Although post-colonial literature studies have critically examined many aspects of European testimonies about non-European cultures, affects have so far been blinded out. Two dissertation projects analyze how emotions are explicitly articulated or unconsciously symptomized in fieldwork texts.
Taking a literary perspective on the books and texts of primatologists, this dissertation project explores the role emotions play in the reports and memoirs of researchers in a scientific human-animal relationship – as modes of perception, of insight and of depiction in and of field work.
At the center of this project lies the development of methods for the quantitative analysis of emotions in texts, be it travel literature or the output of field research. This development will take place in dialogue between the disciplines literature, social or cultural anthropology and evolutionary psychology.
While focusing on and exemplifying travel literature on Indonesia, this dissertation project takes a closer look at both emotionally challenging topics such as civil war and genocide, decolonization, modernization and islamization and typical travel scenarios (e.g. transitional phases, tourism, maladies).