Monthly Archives: August 2023

Member Publication: Emotional Alterity in the Medieval North Sea World

ANZAMEMS members Erin Sebo (Flinders), Matthew Firth (Flinders) and Daniel Anlezark (Sydney) are pleased to announce the publication of their edited collection Emotional Alterity in the Medieval North Sea World.

This book addresses a little-considered aspect of the study of the history of emotions in medieval literature: the depiction of perplexing emotional reactions. Medieval literature often confronts audiences with displays of emotion that are improbable, physiologically impossible, or simply unfathomable in modern social contexts. The intent of such episodes is not always clear; medieval texts rarely explain emotional responses or their motivations. The implication is that the meanings communicated by such emotional display were so obvious to their intended audience that no explanation was required. This raises the question of whether such meanings can be recovered. This is the task to which the contributors to this book have put themselves. In approaching this question, this book does not set out to be a collection of literary studies that treat portrayals of emotion as simple tropes or motifs, isolated within their corpora. Rather, it seeks to uncover how such manifestations of feeling may reflect cultural and social dynamics underlying vernacular literatures from across the medieval North Sea world.


1 Emotional Alterity in the Medieval Northern Sea World – Erin Sebo, Matthew Firth, and Daniel Anlezark
2 Grotesque Emotions in Old Norse Literature: Swelling Bodies, Spurting Fluids, Tears of Hail – Brynja Þorgeirsdóttir (Háskóli Íslands)
3 “Þá fær Þorbirni svá mjok at hann grætr”: Emotionality in the Sagas of East Iceland – Carolyne Larrington (University of Oxford)
4 On the Wild Side: “Impossible” Emotions in Medieval German Literature – Sonja Kerth (Universität Bremen)
5 “In an Overfurious Mood”: Emotion in Medieval Frisian Law and Life – Rolf H. Bremmer Jr (Universiteit Leiden)
6 The Vasa Mortis and Misery in Solomon and Saturn II – Daniel Anlezark (University of Sydney)
7 De Profundis: Sadness and Healing – Christina Lee (University of Nottingham)
8 The Hagiographers of Early England and the Impossible Humility of the Saints -Rosalind Love (University of Cambridge)
9 Rage and Lust in the Afterlives of King Edgar the Peaceful – Matthew Firth (Flinders University)
10 ‘Shrink Not Appalled from My Great Sorrow’: Translating Emotion in the Celtic Revival – Kate Louise Mathis (University of Edinburgh)

Seminar: The Forms of Jealousy in Early Modern Europe

Friday 8 September 2023
12:00 (AEST) online only

Bradley J. Irish – History of Emotions Seminar
(Associate Professor, Arizona State University)

In broad, prototypical terms, the English concept of “jealousy” has maintained a relatively stable meaning over the last 500 years, referring to the painful feelings triggered when one’s claim to something is threatened by a rival. Yet, relative to modern understandings of this emotion, the early modern theorization of jealousy was hypercognized: the 16th and 17th Century English discourse of jealousy had a robustness and richness that doesn’t endure to the present day. This talk will review the features of early modern jealousy, to show some of the surprising ways that the emotion was thought about in the period, with aims of demonstrating that jealousy had an oversized place in the affective world of Renaissance England.

Bradley J. Irish is an associate professor of English at Arizona State University, where
he studies the literary and cultural history of emotion in early modern England. He is
the author of Emotion in the Tudor Court: Literature, History, and Early Modern Feeling (Northwestern UP, 2018), Shakespeare and Disgust: The History and Science of Early Modern Revulsion (Bloomsbury, 2023), and the forthcoming The Universality of Emotion: Perspectives from the Sciences and Humanities (Cambridge UP, 2024), and is co-editor of Positive Emotions in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Manchester UP, 2021) and The Routledge Companion to Literature and Emotion (Routledge, 2024). He is co-Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary journal Emotion Review, and curates the digital project Sources of Early Modern Emotion in English, 1500-1700 (

Online Presentation: Early Modern Women and Discourses of Civility

Tuesday 19 September 2023
5pm (AEST) online only

Emma Rayner – PhD Exit Presentation
(PhD candidate, ANU Centre for Early Modern Studies)

Emma Rayner presents her PhD thesis to discuss women’s engagement with the rich and unstable discourses of civility throughout the 1600s.

From Michel de Montaigne to Edmund Burke, Georg Simmel to Pierre Bourdieu, an interest in courtesy and civility has distinguished the careers of some of civilization’s most celebrated thinkers. In the past century, the pioneering work of Swiss sociologist Norbert Elias prompted generations of modern scholars to trace the way in which the seemingly superficial preoccupation with manners and civil behaviour seen in the early modern European court was symptomatic of a much more seismic affective and cultural shift. This shift is frequently framed as a movement from courtesy (or courtoisie) to civility (civilité), and from civility to civilization.

