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Jordan McKenzie, Rebecca Olson, Roger Patulny and Michelle Peterie

Abstract

Current research on emotions represents a broad church of methodological approaches. The essays in this special issue will investigate how social emotions inform research across numerous disciplinary fields and methodological approaches. This introduction will set out the social dimensions of emotions like shame, anger, anxiety, empathy and pity from a specifically sociological perspective. In sum, this will work to counter tendencies that individualise emotions as purely subjective or cognitive phenomena, and to demonstrate how the significance of social emotions is not restricted to any singular discipline.

Shabnum Tejani

Abstract

Recent violence in India towards minority Muslim and Dalit communities in response to their alleged killing of cows is shocking in its brutality. Those responsible maintain the cow is sacred to Hindus and a threat to its life is an attack on Hinduism itself. They claim a deep sense of hurt at what they see to be the historic violation of their religion. In contrast, liberal commentators argue that right-wing forces have become emboldened since Hindu nationalists came to power in 2014. Yet, Hindu nationalism alone cannot explain the widespread belief that people whose livelihoods depend on cattle are beyond the democratic norms of tolerance. Rather, we must consider ‘affect’ and the role of history to understand the currency of cow protection in the cultural politics of hurt in contemporary India.

Nicole Eustace

Abstract

In the middle of the eighteenth century, natural philosophers began to posit connections between emotion and electricity. The metaphors they explored then have continued methodological implications for scholars today. The electrical concepts of current, resistance, voltage, and power, provide an extended metaphor for conceptualising the history of emotions in ways that usefully bridge the biological and cultural, the individual and social, in order to more fully reveal historical links between emotion and power. By way of example, this article examines cross-cultural negotiations of power made possible through the expression, exchange, and evaluation of grief as recorded in the diary of a British-American Quaker woman who lived among Indians in the Pennsylvania borderlands in the midst of the Seven Years’ War.

Mick Warren

Abstract

Fear beset the settler community of Van Diemen’s Land throughout the 1820s as Aboriginal resistance to European dispossession intensified, a period referred to as the Black War. Representative of the emerging obligation into the 1830s to treat Indigenous people across the British imperial world more kindly, George Augustus Robinson presents a contradictory figure during this tumultuous period. Decrying the depravity of his fellow settlers and their servants, Robinson adapted the conciliatory agenda of Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur in forming the Friendly Mission, a roving missionary enterprise involving Aboriginal people in the task of their own pacification and exile. At once an insight to the sincere emotional connection he felt with his mission subjects, Robinson’s Friendly Mission journals also embody the deep contradictions of British humanitarian governance and its complicity in the logic of elimination it sought to challenge.