The Centre for Transnational History received £10,000 from CHIRP as seed funding for a new interdisciplinary research project on “Passionate Politics”. Based on collaboration with SSEES and the European Institute, the core group of the project consists of Tim Beasley-Murray, Dina Gusejnova, Axel Körner and Uta Staiger.
Passions play a fundamental role in shaping political movements and ideologies, providing the emotional basis of individual and social identities. Our historical understanding of key moments of social change remains impoverished if we fail to take into account the importance of grief, for example, as a response to social upheaval, the role of love and empathy in the creation of political and social solidarities, or the roots of political dissent in anger. The tradition of thinking about politics, stretching from the Stoics to Kant and Rawls, has tended to view the passionate nature of human beings with suspicion if not outright hostility. The passions sit uncomfortably with the idea of a social contract, for example, that is meant to be the product of reason. Until recently, the passions drew the attention of political theorists and philosophers above all because of their capacity to wreak havoc in the social order. Interdisciplinary approaches to conceptualizing affects have recently opened up a new way of understanding the human. Our project will draw on the unique opportunity that this ‘affective turn’ has brought to other fields by returning the passions to the study of politics.
Over the next three years the group will run a number of workshops, set up a reading group and organise an international conference. To support its research as well as public engagement with the project, the team will create a digital archive “Collecting Emotions”, featuring text, images, music, film and interviews.
Page last modified on 28 jul 14 11:41 by Joanna Fryer
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