The Fear of Emotio_Reading Group

The history of the West is the history of increasing emotional control. This assumption unites almost every theory of the history of emotions according to Barbara Roswein(1). The fear in Western Europe of the uncontrollable emotio taking over the evolutionary proudly cultivated ratio, especially after shocking events like the upraise and rulings of fascism in the beginning of the 20th century(2), but starting much earlier with the emergence and shifting of moral codes in the European Middle Ages(3), resulted in a wide overall suppression and fear of so called difficult emotions(4).

How are the notion of emotional control and it’s entanglement with the development of technology since the enlightenment, industrialisation and the rise of capitalism connected? How is the concretisation of the knowledge and vocabulary of mental illness related to this shift and the resulting change in family politics and structures? What can we learn about this progression and it’s current effects trough the eyes of mental disorders?

Approaching these questions with different texts the reading group sessions will make use of “An Archive for Emotions”, a research archive by DisOrder, a collaborative residency project at Raum Station Zurich taking place from the 5th of August to the 18th of September 2016. Reading Group Sessions will take place every Wednesday 7.30pm at Raum Station, Zurich.

(1) Jan Plamper, ‘Geschiche und Gefühl, Grundlage der Emotionsgeschichte’ Barbara Roswein p.79
(2) Jan Plamper, ‘Geschiche und Gefühl, Grundlage der Emotionsgeschichte’, Lucien Febvre, p.55, p.64
(3) Jan Plamper, ‘Geschiche und Gefühl, Grundlage der Emotionsgeschichte’, Norbert Elias, p.62
(4) Jan Plamper, ‘Geschiche und Gefühl, Grundlage der Emotionsgeschichte’, Lucien Febvre, p.55


10/08/16 7.30pm
// Reading Group 01
Eric Shouse,"Feeling, Emotion, Affect," in: M/C Journal 8.6, 2005.


17/08/16 7.30pm
// Reading Group 02
Brian Massumi,“The Autonomy of Affect,” in: Cultural Critique No. 31, The Politics of Systems and Environments, Part II, Autumn, 1995, pp. 83-109.


24/08/16 7.30pm
// Reading Group 03
James Elkins, “Crying from chromatic waves” in: Pictures & Tears, pp. 30-41.


07/09/16 7.30pm
// Reading Group 04
Benjamin Odgen, “The Analyst's Ear and the Critic's Eye: Rethinking Psychoanalysis and Literature, pp. 06-44.