The History of Emotions
“Emotions are an extremely important part of our lives, and they profoundly affect our actions, even if we are not always aware of them,” Professor Linda Pollock says. Pollock holds the John Christie Barr Chair in the Department of History in the School of Liberal Arts, and is in the throes of her current research project on the history of emotions.
Though such a subject is usually approached from a psychological standpoint, Pollock’s interest lies in emotions’ historical context. As an early modern historian, Pollock’s scholarly focus is on the body and the passions. She is writing a book on the experience of emotion and morality in seventeenth-century England, a work that crosses the boundaries of social, cultural and intellectual history and which attempts to examine how individuals understood and used emotional experiences in everyday life. Pollock’s book is at an advanced draft stage, and she hopes to complete it this year while on campus at Tulane.
Much of Pollock’s work is supported by the endowed professorship she holds. “Endowed professorships,” she says, “are widely viewed as one of the measures of a world-class university and they make it possible for universities to attract, retain, and honor talented faculty. By facilitating first-class research, professorships constitute a lasting tribute to the donor. I am honored to hold this professorship, and this gift makes such a difference. Research trips to England to study manuscripts cost a lot of money, but research funds give me the time to luxuriate in the material, to poke around and follow up on leads, knowing I can come back next year. This allows me to thoroughly investigate the archives for my current project and alight on new subjects for future research. I couldn’t be more grateful!”