Avraham Rot is Richard A. Macksey Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University. He holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. in German studies and a B.A. in history from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Previously, he was Junior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. He has published papers on post-national European identity, postwar German collective memory, and the historiography of Russian Jewry in the nineteenth century.
Emotions are commonly regarded as passive, unintentional experiences, and hence, unlike actions and ideas respectively, as neither a matter of choice nor a matter of right or wrong. Recent scholarship, however, has challenged this understanding, placing the question concerning the intentionality of emotion at the center of lively debates in the humanities and the social sciences. We will examine some of these debates in light of the broader history of the philosophy and psychology of emotion and intentionality.
Exploring the relation between secularization, psychopathology, and the history of emotions, I am currently at work on a book project entitled "From Anxiety to Boredom: The Emotional History of Secularization." This work sets forth the claim that inasmuch as unbelief has become the “default option” of the secular age, boredom has become its default emotion, and that, in a complementary way, anxiety has become the default emotion of modern psychopathology, while boredom has been systematically excluded from this field.