Does early modern history need an ‘emotional turn’?

emotions cfp image

The Oxford-Princeton-Münster Workshop in Early Modern History

Call for Graduate Student Participants

Does early modern history need an ‘emotional turn’?

3rd-7th September, 2014

University of Münster, Germany.

The third annual Oxford-Princeton-Münster Workshop in Early Modern History will address the question: “Does early modern history need an emotional turn?’  In recent years, the “history of emotions” has become a growing and intensely debated field of research. But it is not yet clear whether studying the feelings of historical persons is possible, or, if it is, where it leads us. This year’s workshop will therefore interrogate the possibilities and limitations of emotional history, asking how an understanding of emotions changes our picture of early modernity?

Format of Workshop

Following the format established in previous years, participants will read a number of set texts and present a short paper linking their own research project to the questions of emotional history. This link could be theoretical, methodological or empirical. Over the course of several days, students and leading experts from the participating universities will together explore a number of conceptual questions (including but not limited to): What is a feeling or an emotion – an experience, a discourse, or both? Are emotions natural, biological and universal, or culturally constructed and historically specific? What sources can we use to approach early modern people’s feelings? And how do we link the study of feelings to other topics, to general interpretations of early modernity? How, finally, do we write about feelings – is there a specific historiographical sensitivity required for this topic? What examples and case studies can we use to highlight certain emotions (love, hate, anger, grief, etc) and how do these provide connections between the history of emotions and other topics like politics, violence, social history, religion, and knowledge?

Applications and Eligibility

Applications to participate in the workshop are open to any Oxford D. Phil student whose research engages with this year’s theme. Discussions will take place in English so there are no language requirements.

If you are interested in participating please send an abstract of 250 words describing how your doctoral research engages with the history of emotions. Abstracts should be sent to both Dr Hannah Murphy ( and Dr Hannah Williams ( by Friday 9 May, 2014 (Week 2, Trinity Term).  

You will also need your D. Phil supervisor’s approval to participate. You must be able to travel to Germany and to commit to the dates of the workshop (3-7 September 2014).


Successful applicants will receive accommodation and travel costs.
Early Career