Panel 3: Emotions in Bodies and Spaces

Although there is no final agreement among contemporary scholars about what emotions are (about), most definitions do stress the close link between emotions and the body. The latter plays a crucial role in enacting, performing and suppressing emotions. Medical science and practice are not alone in pointing to the physiological basis of emotions: various religions, too, have perceived and utilized the bodies of believers as media of piety and religious enthusiasm, and have promoted physical manifestations of devotion as a direct aid to spiritual development. The arts – especially music and dance, but also sculpture and painting – have heavily drawn upon concepts of bodily arousal and performance, associated with specific emotions. The same holds true for political movements that have deliberately relied on mass formations of human bodies in demonstrations, ritualized marches, and assemblies in order to elicit and frame political emotions. Modern theories of the masses (Le Bon, Freud, Canetti, among others) have drawn attention on how male and/or female bodies have been arranged and organized in public and private spaces thereby influencing the ways in which diverse emotions were felt and shown. Overall the particular materiality of spaces and their impact on human relations has to be emphasized. Architectural choices and designs of buildings, avenues, town squares, and gardens have always taken into account the feelings evoked by particular spatial features. The panel addressed at least some of these issues and topics, considering the long-term changes and variations in the configurations of emotions, bodies and spaces.


Fabrizio Titone
(Universidad del País Vasco, Spain)
Emotions and Mourning Rites in Late Medieval Sicily

Alan Maddox
(University of Sydney, Australia)
Emotional Expression and the Passion at the Basilica of St Anthony of Padua in the Early Eighteenth Century

Benno Gammerl
(Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany)
Love Making Homosexual Bodies? 20th Century Perspectives