Social and cultural historians have long used legal records to shed light on those otherwise lost to the historical record: the poor, the disenfranchised, youths, and women. This special issue seeks to interrogate what analytical value an explicit engagement with the emerging field of the "History of Emotions" can bring to explorations of law and emotions. In this Introduction, I suggest that working with a more methodologically reflexive understanding of emotions, and how they can be analyzed in concrete historical situations, can deepen our understanding—and complicate chronologies of change—regarding the interrelationship between law and emotions. We need to understand emotions not just as inchoate feelings but as bodily practices that are culturally and historically situated. Moreover, in order to historicize emotions, we also need to historicize the psychological, physical, and material context in which a person experiences her emotions: that is, we need historically contingent notions of the self, body, and the material performance of corporeality.


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pp. 219-230
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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