Centre for the History of Emotions (the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Europe 1100-1800) is based at the University of Western Australia with nodes at the Universities of Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Research focuses on four programs: Meanings, which explores the changing understandings, constructions and expressions of emotions in Europe 1100-1800; Change, which investigates the role of communal and mass emotions in driving political, social and economic developments; Performance, which analyses the ways emotions were created; and Shaping the Modern, which studies both the long-term effects of pre-modern emotional structures on modern Australia, and contemporary Australian attachment to our pre-modern heritage.
Andrew Lynch, Acting Director, Centre for the History of Emotions
Andrew Lynch’s research contributes to the Meanings Program. His research project, ‘The Emotions of War in Medieval Literature’, involves a study of the emotions/passions as represented in the medieval literature of war and peace, covering English, French and Latin materials from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, with a further interest in modern medievalism’s reception and re-imagination of this material. The determinants of emotional life in medieval war and combat literature – whether in epic, history, romance, manual, treatise or moral reflection – are multiple and complex, since the emotions are an area of medieval thought where many discourses overlap, including the traditions of virtue, vice and sin, physiological, psychological and medical notions, and class- and gender-based ideologies. Classical and Christian authorities also provide a strong ethical context for medieval reading and representation of war, one which is sometimes forgotten in understandings of the ‘heroic’ or aristocratic masculine ethos. Medieval war writing is a trove of surprising emotional connections, for instance between melancholy and aggression, cowardice and ill will, or pity and ambition.