Honor and Shame in Western History  book cover
1st Edition

Honor and Shame in Western History

  • Available for pre-order on March 9, 2023. Item will ship after March 30, 2023
ISBN 9780367901486
March 30, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
312 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book covers a wide range of topics related to honor and shame in European historical societies: history of law and literature, social- and ancient history as well as theoretical contributions on the state of research and the importance of honor and shame in traditional societies.


Honor and shame in Western history brings together fourteen texts of interdisciplinary scholars from Europe and North America. It covers a wide range of topics related to honor and shame in historical societies. The contributions cover periods of Western history from Greek and Roman times to the 19th century and many of them integrate the concept of a "Deep History" of honor and shame in social interaction.


The book is essential for a broad audience interested in social history and the history of emotions.

Table of Contents

Part 1: - Honor and Shame: Concepts and Challenges

1. The Unwieldy Phenomenon of Honor

Dagmar Burkhart

2. Shame: A Social Emotion and Its Cultural Concepts in a Historical (European) Perspective

Jörg Wettlaufer, Göttingen

3. Zero-Sum Emotions and Shame-Honor Dynamics

Richard Landes

Part 2: Honor and Shame in Traditional European Societies

4. Honor-Shame Dynamics in Late Antiquity: Balance and Control

Jan Frode Hatlen

5. Gregory of Tours on Sichar and Chramnesind

Richard Landes

6. Better to die in honor than to live in shame? A comparative approach to the literary dynamics of honor and shame in French chanson de geste, romance and fabliau (12th-13th centuries)

Lisa Sancho

7. The Dynamics of Gender-specific Honor and Shame in the Middle Ages. The Nibelungenlied as example

Jutta Eming

8. The Emergence and Social Usage of Shaming Punishments in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries in Northwest European Cities

Jörg Wettlaufer, Göttingen

9. Christian Humility, Papal Humiliations. An Honor-and-Shame Criterion in the Church’s History Grand Narratives

Bénédicte Sère

Part 3: Honor and Shame in Modernity

10. Collective shame in the Modern World – The Case of Blasphemy Laws and Tolerant Sensibilities

David Nash

11. The Culture of American Dueling Under Attack: The 1856 Public Beating of an Abolitionist Massachusetts Senator by a South Carolina Congressman

Distinguished Emeritus Professor Kenneth S. Greenberg

12. Brought up With Shame: Trans-Generational Perspectives on Disciplinary Correction in Finland During the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

Satu Lidman

13. Plato, MeToo, the Honorable and the Others

Hege Dypedokk Johnsen

14. Shame, Modernity and Postmodernity in Britain

David Nash


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Jörg Wettlaufer is head of the Digital Academy at the Academy of Sciences and Humanties at Göttingen, Germany. He is doing research in history of law, evolutionary anthropology and digital history with a focus on the social usage of shame in medieval society.

David Nash is professor of History at Oxford Brookes University. He has written and published extensively on the history of atheism, blasphemy and shame. He has advised governments in the UK, the Republic Ireland the European Union and Australia on the issue of blasphemy laws and their repeal.

Jan Frode Hatlen is head of Department of Historical and Classical Studies, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). He earned his PhD in history from NTNU in 2015. His reseach spans from gender and honor in Late Roman society, to learning and teaching history in Higher Education.