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Emotional Politics in International Relations: A Historical Perspective


Date: Monday 15 December 2014
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Venue: Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre A, The University of Melbourne
Keynote address: Professor Ute Frevert, Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

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Abstract: The politics of honour, shame, and humiliation are highly significant for the study of emotions in international relations. First, they stretch over a long period, starting in early modern times and ending, at least in Europe, after 1945. They thus tread a path through quite diverse structural settings, from the era of early modern state-building under the auspices of absolutist rule to the era of strong nationalism and nation-building in conditions of constitutional government and universal suffrage.  Second, in the course of this development we can trace how the affective quality and intensity of honour and shame concepts increase. In the background of this development the state is personified by the monarch (and his or her family), and the nation identifies itself with that monarch (and his or her family). This personification greatly enhances emotional dynamics and plays a vital role in international relations, especially during the age of high imperialism.
Biography: Ute Frevert is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development Center for the History of Emotions, and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society. Between 2003 and 2007 she was a professor of German history at Yale University and prior to that she taught History at the Universities of Konstanz, Bielefeld and the Free University in Berlin. Her research interests include the history of the emotions, social and cultural history of modern times, gender history and political history. Ute Frevert is an honorary professor at the Free University in Berlin and member of several scientific boards; she was awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize in 1998.