Organized Panel Session
This comparative panel on the history of emotions explores violent emotions and their role in the representations of violent acts (self-inflicted or inflicted by or upon others) in late imperial China and Chosŏn Korea. Each paper analyses how violent emotions are framed according to differing ideological, legal, and discursive contexts.
Bailey focuses on a late Ming vignette of a son’s dream of his murdered father to examine the dangerous emotion of filial revenge, with its concomitant feelings of grief and anger, to explore the emotional reactions of the untimely dead, the dreamer, and those who write about them.
Buoye examines homicide reports related to sodomy to understand the increasingly anodyne narratives of capital crimes in the 18th century. As violent crimes surged, magistrates resorted to formulaic summaries of emotionally complex events in order to comply with the norms of legal procedures.
Jungwon Kim explores the deployment by the Chosŏn court of the statute of “triggering one’s death” used to frame the emotionally-fraught motivations behind the proscribed act of suicide in order to adjudicate degrees of responsibility for blame between the suicide and the one who possibly coerced it.
Epstein finds an increasing celebration in Qing gazetteers of the spontaneous deaths of filial children following a parent’s death. The use of “affective martyrdom” in exemplary biographies obscures the issues of agency, instrumentality, and violence that were central to earlier chastity suicide narratives.
This panel’s focus on violent emotions offers new angles to examine representations of emotions in late Confucian states.