1st Edition

Honor and Shame in Western History

Edited By Jörg Wettlaufer, David Nash, Jan Frode Hatlen Copyright 2023
    274 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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 14 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 nineteenth 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.

    Part I: - 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

    3. Zero-Sum Emotions and Shame-Honor Dynamics

    Richard Landes

    Part II: 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 (Twelfth to Thirteenth 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

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

    Bénédicte Sère

    Part III: 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

    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



    Jörg Wettlaufer is head of the Digital Academy at the Academy of Sciences and Humanties in Lower Saxony at Göttingen, Germany. He is doing research in the 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 European Union, and Australia on the issue of blasphemy laws and their repeal.

    Jan Frode Hatlen is head of the 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 ranges from gender and honor in Late Roman society, to learning and teaching history in higher education.