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Abstract

This paper aims to open the discussion about historian’s emotions during the research process that has mostly been covered up. It does not pretend to be a thorough account of the topic but a modest essay that might encourage other researcher to reflect on their experiences. Firstly, we briefly describe the current situation in a few neighboring disciplines. Secondly, we explain how we understand emotions and use the terms emotion, feeling and sentiment. Thirdly, we discuss the reasons why most historians keep silent about their feelings. Fourthly, with two examples, we illustrate how historians have written about their emotions. Fifthly, we present a model of emotional phases of research by the Danish social psychologist Steinar Kvale and evaluate its relevance to historical research. Then we look at the causes and/or objects of feelings of students or beginning scholars in cultural history. Finally, we suggest some ways we historians could make our scholarly community emotionally a more supportive one. It might be good to remember that our discussion concerns primarily the Finnish academic world, and the situation in other countries might be slightly different.
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