Colloquium: The Rise and Fall of the Resentment Paradigm (ca. 1935–1975)

  • Date: May 21, 2019
  • Time: 05:00 PM (Local Time Germany)
  • Speaker: Robert Schneider
  • Location: Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lentzeallee 94, 14195 Berlin
  • Room: Small Conference Room
  • Host: Center for the History of Emotions
  • Contact:

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially invites all interested to attend its summer semester 2019 colloquium:

Robert A. Schneider, Indiana University Bloomington

The Rise and Fall of the Resentment Paradigm

In the middle decades of the twentieth century there emerged what I am calling the “Resentment Paradigm.” With intellectual roots in Nietzsche’s notion of ressentiment, but more urgently in response to the historical experience of fascism and other forms of right-wing extremism, scholars and intellectuals fashioned a well-wrought analysis of these movements and their ideological appeal that hinged on popular resentment against modernizing forces as the decisive explanatory factor. In the post-WWII era, this paradigm, I will argue, achieved a hegemonic reach when it came to explaining such movements as populism, anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, nativism, and all variations of fascism. By the later decades of the twentieth century, however, this paradigm lost its appeal in most academic and intellectual quarters and was largely discredited, with implications about how we are able to explain more recent extremist movements and wider sources of popular discontent.

Robert Schneider is Professor of History at Indiana University Bloomington. He is a specialist in Early Modern French history, having published several books on the subject, including Dignified Retreat: Writers and Intellectuals in the Age of Richelieu, forthcoming from Oxford University Press this year. He has held fellowships from the Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the French government (Bourse Chateaubriand). He has been a visiting fellow at All Souls College and Oriel College (Oxford), a visiting professor at the National Irish University at Maynooth, and three times Directeur d’Études Invité at the École des Hautes Études, Paris. From 2005-2015 he was Editor of the American Historical Review. His current book project is on “The Return of Resentment: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of a Political Emotion.”

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