Shaping the Modern

From 2011–2018, this program drew connections between the emotions history of Europe 1100–1800, and what is happening in Australia today, both in terms of European-Australian continuities and the survival of our European heritage, and in terms of the emotional investment of modern Australians in their European past.

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Pre-modern European emotions have had long-ranging effects, particularly on European settler colonies such as Australia. Shaping the Modern moves beyond CHE’s main chronological range of 1100-1800, applying the long HIstory of Emotions to life in Australia today.

Shaping the Modern seeks to increase understanding of the way emotions are identified, described, represented, expressed and understood within the Australian community. The program also investigates emotional attachment to the past and examines how we perceive past emotions.

The expression and understanding of emotions in Europe 1100-1800 share both continuities and discontinuities with contemporary society. Research streams link the past with the present, developing knowledge of how our emotional heritage has shaped our national identity and modern culture.

Shaping the Modern Program Projects


As a forum for members of the Shaping the Modern community to share information on current and long-term projects as well as upcoming events, you are invited to join a Shaping the Modern list-serve. Requests and enquiries: Helen Hickey (