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Fear: Across the Disciplinesby Jan Plamper
Synopses & Reviews
This volume provides a cross-disciplinary examination of fear, that most unruly of our emotions, by offering a broad survey of the psychological, biological, and philosophical basis of fear in historical and contemporary contexts. The contributors, leading figures in clinical psychology, neuroscience, the social sciences, and the humanities, consider categories of intentionality, temporality, admixture, spectacle, and politics in evaluating conceptions of fear.
Individual chapters treat manifestations of fear in the mass panic of the stock market crash of 1929, as spectacle in warfare and in horror films, and as a political tool to justify security measures in the wake of terrorist acts. They also describe the biological and evolutionary roots of fear, fear as innate versus learned behavior in both humans and animals, and conceptions of human “passions” and their self-mastery from late antiquity to the early modern era. Additionally, the contributors examine theories of intentional and non-intentional reactivity, the process of fear-memory coding, and contemporary psychology’s emphasis on anxiety disorders.
Overall, the authors point to fear as a dense and variable web of responses to external and internal stimuli. Our thinking about these reactions is just as complex. In response, this volume opens a dialogue between science and the humanities to afford a more complete view of an emotion that has shaped human behavior since time immemorial.
This volume provides a broad survey of the psychological, biological, and philosophical basis of fear in historical and contemporary contexts. The contributors, leading figures in clinical psychology, neuroscience, the social sciences, and the humanities consider categories of intentionality, temporality, admixture, spectacle, and politics in evaluating conceptions of fear. This volume opens a dialogue between science and the humanities to afford a more complete view of an emotion that has shaped human behavior since time immemorial.
Through the first half of the twentieth century, emotions were a legitimate object of scientific study across a variety of disciplines. After 1945, however, in the wake of Nazi irrationalism, emotions became increasingly marginalized and postwar rationalism took central stage. Emotion remained on the scene of scientific and popular study but largely at the fringes as a behavioral reflex, or as a concern of the private sphere. So why, by the 1960s, had the study of emotions returned to the forefront of academic investigation?
In Science and Emotions after 1945, Frank Biess and Daniel M. Gross chronicle the curious resurgence of emotion studies and show that it was fueled by two very different sources: social movements of the 1960s and brain science. A central claim of the book is that the relatively recent neuroscientific study of emotion did not initiate but instead consolidated the emotional turn by clearing the ground for multidisciplinary work on the emotions. Science and Emotions after 1945 tells the story of this shift by looking closely at scientific disciplines in which the study of emotions has featured prominently, including medicine, psychiatry, neuroscience, and the social sciences, viewed in each case from a humanities perspective.
About the Author
Jan Plamper is professor of history at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power.
Benjamin Lazier is associate professor of history and humanities at Reed College and the author of God Interrupted: Heresy and the European Imagination Between the World Wars.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Emotional Returns
Frank Biess and Daniel M. Gross
PART ONE Neuroscience
1 Humanists and the Experimental Study of Emotion
WILLIAM M. REDDY
2 “Both of Us Disgusted in My Insula”: Mirror-Neuron Theory and Emotional Empathy
3 Emotion Science and the Heart of a Two-Cultures Problem
DANIEL M. GROSS AND STEPHANIE D. PRESTON
PART TWO Medicine
4 What Is an Excitement?
Otniel E. Dror
5 The Science of Pain and Pleasure in the Shadow of the Holocaust
6 Oncomotions: Experience and Debates in West Germany and the United States after 1945
PART THREE Psychiatry
7 The Concept of Panic: Military Psychiatry and Emotional Preparation for Nuclear War in Postwar West Germany
8 Preventing the Inevitable: John Appel and the Problem of Psychiatric Casualties in the US Army during World War II
Rebecca Jo Plant
9 Feeling for the Protest Faster: How the Self-Starving Body Influences Social Movements and Global Medical Ethics
Nayan B. Shah
PART FOUR Social Sciences
10 Across Different Cultures? Emotions in Science during the Early Twentieth Century
11 Decolonizing Emotions: The Management of Feeling in the New World Order
12 Passions, Preferences, and Animal Spirits: How Does Homo Oeconomicus Cope with Emotions?
13 The Transatlantic Element in the Sociology of Emotions
14 Feminist Theories and the Science of Emotion
15 Affect, Trauma, and Daily Life: Transatlantic Legal and Medical Responses to Bullying and Intimidation
Coda: Erasures; Writing History about Holocaust Trauma
Carolyn J. Dean
List of Contributors
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