Emotions, Ethics, and Historical Knowledge

Karen Vallgårda

Inaugural lecture by Karen Vallgårda as professor.


What novel insights does a history of emotions perspective bring into individual and collective experiences in the past? What do silences – in the archive or everyday life – tell us about social hierarchies, moral norms, and power dynamics in different historical contexts? How should historians confront and handle the inevitable ethical-political entanglements of the knowledge we produce? These questions intertwine in my research, and I have returned to them from various angles in my studies of childhood, divorce, and the family. Drawing on past and current investigations – solo as well as collaborative – I will try to offer some answers and chart potential paths forward for our field.