Call for Papers

PDF version: Emotional Objects CFP Final

Emotional Objects

Touching Emotions in Europe 1600-1900

11th-12th October 2013, Institute of Historical Research, London.

Proposals are invited for 20 minute papers for Emotional Objects: Touching Emotions in Europe 1600-1900, funded by the European Research Council project Spinning in the Era of the Spinning Wheel 1400-1800.

Emotional Objects aims to stimulate interdisciplinary debate concerning what objects can tell us about emotions, and what emotions contribute to material culture. In particular, it will explore the way the materiality of objects – the very stuff of which they were made – performed emotional work. In the course of the last decade, an emotional turn and a material turn have been identified as key events in historical scholarship. Nevertheless, the emotions and material culture have rarely been considered in combination. Emotional Objects aims to bring them together.

The keynote speaker Professor John Styles (University of Hertfordshire) will reflect on working with the emotive textiles of the London Foundling Hospital.

We welcome papers from museum professionals and scholars of emotion, material culture, anthropology, archaeology, art, design, geography, gender, history, literature, textiles and other relevant disciplines that shed light on the emotional power of objects. Travel bursaries and accommodation are available for international and domestic speakers thanks to the European Research Council. Please indicate whether you would like to be considered for a bursary.

Please send a 200 word abstract and a brief biographical note to by 7th June 2013.

Possible topics include:

  • Processing and communicating emotions
  • The use, misuse and disuse of objects
  • Adorning, engraving and enhancing objects
  • Making and breaking objects
  • Rituals and life-cycles
  • Disgusting, unsettling and disturbing objects
  • Comforting, amorous and erotic objects
  • Sacred and revered objects
  • Memory, identity and material culture

Emotional Objects is convened by Alice Dolan (University of Hertfordshire) and Sally Holloway (Royal Holloway). Follow us on twitter for updates @EmotionalObject



  1. sophiewaring · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Things and commented:
    Folk’s interested in “Things” will be delighted to see this Conference happening at the Institute of Historical Research, London on the 11th and 12th of October 2013.

  2. Reblogged this on historyonthego and commented:
    A fantastic workshop!

  3. […] Further information is available on the conference blog. […]

  4. Reblogged this on Title under construction and commented:
    even though the deadline was today, the topic sounds very nice = worth re-blogging

  5. […] of that emotion to material culture. In the wake of last year’s provocative conference Emotional Objects: Touching Emotions in Europe, 1600-1900, as well as the recent Ashgate edited collection on Women and the Material Culture of Death […]

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