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Humanities Research Centre Workshop Series 2018/19


Co-directed by Prof. Beat Kümin (History) and Prof. Christina Lupton (English).


How has 'passion' been defined, represented and analyzed to date? What can be gained from studies of obsessive quests or irresistible urges? Which authors, actors, directors or artists offer privileged insights? Is there more to say on the Passion of Christ or Les liaisons dangereuses? Should we take stronger stands for / against specific developments in the Arts and Humanities or put more effort into public engagement? These were some of the questions this group - composed of Arts Faculty members selected in a competitive process - discussed in 2018-19. Participants worked on a wide range of topics linked to the history or theory of emotion, philosophers like Nietzsche, feelings of shame / melancholy, emotional communities, the cult of celebrity, illicit sexual relationships, medical romances and many others. Our cross-disciplinary workshop series provided a space to share work, build conversations, leave comfort zones, explore follow-on projects and give postgraduates a chance to interact with more advanced scholars.

For summary discussions of the workshop series see the HRC's Spectrum magazine, issue 2, 15-17

FINAL SESSION on Friday 17th May 2019 in the Oculus Building


Public Keynote Event

Event Poster - Twitter: #WarwickPassion

1.30 - 2.30 'Passion in Practice' Workshop led by Dr Michael Meeuwis (English / Warwick)
Introduction, points of departure and further readings

2.30 - 3.30 Dr Naomi Pullin (History / Warwick)

‘Best Friends and Worst Enemies: Contrasting Passions in Early Modern Britain, c. 1660-1775’

Abstract, introduction and source excerpts


4.00 - 5.30 Keynote by Professor Margrit Pernau (Max Planck Institute for Human Development / Center for the History of Emotions, Berlin)

‘Riots and the desire for passions. Violence, emotions and temporality, North India 1880-1947’
Sample texts

5.30 - 6.30 Wine reception and seminar series roundtable / conclusions

Keynote Group

'Passion in Practice' participants from Berlin, Birmingham, London and Warwick at our keynote event. Pic: BK.

Previous Meetings

Each session was prepared by workshop members from different disciplines and preceded by lunch.

1. Friday 26 October 2018 12 – 2: Millburn House / H347
Led by Beat Kümin (History) and Christina Lupton (English)

Introductory discussion on terminology, demarcations, cultural / physiological factors and evolutions based on:

  • Jan Plamper, The History of Emotions: An Introduction, trans. Keith Tribe, Emotions in History Series (Oxford: UP, 2012), ch. ‘History and Emotions’, 1-39
  • Louis C. Charland, ‘Reinstating the Passions: Arguments from the History of Psychopathology’, in: P. Goldie (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Emotion (Oxford: UP, 2009), 238-60

2. Friday 23 November 2018 12 – 2: Humanities H450
Led by Fabio Camilletti (SMLC/Italian) & Valentina Tomassetti (History) on the basis of the following texts:

  • Mannoni, Octave, 'I know well, but all the same ...', trans. G. M. Goshgarian, originally published in his Clés pour l'imaginaire, ou l'autre scène (Paris: Ed. du Seuil, 1969), 9-33
  • Scheer, Monique, 'Are emotions a kind of practice (and is that what makes them have a history)? A Bourdieuian approach to understanding emotion', in: History & Theory 51 (2012), 193-230

3. Friday 1 February 2019 12 – 2: Humanities H450
Led by Keith Ansell-Pearson (Philosophy) & Natalie Hanley-Smith (History)

  • Ansell-Pearson, Keith, 'Nietzsche on Transforming the Passions into Joys: On the Middle Writings and Thus Spoke Zarathustra', in: C. Bertot, J. Leclercq & P. Wotling (eds), Ainsi Parlait Zarathoustra: Nietzsche et la philosophie de l'affirmation (Louvain: Presses Universitaires, forthcoming in 2019)
  • Holloway, Sally, '"You know I am all on fire": Writing the Adulterous Affair in England, c. 1740-1830', in: Historical Research 89 (244/2016), 317-39

4. Friday 1 March 2019 12 – 2: Humanities H450
Introduced by ...

... with reference to:

  • Dyhouse, Carol, Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 'Chapter 2: Unbridled Passions', 30-51
  • Foucault, Michel, 'On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress', from The Foucault Reader, ed. W. Rabinow (London, 1984), 253-80
  • Ingram, Allan et al. (eds), Melancholy Experience in Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century: Before Depression, 1660-1800 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011), esp. 'Introduction' and ch. 1: 'Fashionable Melancholy' by C. Lawlor
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, [excerpts from] 'Schopenhauer as Educator', translated from his Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen (1874)

Seminar Group April 2019 Pic D Lambert

'Passion' participants at the fifth workshop on 26 April 2019. Pic: D. Lambert.


5. Friday 26 April 2019 12 – 2: Humanities H450
Led by Lucy Barry (Philosophy), Somak Biswas (History) & Sophie Shorland (English)

Preparatory task included ...


Further information

For questions or suggestions please contact Beat.

The Ecstasy of St Teresa

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, ‘The Ecstasy of St Teresa’ (c. 1650). Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. Photo: Alvesgaspar, licensed under Creative Commons

CLIP: Ahead of the keynote event, Simona, Beat & Sophie discussed the impact of the workshop series so far.



Keynote lecturer Margrit Pernau in conversation with 'Passion' participants.



Lively discussions about keynote themes such as the 'desire for passion' in breaks between the sessions. All pics: BK.