Today, emotions play a major role – to the point of stating that they would virtually characterise Western postmodern societies (cf. Damousi & Davidson 2019, 1). Also in historical contexts, feelings, affects, and emotions represented a constant frame of reference, especially for education. In this context, education aimed not only at regulating and controlling emotions, but also at cultivating them. This opened up possibilities for self-awareness, expression or criticism, which also motivated action (cf. Frevert 2009, 191f).
With the increasing social significance of emotions, scientific interest and with it historical interest in emotions has also grown (cf. Rauh et al. 2020, 11; Caruso & Frevert 2012, 9). The primary focus of research lies on the question of how people were manipulated by using emotions in German National Socialism and other fascist regimes of the 20th century. Today, historically oriented research on emotion looks more closely at the question as to how individuals deal with emotions or cultivate them within a relationship or the family, with a particular emphasis on the German educated middle classes (cf. Jarzebowski 2018, p. 2). Furthermore, the period of transition from the late Middle Ages to the early modern era also lies in the focus of historical emotion research. The most diverse contexts in which emotions play a role are also perceived here, for instance age, intellectual-cultural traditions and religions, literature, places and social coexistence, war, justice or nature (cf. Lynch & Broomhall 2020; Broomhall 2017; Champion & Lynch 2015).
Marcelo Caruso and Ute Frevert stressed that historical educational research needs to reflect more intensively on emotions in the educational context (2012, p. 9). A first important step in this direction was the themed volume on “Emotions in the History of Education” in the Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung (2012), which, in addition to several contributions on the 19th and 20th centuries, includes two articles on the period before 1800.
Overall, the focus of the history of education on the history of emotions is on modernity. However, according to Claudia Jarzebowski, historical emotion research on the pre-modern period allows for complementing and revising research on 19th century educated bourgeois emotional worlds (cf. Jarzebowski 2018, 30-37; Roper 2016).
With regard to historical research on emotions, the question on the one hand has been raised and controversially discussed whether they are biological-anthropological constants or cultural imprints, or whether both interact. On the other hand, it is important to know that not only the relationship to emotions has changed in time, but also the perception of feelings has changed fundamentally (cf. Champion & Lynch 2015, IX-XIII). Nevertheless, the fact that people have feelings is part of the human experience throughout the ages. If they were disturbing – for example, if considered deviant in a certain context – they were tamed by “emotional regimes” (William Reddy, in: Champion & Lynch, 2015, XV). Finally, their motivational (Frevert 2009), manipulative or stabilising potential cannot be dismissed (Jarzebowski 2018, 30). In this context, Barbara Rosenwein pointed to the importance of “emotional communities”, in which certain feelings and affects were cultivated or segregated, and whose exploration can shed light on the self-understanding of groups or social relations, their communication and their forms of action (Rosenwein 2006, 201; Jarzebowski 2018, 33).
Here, the relevance of an approach based on the history of education becomes clear, since education – especially in the sense of “emotional regimes” – always has to do with emotions, for instance in moral education (cf. Jornitz & Kollmann 2012, 29). However, this pedagogical control of emotions must not be understood exclusively as the increasing suppression of vital impulses, as Norbert Elias meant with regard to the constitution of Western societies, but rather also as the competence to be able to modulate feelings and thus participate socially (cf. Jarzebowski 2018, 27; Lempa 1997, 215).
The relevance of a pedagogical approach to feelings in the pre-modern era can be seen, for example, in the Jesuit theatre pedagogy of the 17th century, which aimed at the “purification of the affects”, meaning a process of emotional-moral change (cf. Müller 2012, 11 and 15f.). In the 18th century, philanthropist pedagogy, for example, sought to bring feelings and passions into balance through education (cf. Jornitz & Kollmann 2012, 33). It is also evident here that the importance of affects has by no means diminished, but that concepts of certain emotions were redefined. For example, the aristocratic concept of honour was replaced by the feeling of achievement (cf. Lempa 1997, 221). Emotions not only play an important role in the context of moral or aesthetic education, but above all, they shape relationships. This is especially true in the pedagogical context, for which relationships are constitutive, for instance to parents, to oneself, to objects, phenomena or to God (cf. Jarzebowski 2018, 3). In this context, it is precisely emotionally positive bonds – for example in princely education – that also stand for a positive future for the state, because: a prince’s son brought up with love would later also transfer this love to his subjects (cf. Jarzebowski 2018, p. 3; Maier 2013, 449f.). In this respect, emotions also appear as a topic of interest in the history of education today. We would like to broaden research on the pre-modern period up to around the middle of the 19th century.
