Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities Events

Nostalgia: A History of a Dangerous Emotion?

The Marcel and Josephine Patterson Memorial Lecture in the Medical Humanities

Nostalgia: A History of a Dangerous Emotion?

Agnes Arnold-Forster, PhD
Chancellor's Fellow
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
The University of Edinburgh

Thursday, June 13, 2024
12 to 1 p.m.
Zoom registration

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Nostalgia is a social and political emotion, vulnerable to misuse, and one that reflects the anxieties of the age. In this talk, Dr. Agnes Arnold-Forster blends neuroscience and psychology with the history of medicine and emotions to explore the evolution of nostalgia from its first identification in seventeenth-century Switzerland (when it was held to be an illness that could, quite literally, kill you) to the present day (when it is coopted by advertising agencies, employers, and politicians alike to sell us goods, workplace wellbeing, and economic policies). I argue that nostalgia is one of the many ways we communicate a desire for the past, dissatisfaction with the present, and our visions for the future. It is a lens through which to consider the changing pace of society, our collective feelings of regret, dislocation and belonging, the conditions of modern and contemporary work and healthcare, and the politics of fear and uncertainty.

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Nostalgia: A History of a Dangerous Emotion?
, 2024 - -
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