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Current Topic for 2007/08: Fear

  During the academic year 2007/08 , the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies will focus on the study of fear in history.  We invite scholars from all disciplines to examine fear as an historical experience, its generative, productive as well as negative and destructive roles in history, and the processes by which it operates, spreads, dissipates, and is countered.  As in the past, we hope to address topics and problems from a wide variety of periods and places, from prehistory to the present, and from all parts of the world.  Topics could include but are not limited to the following: the emotional and psychic texture of fear in historical situations; the mode of fear’s operation, circulation, and dissolution; people’s fear of the state and the state’s fears as reflected in its generation of documentation and archives; fear of disease, war, empire and imperial dissolution; fear of the racial, religious, political, ideological, and sexual contamination; fear of disorder or the imposition of order; fear of change and fear of stasis; fear of technology and the projection of alternatives; fear of hell and for the fate of the soul; fear of urban dysfunction in generating utopian futures; fear of the "mob"; fear as a productive agent in violence, resistance, solidarity, artistic expression, and thought.