Scholars who are concerned with the significance of emotions for education in this era are invited to participate in the AVE Conference, which will take place at the University of Education Karlsruhe from 6 to 7 October 2023. Papers on the following aspects in particular are eligible:
- Conceptualisation of emotions in pedagogical discourse
- Instructions and rules for dealing with emotions in general and the regulation of emotionality in children and adolescents in particular
- Emotionality and physicality in educational literature
- Emotions and criminal practices
- Emotions in instruction, teaching, family education, and socialisation in particular social contexts
- Emotions and emotionality in images of women and men
- Self-techniques of emotionality (for instance practicing emotionality, correspondence, autobiographies or diaries)
- Emotions and emotionality in images of men and/or women
- Representation of emotions and practices of emotionality in theatre and pedagogical play
- Emotions and emotionality in the pedagogical handling of non-human nature and the transcendental world
- Emotions and emotionality in dealing with “the other”.
Please send an abstract of a maximum of 3,000 characters with a clear reference to the conference theme as a PDF file by e-mail by 15 February 2023 to: email@example.com
The selection of contributions for the conference in Karlsruhe will take place in mid-March 2023. A publication of selected contributions is planned.
Broomhall, Susan (2017) [Hrsg.]: Early Modern Emotions. An Introduction, New York 2017.
Caruso, Marcelo & Frevert, Ute (2012): Einleitung in den Schwerpunkt. In: Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung, Bd. 18, Bad Heilbrunn 2012, 9-10.
Champion, Michael & Lynch, Andrew (2015) [Hrsg.]: Understanding Emotions in Early Europe, Turnhout.
Damousi, Joy & Davidson, Jane W. (2019) [Hrsg.]: A cultural history of the emotions in the modern and post-modern age, London 2019.
Frevert, Ute (2009): Was haben Gefühle in der Geschichte zu suchen? In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft. 35 (2), 183-208.
Jarzebowski, Claudia (2018): Kindheit und Emotion. Kinder und ihre Lebenswelten in der Europäischen Frühen Neuzeit, Berlin – Boston.
Jornitz, Sieglinde & Kollmann, Stefanie (2012): Gezeigte Gefühle: Bilder als Mittel der Unterweisung in Campes ‚Kleine Seelenlehre für Kinder‘. In: Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung, Bd. 18, Bad Heilbrunn 2012, S. 29-46.
Lempa, Heikki (1997): Bildung der Affekte. Der pädagogische Philanthropismus und die Entstehung des Bildungsbürgers. In: Erich Donnert (Hrsg.): Europa in der Frühen Neuzeit, Bd. 4: Deutsche Aufklärung, Weimar – Köln – Wien, S. 215-228.
Lynch, Andrew & Broomhall, Susan (2019) [Hrsg.]: The Routledge History of Emotions in Europe 1100–1700, London.
Maier, Alexander (2013): ‚Gut ist es dem Manne, wenn er getragen das Joch von Jugend an‘. Erziehung und Reform bei Jean Charlier de Gerson. In: Pädagogische Rundschau 67, H. 4, 441-454.
Müller, Ralf (2012): Die Reinigung der Affekte. Mitleid und Furcht als pädagogische Momente im Theater der Societas Jesu am Beispiel von Familienbeziehungen (1650-1752). In: Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung, Bd. 18, Bad Heilbrunn 2012, S. 11-28.
Rauh, Bernhard et al. (2020): Emotionen, Emotionsregulation und Psychoanalytische Pädagogik In: Bernhard Rauh, Nicole Welter, Manuel Franzmann, Kim Magiera, Jennis Schramm & Nicolaus Wilder (Hrsg.): Emotion – Disziplinierung – Professionalisierung Pädagogik im Spannungsfeld von Integration der Emotionen und ‚neuen‘ Disziplinierungstechniken, Berlin – Toronto 2020, 9-27.
Roper, Lyndal (2016): Der Mensch Martin Luther. Die Biographie, Frankfurt/Main 2016.
Rosenwein, Barbara (2006): Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages, Ithaca.