Call for Papers
Pain as Emotion; Emotion as Pain: Perspectives from Modern History
Public conference, 26 October 2012
The Birkbeck Pain Project and the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.
Birkbeck, University of London
Organised by Visiting Fellow to the Birkbeck Pain Project, Rob Boddice, Ph.D (Languages of Emotion Cluster, Freie Universität, Berlin)
‘With the benefit of the past two centuries of scientific work and
thought, can one define pain?’ The question was asked by the
neuroscientist Edward R. Perl (Nature Reviews: Neuroscience, 8, 2007).
He concluded that ‘it seems reasonable to propose pain to be both a
specific sensation and an emotion’.
With that, the question of physiological pain opens up to those who
study the history of emotions, which in turn gives way to new
possibilities of understanding the historical and cultural contingencies
of physical pain. The statement also begs the question of the extent to
which emotion is in fact pain, if pain is in part emotion. Should the
histories of anger, fear, anxiety, grief and compassion be studied as
varieties of pain? In what ways have they been understood to have a
physiological component? Likewise in histories in which physical pain
plays a prominent part – the history of medicine notably – how far
should our understanding of pain be influenced by the study of
emotionologies that determine how the feeling of pain is expressed? How
have emotional contexts affected the experience of pain?
This one-day conference will approach these questions by focusing
broadly on the dynamics of the emotional, cultural and medical history
of pain in the modern period. The conference aims to foster discussion
on the importance of emotion as it relates and treatment with tramadol to physical pain and on
emotions themselves as varieties of pain, among experts working on the
history of science/medicine, the history of the body, and the history of
emotions, with perspectives from a variety of national contexts.
Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
* Pain and emotion in the laboratory
* Emotional pain and physiology
* Measuring pain, clinically and/or in the vernacular, in historical context
* Imagining pain in others (humans/animals): compassion, sympathy, empathy
* Emotions as pain: grief, anxiety, fear, anger, etc.
* Expressions of the feeling(s) of pain
* Influence of emotions on bodily pain
* Psychology and pain
* Pain and sentiment(ality)
* Turning off (emotional) pain: brutality, callousness, anaesthetics
Please send abstracts of up to 500 words and a short CV by email to the
Birkbeck Pain Project
([email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>) by May 1st, 2012.
Questions may be directed to the Pain Project and/or to Rob Boddice
The workshop will take place at Birkbeck, London University – further
information including registration details will be available here
(http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bih/) in May 2012. There is no fee to attend or
register for the Workshop.
More information regarding The Birkbeck Pain Project is available on the
Funded by the Wellcome Trust