Doyle, Jennifer. Thinking Feeling: Criticism and Emotion
Summary: Doyle investigates the emotional dimensions of aesthetic experience in the context of controversial performance art practices. She focuses on sentimentality because it sits at the extreme end not only of the emotional spectrum but also, as a negative, on the art critical radar. Critics’ charge against the sentimental is twofold – it enables vicarious experience at the expense of its direct counterpart and it gives a platform to the inauthentic. Furthermore, the overwhelming critical consensus is that the personal itself, manifested in sentimentality or otherwise, is inherently suspect. Emotion is thus framed as detrimental to “serious” art. It is also, and even more damagingly, feminized and drained of its political charge. To counter these assumptions, Doyle uses specific art-historical examples which reveal the richness and importance of emotional interest in the way art is made and experienced.
Comment: This text can be used in discussions of emotion and affectivity. While much of its focus is on art, it can be used in more general classes on emotions as well.
Sherman, Nancy. Taking Responsibility for our Emotions
Abstract: We often hold people morally responsible for their emotions. We praise individuals for their compassion, think less of them for their ingratitude or hatred, reproach self-righteousness and unjust anger. In the cases I have in mind, the ascriptions of responsibility are not simply for offensive behaviors or actions which may accompany the emotions, but for the emotions themselves as motives or states of mind. We praise and blame people for what they feel and not just for how they act. In cases where people may subtly mask their hatred or ingratitude through more kindly actions, we still may find fault with the attitude we see leaking through the disguise.
Comment: Use this text as a recommended reading to compliment the earlier work on The Fabric of Character.