"A Mon Seul Désir" Tapestry, ca. 1480, Musée de Cluny

History 154CD / Cultural Anthropology 154D

The History of Emotions

Fall 2003

Areas of Knowledge: CZ — Competencies/Inquiries: CCI IAA R W

Instructor: William M. Reddy (wmr@duke.edu)

MWF 10:30 West Duke 108B

Many experts now believe that emotions are not genetically hard-wired, but learned responses. Plentiful evidence shows that they vary dramatically in time and space. Emotions have a history. We do not necessarily know, without careful examination, what Romans "felt" when they looked at gladiatorial combat, why 18th-century courtiers cried when they watched Rousseau's opera, or what Chaitanyaite worshipers of Krishna feel when they contemplate his favorite gopi, Radha.

Subject matter

This survey of global emotional history will begin with European history, turn to the United States, and from there, examine a number of nonwestern traditions, including Islam, Hinduism, and Japan. The course will be in a lecture-discussion format. The emphasis will be on appreciating the close links between conceptions of emotion, on the one hand, and politics, gender, and social life on the other. The problem of whether, and how, emotions themselves change over time will be explored. Recent research in history, ethnography, and psychology will be examined to shed light on this issue.

Assignments and grades

Students will be expected to: (1) participate in class discussion — 10 % of grade; (2) write (and rewrite) four short papers(3-5 pp. each) — 40% of grade; (3) write one somewhat longer (term) paper (5-10 pp. — 25% of grade each); and (4) take a final examination — (25% of grade). Student may choose to focus the longer paper projects on one of the regions or issues explored in the assigned readings. However, many issues given only

cursory coverage in the syllabus will be available for more in-depth treatment in students' term paper projects, for example: (1) the universality of romantic love; (2) cross-cultural perspectives on grief; (3) honor and shame in comparative perspective; (4) emotions in ancient Greece and Rome. Students will design their projects in close consultation with the instructor.

Representative texts

Abu-Lughod, Lila, Veiled Sentiments: Honor & Poetry in a Bedouin Society. University of California Press, 1986*

Castiglione, Baldesar, The Book of the Courtier. Viking Penguin, (1530) 1976**

Chrétien de Troyes, Lancelot: or The Knight of the Cart. University of Georgia Press, (ca. 1170) 1990**

Doi, Takeo, The Anatomy of Dependence. Kodansha America, 1982*

Fitzgerald, F. Scott, Tender is the Night. Scribners, 1933**

Shikibu, Murasaki, The Tale of Genji. Random House, (ca 1020) 1990**

Stearns, Peter N., American Cool: Constructing a Twentieth-Century Emotional Style. New York University Press, 1994*

*Historical and ethnographical studies

**Original documents and source materials