On Resentment. An Interdisciplinary Workshop of the History of Emotions

Universidad de Ginebra


This workshop aims at exploring from an interdisciplinary approach the nature of resentment and its diverse psychological, cultural and social manifestations in order to reveal how this emotion has played a decisive role in history. Resentment is born out of suffering. Between anger and contempt, this negative emotion reveals a sense of inferiority because it is usually experienced as a result of an humiliation, which becomes obsessive and mentally self-poisoning leading to a strong desire of revenge.
Friedrich Nietzsche introduced the French term ressentiment in late 19th century literature as a psychological concept to express a moral disease -nihilism- and Max Scheler further developed this concept as an existential form of envy. At the same period, physicians like Paolo Mantegazza studied this affective state as a variety of hatred, which has its bodily origins in pain. Further 20th century studies would emphasise the role played by this emotion in macroscopic sovial processes, such as the creation of social identities, moral values and class conflicts. Moreover, resentment has also been used to explain political phenomena such as revolutions, modern wars and, even, the new wave of terrorist attacks.
Contributions are sought from scholars working in the history of emotions, who are interested in exploring the different forms adopted by resentment in individuals, groups and institutions. A selection of papers presented at this workshop will be included in a special publication. Abstracts in English or French for 20-minute papers (maximum 300 words) should be submitted electronically by 30th June 2011 at Dolores.MartinMoruno [at] unige.ch
Organization: Línea de investigación Historia cultural del conocimientoRed CREP (Ciencia, Representaciones, Espacios y Prácticas) y Universidad de Ginebra.