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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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Finding Joy in the History of Emotions

Finding Joy in the History of Emotions

(p.103) Chapter 5 Finding Joy in the History of Emotions
Doing Emotions History

Darrin M. Mcmahon

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines why joy and other positive emotions have largely been neglected by scholars, while suggesting that there are rich opportunities for greater historical understanding in this realm. It identifies some particular moments in the past when examinations of joy are particularly revealing, leaving the further task of more systematically exploring wider changes and regional diversities as challenges for the future. To do so, the chapter provides an anecdotal account as the basis for presenting a soft conjecture—that the history of emotions does suffer from a negative bias. Furthermore, the chapter considers a number of the reasons why it might actually be true, before then pondering some of the consequences and entertaining some possible remedies.

Keywords:   joy, positive emotions, negative bias, emotions history, negativity bias

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