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Thursday, 10 June 2010

A question for historians of emotion

A hypothetical one - the reality would of course be impossible.

Imagine in the future, historians come to look back upon our world. If they had no primary texts, no primary written sources of any kind, what if anything could they say about the emotional lives of this Western society?

Would they see the plethora of shops, the malls and supermarkets and conclude that western society was in no small way organised through consumerism and a freudian view of the self which creates an economy based on desire and not need? How else without texts might they view those modern day temples?

Might they play old movies and discover our narratives obsessing over sex, violence and revenge? What would they make of them without writings to contextualise it all?

Who from the other disciplines would they speak to? The historians of music and art? The archaeologists? The comparative mythologists? The scientists of neurology and forensic anthropology?

So many conversations to be had for historians of emotion.

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