Conference: Emotions in the Courtroom

3 – 4 May, 2015
St John’s House, 71 South Street, St Andrews 

The recent surge of interest in the history of emotions has seen medievalists uncover a broad range of new source material recording the affective lives of Europeans in the Middle Ages. A parallel growth of interest in crime and judicial records from ecclesiastical and secular courts has identified these as excellent sources and made clear that the courtroom could be a locus for emotionally charged events. This one and a half day interdisciplinary symposium brings together scholars of law, literature and history to examine the role that emotions played in legal conduct and procedure.

The symposium is free of charge but pre-booking is required before 25th April, 2015. For pre-booking and information, contact:

The symposium has been generously supported by:


Kimberley-Joy Knight (CHE, The University of Sydney)

Jamie Page (University of Durham)

John Hudson (University of St Andrews)


Sunday 3 May

15:00 – 15:30        Registration

15:30 – 15:45        Welcome (Kimberley-Joy Knight, CHE, University of Sydney)

15:45 – 16:45        Hans Jacob Orning (University of Oslo)

“Once again I’m in trouble, as have received the wrath of my master”. Law, anger and mercy in Norwegian courts in the High Middle Ages

Ian Forrest (Oriel College, University of Oxford)

Faith and feeling in late-medieval litigation”

16:45 – 17:00        Coffee break

17:00 – 17:45        William I. Miller (University of Michigan)

Fear and Anger in and around courts, saga style”

17:45 – 18:30        Reception

Monday 4 May

09:30 – 09:45        Late Registration

09:45 – 10:45        Merridee L Bailey (CHE, University of Adelaide)

The use of the law in shaping emotions and merchant experiences in England’s courts of equity”

John Hudson (University of St Andrews)

Frustration leads to anger: laymen and clerics in the courtroom”

10:45 – 11:00        Coffee Break

11:00 – 12:00        Keynote: Stephen D. White (Emory/Harvard University)

Trying to Keep Emotions Out of the Courtroom: Courtliness and Good Counsel in Girart de Roussillon”

12:00 – 13:00        Lunch

13:00 – 14:00        Susanne Pohl-Zucker (Independent Researcher)

Provocation and the Heat of Anger: Diminished responsibility and the judgment of manslaughter in Early Modern Germany”

                              Seb Coxon (University College, London)

Laughter in court: literary models of jest and justice in sixteenth-century German Schwanksammlungen

14:00 – 14:15        Coffee Break

14:15 – 15:15        Elizabeth Papp Kamali (University of Michigan)

The Devil’s Daughter of Hell Fire: The Role of Anger in Medieval English Felony Adjudication”

15:15 – 16:00        Closing Discussion


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