Scholars have only in recent decades begun to remark on the concerted effacement of gender in civility research, but those remarks have yet to be channeled into sustained investigations. This thesis therefore aims to offer the first extended (although not exhaustive) study of early modern Englishwomen’s encounters with discourses of courtesy and civility during the seventeenth century. In this presentation, I will introduce the historical and scholarly landscape against which my different chapter studies repose, with the aim of showcasing the “sparkling multiplicity”—rather than the “female uniformity”[1]—of women’s engagement with these rich and unstable discourses throughout the 1600s.

[1] Patricia Phillippy (ed), “Introduction: Sparkling Multiplicity,” A History of Early Modern Women’s Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 27-45, 1.

Emma Rayner is a final-year PhD candidate in English at the School of Literature, Languages, and Linguistics, ANU, researching early modern women’s engagements with discourses of courtesy and civility. She has published on female melancholy in Hester Pulter and John Webster in Studies in English Literature, 1500-1700, and more recently on women’s life-writing and matriarchal exemplarity in Sillages Critiques. She holds a BA and MA in English Literature from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Bursary: Centre for the History of Emotions (ANZAMEMS Conference)

The Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Western Australia, and the Australian Chapter for the Society of the History of Emotions, are pleased to offer a limited number of travel bursaries (of a minimum of $500AUD) to scholars presenting on any emotions-related topic at the 2024 ANZAMEMS Conference in Christchurch, NZ. HDR students and Early Career Researchers (PhDs completed within the past 7 years) will receive priority, as will those presenting on the conference theme, but everyone with an emotions topic is encouraged to apply. Offers of bursaries are conditional on acceptance of papers.

Applications should include an abstract of the paper to be presented, a short bio explaining the applicant’s status (HDR, ECR, etc.) in academia, and a short CV.

Applications and any queries should be directed to Kirk Essary at

Deadline: 1 October.

Applications Open: AHA ECR Fellowship and General Thesis Prize

The Australian Historical Association (AHA) has recently opened its Early Career Researcher Fellowship for applications and its General History Thesis Prize for expressions of interest.

AHA Early Career Researcher Fellowship

The AHA Early Career Researcher Fellowship is designed to provide financial support to those who have completed their doctorate but are yet to secure their first academic post (including post-doctoral fellowships) or relevant position in history elsewhere.

The Fellowship is an annual prize of $11,000, commencing in January of the year of the award, for a period of 12 months. It provides $10,000 to support financially an early career researcher in undertaking career-building research and publication activities, such as the preparation of a book manuscript or the writing of articles and/or book chapters in the year of the fellowship. The stipend can be used for living expenses, research costs towards a specific publication project and other costs associated with writing and publication.

The remaining $1000 will be paid to support the recipient to attend the annual AHA conference. It is a condition of the scholarship that the recipient submit an abstract for the annual conference for the year of the award, and present if accepted. Participation in other conference activities is expected.

The AHA will also appoint a mentor to provide the Fellow with academic mentorship and career advice.

For further details see:

AHA General History Thesis Prize

The AHA’s General History Thesis Prize is awarded to the best postgraduate thesis in History (excluding Australian history).

The Prize of $2,500 is presented at the AHA annual Conference.

The Prize is to be used to assist in the transformation of the thesis into one or more publications. For example, it can be used as a publishing subsidy and/or for living expenses, including childcare costs. The Prize can also be used towards other expenses associated with publication, such as the cost of carrying out extra research, funding permissions, copyright fees or illustrations (these examples are not exhaustive).

The nominated postgraduate thesis must have been passed in the year prior to the year of the Prize. The majority of the thesis must not be published prior to the Prize being awarded.

For further details see:

CFP: Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Biennial Conference 2024

ANZAMEMS Conference 2024
Ōtautahi Christchurch, New Zealand
8 – 11 February 2024

Legacies and Relevance: Exploring the Medieval & Early Modern World Beyond Europe

What is the role of the medieval or Early Modern scholar in Australasian society?

How does pre-modern European History “add value” in Australasia? Is its study the vestige of an outdated colonial legacy? Or is it something else? Where does it stand in a world of toppled statues and questioned legacies? In the face of an Australian government overtly committed to defunding the Arts and a New Zealand government with similar aims (but a less confrontational way of putting it), should we now re-focus the curricula of universities across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand on what matters? But what does matter? And who should decide?

In the wake of a global pandemic, which has re-written “business as usual,” is it time for a reformation or for holding fast? This conference will showcase the best of scholarship across a range of disciplines pursued by medieval and Early Modern scholars, but will also seek to ask complex and challenging questions about the future of our discipline. Can the study of medieval and Early Modern Europe help to meet the needs of our times? What is the role of the medieval or Early Modern scholar in Australasian society? Indeed, what was it? In considering these issues, we encourage the exploration of questionable as well as positive legacies, and offer a forum to consider the possible future(s) of our discipline.

Call for papers now open; submissions due Friday 15 September 2023

To submit your abstract for consideration please visit the 2024 ANZAMEMS Conference submission portal.

Additional information can be found on the conference website.