In contemporary thought, the field of emotion studies represents a very potent framework that allows anthropologists, historians, neuroscientists and philosophers to think of the possible ways in which subjects engage with their own sensory experience and with larger practices that enable them to articulate such experiences in in meaningful ways. Nevertheless, “How do I feel?” is a question that was equally quintessential in the pre-modern Western system of thought even if the contemporary significations of the word “emotion ” did not become concrete until the 17th century. In their attempt to capture pre-modern emotional modes and systems of feelings, contemporary medievalists, especially under the influence of poststructuralism, considered emotions primarily as discursive entities that shape collective and individual subjectivities. Barbara Rosenwein’s influential notion of “emotional communities,” which inaugurates this trajectory in medieval studies, turns away from the Cartesian split between mind and body and, instead, presents emotions as discursive regimes consisting of strategies, tactics and the conscious ways in which subjects engage with these. However, while emotions are indeed discursive cultural constructs producing collective subjectivities they also possess a sensorial aspect that simultaneously escapes being captured by the social while being constitutive of it. This was the special contribution of the affective “turn” in contemporary theory: the epistemological need to distinguish between emotions as discursive constructs, and affects as flashes of sensory experience and feelings.
This volume aims at complicating Rosenwein’s existing notion of emotion as discursive practice and, at the same time, investigating how medieval subjects talked about their somatic, sensorial and affective practices. If emotions belong to the complexities of social dynamics, we ask how are they incorporated in textual artifacts and cultural productions stemming from often conflicting social events, groups and discourses? How do they act as facilitators between the author and its audience, between the period and its meaning, between the genre and its writing? The emotional and affective dimension of a text cannot be rationalized as either its objective or its point of origin. It is more a textual and factual paradigm around which the author develops her intellectual environment, creating the cultural and political dimension for the text. However, it is within this territory of the text, as a socio-cultural entity orchestrated by the auctorial persona, that a whole archive of emotions and affects is disseminated.
We are interested in essays that investigate the constituency of such “archives of feelings” (Cvetkovich) through the study of the affectivity and emotionality of both literary and non-literary texts, such as political and theological treatises, mystical texts, medical works, scientific tracts and pamphlets, hagiographies and encyclopedic compendiums. While we welcome submissions of articles dealing with such topics in different geographic areas, we are particularly interested in late-medieval and Renaissance French texts.
Articles may examine, but are not limited to questions related to:
- discourses and practices of emotions and affect
- the somatization of the emotional act
- affect and emotions in poetry
- emotions, affect and gender
- queer emotions and affects
- emotions, affect and race
- psychogeographies of emotions and affect
- rhetorics of affect or emotions
- emotional rewritings of historical events
Please send 300-word abstracts in English, as well as a short biography with university affiliation and email address, to Andreea Marculescu (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) and Charles-Louis Morand Métivier (firstname.lastname@example.org) before June 1st . Selected abstracts will be notified on July 1st, and the complete papers will be due on November 1st.