Narrating Emotions

April 21-22, 2017

Lucerne, March 2017

Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät Philosophisches Seminar

Prof. Dr. Martin Hartmann

Hotel Seeburg Lucerne


In the ongoing upsurge of studies on emotions the topic of narrativity has continuously been present. While some have claimed that emotions themselves have a narrative structure and thus need to be studied with the help of specifically narrative categories (David Velleman, Christiane Voss), others have suggested that narratives help us to understand or explain complex emotions such as shame, hatred or jealousy without the additional claim that such emotions have a narrative structure. Peter Goldie, in his late The Mess Inside (2012), emphasizes process emotions such as grief and treats them as inherently "narratable". Others, such as Ronald De Sousa, propose that narratives or "paradigmatic scenarios" (often depicted in stories) help us to acquire familiarity with the meaning of emotions or claim that reading good literature will turn us into morally sensitive persons (Martha Nussbaum). Despite the great philosophical interest in all aspects of narrativity what is still lacking is a thoroughgoing philosophical appreciation of the results of narrativity research in the field of literary studies. In the workshop we we investigated the role of narratives or of models of narrativity in the field of emotion research and also attemptd to connect the philosophical perspective to the perspective of narrativity research in the literary studies. Typical questions to be investigated were: Are emotions narrative in structure? And if so: which emotions? Do we need narratives in order to understand or explain emotions? Does this understanding require specific narratives? Don't we need a more refined understanding of narratives if we want to link emotion research to narrativity research? What can emotion research learn from novels or other fictional accounts and from their analysis in literary studies? Can narratives distort emotions?



Friday, April 21, 2017


9 am:       Introduction (Martin Hartmann, Eva-Weber Guskar, hosts)


9.30 am:   Narrative Personal Distress (Suzanne Keen, Washington and Lee University)


10.30 am:  Why do we Empathise with Walter White while Watching Breaking Bad? Aesthetic Appreciation and Moral Evaluation of Fictional Figures (Massimo Salgaro,       University of Verona)


11.30 am:   Coffee Break


11.45 am:   Emotion and Narrative Connection: An Enactivist Approach (Benedetta Romano, University of Munich)


12.45 pm:   Lunch at the Hotel


14.00 pm:   The Narrativity of Empathy (Susanne Schmetkamp, University of Basel)


15.00 pm:   Narrative Grip and Emotional Experience (Luke Bruning, University of Oxford)


16.00 pm:   Coffee Break


16.15 pm:    Laurence Sterne, Adam Smith, and Emotion in Eighteenth-century War Narrative (John Richardson, National University of Singapore)


17.15 pm:     Successful Self-Narration and Affective Import: The Case of Romantic Closure (Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, University of Haifa)


19.00 pm:    Dinner in Lucerne


Saturday, April 22, 2017


9.00 am:     The Role of Narrative in a Responsible Understanding of the Emotions of Others (Katherine Rickus, Marquette University)


10.00 am:    Narratives and Emotions in Oppression (Laurencia Saenz, Birkbeck College London)


11.00 am:     Coffee Break


11.15 am:      Narrative Genre and Emotion (Patrick Colm Hogan, University of Connecticut)


12.15 pm:     Lunch at the Hotel


13.30 pm:    Emotive Narrativity in Old Norse Literature (Sif Rikhardsdottir, University of Iceland)


14.30 pm:    The Burden of Language. Failing Narratives of Emotions in the Works of David Foster Wallace (Kai Fischer, University of Bochum)


15.30 pm:    Coffee Break


15.45 pm:    Kafka’s Stories of Shame (Betiel Wasihun, University of Oxford)


16.45 pm:    End of Workshop (Final Discussion)

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