Call for papers: The history of emotions

A multidisciplinary conference organised by the Stout Research Centre in association with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage
3/4/5 September 2015 – Victoria University of Wellington

There has been a lot of interest in recent years in the history of emotions, notably the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Australia ( But what if we took a New Zealand perspective on this rich and fascinating field? How can we trace emotions in history? How are emotions represented? New Zealanders have famously been described as a ‘passionless people’ yet our cultural history is full of narratives of repression and explosion-In My Father’s Den, Whale Rider, Once Were Warriors, Dark Horse. Are we specialists in the dark side? Or do we narrate a skewed version of our national character? Why do emotions matter and what can they tell us? What is ‘new’ in thinking about emotions?

We invite papers from any discipline or theoretical frame which tackle in some way the history of emotions. The conference will be opened by keynote speaker Professor Joanna Bourke, Birkbeck College London, whose celebrated work on the history of killing, rape, fear and pain has opened new fields of scholarly research.

Possible topics include:

  • Representation of emotion in film, art and literature
  • Anthropology of emotion
  • History of emotion in daily life
  • Repression and the law
  • Representation of emotion in Maori culture
  • Expression of emotion in daily life
  • Emotional speech patterns
  • Emotion in popular culture
  • Theory and discourse of emotion
  • Politics and emotion
  • Emotion and memory
  • Non-human emotion
  • Emotion in extremity

Please send your abstract (maximum 200 words) to Lydia Wevers, email: by 30 April 2015.