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Since October 2019 and throughout 2020-2021, Amsterdam University College serves 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. After a brief pause due to coronavirus measures, the lecture series has been resumed in Autumn 2020 online.

Faces Emotion Maxim

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.

Upcoming lectures

20 April 2021

  • Love, Community and National Identity  by Jim Forest 
  • Event description

Past lectures

1 November 2019

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

7 October 2019

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.

28 September 2020 [Online]

6 October 2020 [Online]

  • An Emotion Practice Approach: At the Hospital Bedside and Beyond by Dr. Marci Cottingham
  • Event description.

20 October 2020 [Online]

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

16 March 2021


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