Emotions in the Early Soviet Courtroom

This project investigates the role of emotions in early Soviet legal thought and practice. It has a special focus on the period of "revolutionary justice" (1917-1922), when there was no Penal Code in Soviet Russia and the judges were officially supposed to be guided by their revolutionary feeling of justice. Radical changes in legal theory had profound repercussions in legal practice, which also allow us to reflect on the use of emotions as defensive or explanatory tools.

The role of emotions in the administration of justice is a major issue in the law and emotions literature– and yet relatively unexplored from a historical point of view. The project considers early Soviet Russia as an alternative modernity and argues that this case presents an advantageous viewpoint for the history of emotions because of Russia’s location between East and West and its own imperial/colonial context. By focusing on a relatively short revolutionary period (rather than engaging in longue durée research), the project argues that both law and emotions are subject to rapid change, but they also tend to influence each other in a number of ways and on different levels.