HISTORY OF EMOTIONS: AN INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM REDDY, BARBARA ROSENWEIN, AND PETER STEARNS

JAN PLAMPER, WILLIAM REDDY, BARBARA ROSENWEIN and PETER STEARNS
History and Theory
Vol. 49, No. 2 (May 2010), pp. 237-265
Published by: Wiley for Wesleyan University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40864443
Page Count: 29
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THE HISTORY OF EMOTIONS: AN INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM REDDY, BARBARA ROSENWEIN, AND PETER STEARNS
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Abstract

The history of emotions is a burgeoning field — so much so, that some are invoking an "emotional turn." As a way of charting this development, I have interviewed three of the leading practitioners of the history of emotions: William Reddy, Barbara Rosenwein, and Peter Stearns. The interviews retrace each historian's intellectual-biographical path to the history of emotions, recapitulate key concepts, and critically discuss the limitations of the available analytical tools. In doing so, they touch on Reddy's concepts of "emotive," "emotional regime," and "emotional navigation," as well as on Rosen wein's "emotional community" and on Stearns's "emotionology" and offer glimpses of each historian's ongoing research. The interviews address the challenges presented to historians by research in the neurosciences and the like, highlighting the distinctive contributions offered by a historical approach. In closing, the interviewees appear to reach a consensus, envisioning the history of emotions not as a specialized field but as a means of integrating the category of emotion into social, cultural, and political history, emulating the rise of gender as an analytical category since its early beginnings as "women's history" in the 1970s.

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