The Emotional Turn in Contemporary Public and Academic Debates

Lecture and event series at AUC

13 February 2020

From October 2019 throughout 2020, Amsterdam University College will serve as a venue for a series of academic and public events focused on an amazing and highly sensitive dimension of human existence: the realm of emotions, affects and feelings.

Faces Emotion Maxim

Organised by AUC lecturer Dr. Maxim Kupovykh, AUC will see several renowned academics and public figures interested in examining and discussing, together with students and faculty, this understudied and frequently misunderstood realm from a variety of intellectual perspectives and with an eye on the current affairs.

Human emotional life in focus

The choice for the topic of this series is far from random. A ‘turn to emotions’ and a related ‘affective turn’ in human sciences have been hailed by many academics as a sign of the profound reshaping of a broad range of academic disciplines, from evolutionary biology and neuroscience to sociology and political science to cultural history and critical theory.

Beyond the university walls, the political and private lives of individuals seem to be increasingly overwhelmed with references to the affective, the visceral and the emotionally-charged. In the 21st century, claims to status, esteem and influence are increasingly framed in terms of feelings (e.g. feeling hurt, offended or disgusted), sentiments and emotional states. Hence, we may be experiencing an emotional/affective turn in public discourse and in politics, as well as in the academe.

Topics to be addressed during the series

These and many other themes will be addressed over the course of the Emotional Turn series. In the course of these series, we will

  • inquire into the character, causes and effects of the emotional and affective ‘turns’;
  • examine specific emotions and sentiments, such as disgust and desire, hatred and compassion, shame and guilt, envy and pride;
  • bring together, within the whole series and within specific events, a variety of distinctive disciplinary perspectives on human emotions; and
  • draw explicit links between academic research and public discourse.

Interdisciplinary engagement and social significance

As a liberal arts institution focused on developing and promoting disciplinary knowledge, interdisciplinary skills and civic engagement, AUC is in a unique position to be in the avant-garde of the emotional/affective turn(s) in academic research and public debate.  The Emotional Turn series aims at not only broadening  AUC students’ track- and major-bound horizons, but also helping them to navigate their (future) affectively-saturated workplaces, public spaces and private lives. Last but not least, the series will contribute to establishing AUC as a vibrant centre of intellectual and public debate in the global city of Amsterdam and beyond 

Dates and descriptions

Most events listed below will take place in the Common Room of the AUC building (Science Park 113, 1098 XG Amsterdam). Each event page will contain more up-to-date information on the topic, the date and the location of an event.

  • 7 October 2019

  • 1 November 2019

    • Deeply felt affect: understanding emotions through deep active inference by Casper Hesp
    • Event description.
  • 28 February 2020

    • The role of emotions in intergroup relations by Prof. Dr. Agneta Fischer
    • Event description.
  • 17 March 2020

    • The Return of the Native: Dutch nativism and the emotional turn in politics and social science by Prof. Dr. Jan Willem Duyvendak
    • Event description.
  • 31 March 2020

    • Decolonizing sexuality, disrupting epistemologies, shattering the subject by Dr. Rachel Spronk
    • Event description.
  • 6 April 2020

    • Emotion management in the civilizing (and compartmentalizing) process by Bram de Swaan
    • Event description.


For any questions related to The Emotional Turn in Contemporary Public and Academic Debates lecture series, please send an email to Dr. Maxim Kupovykh. 

Published by  Amsterdam University College