Colloquium: Controlling emotions and the senses during epidemics in early modern Germany

  • Date: Jun 28, 2022
  • Time: 05:00 PM
  • Speaker: Brendan Röder, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Location: On site
  • Host: Center for the History of Emotions

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, led by Prof. Dr. Ute Frevert, cordially presents its summer semester 2022 colloquium.

Brendan Röder, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Controlling emotions and the senses during epidemics in early modern Germany

The interplay between emotions and the senses has recently attracted renewed attention among historians. Taking up this trend from the perspective of early modern urban history, the paper explores the connections historical actors made between sensing and feeling. It focuses on specific situations when urban dwellers were confronted with imminent dangers such as epidemics. Fear and dread, for instance, were not only often described as arising from specific smells, sights or sounds but also seen as influencing the ways the human senses worked. Controlling this nexus between senses and emotions was an important medical and political imperative in times of crisis.

Brendan Röder is a postdoctoral researcher at LudwigMaximilians-University Munich in the Collaborative Research Cluster ‘Cultures of Vigilance’. A historian of early modern Europe and global Catholicism, his first book, entitled The Priest’s Body, analysed concepts and practices surrounding so-called bodily defects in the early modern Catholic clergy and was published in 2021.

He is currently working on a second book project entitled Sensing Danger. Vigilant Citizens in Early Modern Augsburg, which explores how urban dwellers of the past used their senses to detect dangers and how they put their perceptive capacities into the service of collective and private agendas.


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