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Call for Papers: Evidence of Feeling: Law, Science and Emotions in Modern Europe

Call for Papers

April 10-11, 2017

Center for the History of Emotions, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

Organizer: Daphne Rozenblatt

The power to prove or disprove a feeling is nowhere more strongly exhibited than in the courts of law, where emotions can determine the motives (and therefore culpability) of a defendant accused of a crime; affirm, discredit, or cast doubt upon the validity of a witness’s testimony; or determine the damages and compensation owed to the offended party. But what constitutes evidence of feeling? As a legal concept, evidence is both mutable and case specific. A court can reject and deny the admittance of evidence, can produce evidence through testimony and interrogation, and can rely upon extra-legal systems of knowledge, often times including scientific expertise. The challenges of legal evidence are further complicated by the emotions both implicit and explicit to juridical processes. Despite these ambiguities, emotions are often crucial to detecting and determining motive, intent, mens rea, etc. and affecting not only the verdict of a trial, but its broader social and political meaning.

This workshop aims to bring together research on the history of emotions in law and science in order to examine emotions together with the relationship between systems of knowledge and social practices in the scientific-legal setting. It builds on recent research on law and emotions that has examined both the way that emotions are addressed, arbitrated, defended, and prohibited by legal code as well as the emotional practices of various persons within the court, included judges, jurors, lawyers, and spectators. Furthermore, it builds on research into the history of science and the emotions, which has explored emotions as scientific objects and as part of scientific practice. By focusing on evidence as a crux between theory and practice, it not only aims to contribute to the legal and scientific history of emotions, but emotional epistemology through historical examine.

Information

The workshop will be held on 10th and 11th April 2017 at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

Travel and accomodation costs will be covered. The organizers welcome contributions with a strong historical impetus from all social and cultural sciences. Please send proposals (a short CV and sketch of max. 500 words) by 19th February 2017 to: cfp-emotions[at]mpib-berlin.mpg.de.