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Doing Emotions History$
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Susan J. Matt and Peter N. Stearns

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038051

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038051.001.0001

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Recovering the Invisible

Recovering the Invisible

Methods for the Historical Study of the Emotions

(p.41) Chapter 2 Recovering the Invisible
Doing Emotions History

Susan J. Matt

University of Illinois Press

This chapter sketches some of the methods and sources that scholars use to reconstruct the history of the emotions. It considers some challenges historians face when studying emotions, as they try to pinpoint both what they are studying and how to study it. The feeling itself would be long gone, after all, as well as the person who experienced it. The chapter addresses these issues by first examining the contested connection between feelings and words. It then turns its attention to an equally thorny issue—the relationship between emotional norms and individual emotional experience. Finally, the chapter considers the sources that scholars have available to them, and the creative ways that historians use them to understand the past.

Keywords:   reconstructing emotions, emotional norms, emotional experience, feelings, historical sources

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