Edited by Kirill Dmitriev, Julia Hauser and Bilal Orfali
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.
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.
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.
The collection of Rime by the Italian sonneteer Gaspara Stampa (1523–1554) has often been compared in style and format to the Canzoniere of Petrarch. Such analysis places emphasis on Petrarch instead of Stampa, and limits discussion of her work to its relation with the literary tradition he established. Interpretation of the work of Stampa and other female authors requires a new perspective, recognising that they sought to create for themselves a literary safe space in which to convey deeply held emotional states – especially anger – and in the process to reclaim the voices and emotions of women from the male literary traditions in which they had been ensnared.