Moral Economies and Emotion

AHA Session 216
Saturday, January 8, 2011: 2:30 PM-4:30 PM
Grand Ballroom Salon C (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Keith Wrightson, Yale University
Michael Geyer, University of Chicago

Session Abstract

The three proposed papers in this panel are wide-ranging in geographic scope, historiographies and time frames. What binds them together is a common concern with learned concepts of affect that are constitutive for their respective societies. Without “proper” notions of friendship, gratitude or Zalunci, a subject of early Modern England, cold-war East Germany or post-colonial Nigeria would fall outside of the social fabric of his/her respective society, endangering his/her material as well as his/her assigned position in life. In all three societies, this informal fabric of values and emotions transcended class or rank. All three societies did not formally codify their notions of friendship, gratitude or Zalunci, but sensed and sanctioned transgression of their collectively perceived boundaries. How, however, did one learn these values and emotions and how were they passed on and changed from generation to generation? How fragile were they? This panel thus proposed that reading these all-pervasive concepts side by side may shed new light onto what essentially constitutes the “operating systems” of (civic) society over time and space.

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