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Summer Semester 2016

German History Workshop

German History Workshop

4 July 2016
Harnack House, Berlin

Co-organized by IMPRS Moral Economies, Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Der Kreis - University of California, Berkeley

The workshop serves as a platform for researchers and PhD candidates from Berkeley and Berlin to discuss current research projects. The intensive exchange between the participants is intended to initiate ongoing communication between scholars in Berkeley and Berlin and to lay the groundwork for future collaboration.

More information can be found here.

IMPRS Moral Economies Peer Colloquium

IMPRS Moral Economies Peer Colloquium

This semester’s colloquium has a special focus on “ideological networks in the public sphere”.  Each session of the colloquium is organized by one or more PhD students and seeks to address theoretical and methodical questions pertinent to their research. Theoretical texts and secondary literature are critically discussed and contrasted with different kinds of historical source material. All sessions are open to colleagues from outside the IMPRS.

For more information, see the course syllabus on the right margin of this page.

Seminar: Happy Objects and Objects of Happiness - Historical, Political and Economic Perspectives

Seminar: Happy Objects and Objects of Happiness - Historical, Political and Economic Perspectives

Edgar Cabanas Diaz (MPI for Human Development)

Focusing on the contemporary notion of happiness, especially that popularized and defended by positive psychologists and happiness economists in the last two decades, the seminar aims at discussing its historical roots, economic applications and political consequences. The first part of the seminar addresses the relationship between happiness, emotions and subjectivity and also comment upon the evolution of the concept in Western cultures from late-nineteenth century to the present. The second part of the seminar addresses the relationship between happiness, consumption and labor. It will deal with the growing commodification of happiness (happy objects), and the increasing intertwinement between happiness and economic value (objects of happiness), since the 1960s and also examine the historical transformation that the notions of “work” and “worker” have undergone after the introduction of happiness and well-being in the sphere of labor in the last half of the century. Finally, the seminar addresses the relationship between happiness, emotions and spaces. It will focus on the concept of “emotional spaces” and on theme parks (1950s-present) as outstanding examples of a growing entertainment industry that increasingly aims at producing, manufacturing and designing happy experiences for visitors.  

More information can be found here.

Seminar: Vengeance - States, Violence and Law in World History

Seminar: Vengeance - States, Violence and Law in World History

Stephen Cummins (MPI for Human Development)

Vengeance has long fascinated historians. For some, it has been the key to understanding why some societies are violent and others less so. Revenge has been studied in relation to the growth of law, the increase in power of state authority and levels of violence. Yet while vengeance is popularly associated with disorder, historians were inspired by anthropological work that explored how feuding or revenge was not necessarily chaotic, but could be an ordered system of dispute resolution. This course investigates the history and historiography of revenge, tracing different parts of the realities behind these complex phenomena – such as the actual incidence and typology of violence or the gendered nature of such practices –  and the theoretical models used by historians to understand vendetta, feuding and other forms of revenge. The course centers on the early modern period (c.1450-1700), but stretches back to the medieval and forward to the modern period. The geographic focus, although not exclusive, will be Eurasia. Approaches to studying revenge emerge from different disciplines, times and places. Stories about the decline of revenge – the restraint of violence – have been central to long-term histories of ‘civilization’ and state formation; this course will allow students to assess critically these explanations of change over time in relation to practices of violence and vengeful emotions. The course unites the history of violence, law, politics and the emotions.

More information can be found here.

Seminar: Alcohol and Drugs in Modern History

Seminar: Alcohol and Drugs in Modern History

Pavel Vasilyev (MPI for Human Development)

Alcohol and drugs are substances that are produced, marketed, sold and consumed globally – yet the ways they have been conceptualized and dealt with around the world and throughout human history are strikingly different. Most of the world’s population today has experience of taking at least one of the psychoactive substances, and their abuse is often presented as a major contemporary problem – yet there is a clear lack of attention towards the various historical and cultural forms that alcohol and drug use can take.

This graduate seminar provides an introduction into the history of alcohol and drugs with a focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. Due to the global nature of the topic, the seminar will feature readings on various geographic locations across the continents, and there will be plenty of opportunities to draw transnational comparisons. The students will be introduced to different ways of writing the history of alcohol and drugs, including history of policy, social history, cultural history, history of crime and law, and the history of medicine. Given that this course forms a part of the seminar program of the IMPRS Moral Economies, we would be particularly interested in exploring the ways in which various actors throughout modern history have linked alcohol and drugs to (im)morality and emotions. Finally, we will consider the influence that the historical experience exercises upon our perceptions and policies regarding alcohol and drugs today.

More information can be found here.

Graduate Conference

"A System Without Anger and Fondness? Emotions in the Age of Bureaucracy"
15-16 September 2016, MPIB Berlin

The two-day conference brings together researchers focusing on the intersections of emotions and bureaucracy who will present their projects and discuss the opportunities (and limits) of a cultural history of bureaucracy from the perspective of the history of emotions.

Keynote by Peter Becker (Universität Wien).