When History Captures Our Emotions Publication date : March 14, 2013
Anthony Rowley is a professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, in Paris. He has written many books, notably on gastronomy.
Fabrice d’Almeida, a professor at the University of Paris-II, is a historian specialising in propaganda and manipulation. He is the author of High Society in the Third Reich and Histoire des médias en France.
They are the co-authors of Et si on refaisait l’histoire.
There are moments when the entire planet seems to be caught up in a common emotional drama. The media can turn an international sports event, a natural catastrophe, a war or an election into a highly emotive collective experience. And what about the films that elicit laughter everywhere, from Paris to Mumbai? Collective emotions that sweep the planet have become commonplace.
But is this such a recent phenomenon? Didn’t our earliest ancestors also share similar group feelings? What role have emotions played throughout history? Self-interest is not the only drive that motivates human actions. Other drives — jealousy, envy, desire, affection — have all played their parts at various key moments. And not only among the rich and powerful but also among the poor and the unknown. From early Christian feelings of love to the panic at Pompeii, from the horror of the Black Plague to the anxiety brought on by the Lisbon earthquake, from the feverish excitement of the Gold Rush to the enthusiasm that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the authors recount 20 stories that made history and that reveal the role played by the emotions over the centuries.