The history of emotions has become a fast growing field of historical inquiry in recent years. We are now beginning to understand how emotions shaped the way people interacted socially and how the meaning of feelings differed across cultures. Emotions were not only invested in other people, but also in material culture. In this paper I explore the shifting meanings and narratives of emotions that were associated with the exchange of material objects between European settlers and indigenous people. I will discuss how the historical study of emotions can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of early modern societies and their colonial encounters.
Magic, Body and the Self in Eighteenth-Century Sweden, 21 november, kl. 15.00-17.00, (LUX: B336)
Magic remained an integral part of everyday life in eighteenth-century Europe, despite attempts to ‘enlighten’ the peasants. In this paper I discuss how the endurance of magical practices, both benevolent and malevolent, was grounded in early modern perceptions of an interconnected body, self and spiritual cosmos. Eighteenth-century Swedish witchcraft trials, which are exceptionally detailed, are a great source for exploring these notions of embodiment and selfhood. The analysis of healing magic, the politics of evidence and proof and the very ambiguity of magical rituals reveal a surprising syncretism of Christianity and pre-Christian elements. I will also explore to what extent a study of magic and popular religion raises new questions for the history of emotions.