Look across the room at any gathering of people, and a wide range of emotions can be contemplated: the baby who cries unhappily at the bottle dropped on the floor; the young couple sitting close together, fingers intertwined; a group of men laughing at some shared joke. Emotions play a role in every minute of our lives, yet what exactly is an emotion? Do we all share the same emotions? How does something as personal as a feeling affect society and politics?
- Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago social philosopher and author of Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions, explains the history of philosophical thought on emotion and how emotion, which is personally experienced, underpins the functions of culture and society.
- Paul Ekman, author of Emotions Revealed, did landmark research on facial expressions and emotion in the 1960s to understand the role of biology and culture in emotion. His work on micro-expressions is now popularized by the Fox TV show Lie to Me, starring Tim Roth.
- Dominique Moisi, French political strategist and author of The Geopolitics of Emotion, believes that there are large emotional frameworks currently at work in the U.S. (fear), China (hope), and Muslim countries (shame). These national feelings, he says, are engines that drive both the internal and external politics of each country.
- William Reddy, Duke University cultural historian, looks at how emotions function on the world stage. His book The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions explores current psychological and anthropological research on emotions, how emotions change over time and how different emotions have affected the shape of history.