Conference held on ‘Emotions and the subject of modern history’

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A virtual conference on ‘Emotions and the subject of modern history’ was organised by the Government College University’s recently established Institute of History, here on Sunday.

The speakers said: “Emotions create us as individuals and being cognizant of emotions of the past individuals and societies allow us the appreciation of the complexities of history.”

Leading scholars of the field discussed the history of emotions in the context of religious intolerance, institutionalization of Sufi shrines and medieval monasteries, material culture, and the creation of knowledge.

In his opening remarks, GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi said: “Emotions have a history in time and have undergone various transformations by invoking, creating and negotiating with different social, political and cultural contexts.

“In the last two decades, the study of emotions has become an important site for historians to study past societies,” he added.

Prof Zaidi stressed the need to understand human emotions to enable policy institutions to devise plans which could promote and shape societies where people have realisation and respect for the emotions of individuals and communities. “I see this as the only way forward in this world which is experiencing all kinds of extremism.”

John Corrigan, a distinguished professor of Religion and History of Emotions at the Florida State University, discussed how emotions in American society led to religious intolerance.

Hussain Ahmad Khan, a cultural historian and Director of the Institute of History, explained that inanimate objects have the power to shape a historical process.

In the 19th century, Indian crafts transformed the emotions of British colonials from patronizing pride to curiosity.

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