Global Humanities Junior Fellow at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
February - July 2014
Affective Economies. Languages of Emotion in Shakespeare
Kathrin Bethke's research project investigates the function of economic metaphors in the representation of emotions in William Shakespeare’s works. Her hypothesis is that Shakespeare’s excessive use of terms from the sphere of finance, trade and minting in the description of affective phenomena is not just a reflection of certain historical developments in Early Modern England. Following Hans Blumenberg and cognitive linguistics in the supposition that metaphors have an important epistemological function, Kathrin Bethke argues that he uses the lexicon of mercantile economics as a metaphorical source domain to explore the axiological aspects of emotions. The project is furthermore interested in the cultural dynamics at work in the formation of economic and social value systems and argues that especially complex emotions such as envy, pride, and admiration play a particularly important role in such processes.
Kathrin Bethke studied Comparative Literature, Philosophy and Theatre Studies at Freie Universitaet Berlin, the University of Edinburgh and Yale University. Her doctoral research on a project entitled Affective Economies. Languages of Emotion in Shakespeare was conducted at the Cluster of Excellence “Languages of Emotion” with research stays at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Kathrin Bethke was a lecturer and research associate at the Peter Szondi-Institute of Comparative Literature (FUB) from 2011 to 2013. She has taught various seminars on Shakespeare and the literary history of emotions from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.