In As You Like It, Jacques describes himself as melancholy, but not in the traditional ways described in literature. He instead feels “a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness” (4.1.14–18). This panel examines this sort of global affect, assembled from many things, arising from one’s travels. By examining affect as an assemblage, the product of a complex network of “simples” that embeds the passions in a dynamic social environment, we will offer a new approach to the subjective experience of travel, colonialism, and empire. Furthermore, we hope to cross-fertilize the burgeoning field of the history of emotions with the history of empires. In doing so we wish to explore emotional cultures not just in the intimate spheres of empire, in the tradition of Anne Stoler's pioneering work, but attending to how public cultures of affect were productive of and produced by empire.
What passions were produced by the encounter of humourous early modern bodies with dramatically different geographic environments? What role did new and altered forms of affect play in moments of cross-cultural encounter, conversion, conquest, or cosmopolitanism? What new distillations of melancholy (or joy, nostalgia, lust, anger, envy, etc) arose as early modern bodies mixed with the things of the wider world? What role did changing forms of affect play in constructions of race, religion, nation, or empire, both within Europe and without? How was affect understood in geographic or spatial terms?
We would like to assemble a panel of 3-4 papers representing a wide variety of specialties. Contributions from literary scholars of any language, historians, art historians, and others are welcome. Please send paper proposals (250-word maximum) to Justin Kolb (Justin.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ananya Chakravarti, (Ananya.email@example.com) by June 10.
Please familiarize yourself with RSA obligations (membership, fees, travel costs, etc.) by visiting the conference homepage at http://www.rsa.org/?2015Berlin.
Dr. Ananya Chakravarti
The American University in Cairo
420 Fifth Ave, 3
New York- 10018
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