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2013 - American Studies Association Annual Meeting Words: 508 words || 
1. Conti, Gino. "Oh, I feel, I feel, I feel: Moravians, Wasted Labor, and the Afterlives of Enthusiasm" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Washington, Washington, DC, Nov 21, 2013 <Not Available>. 2019-03-25 <>
Publication Type: Internal Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: “Oh, I feel, I feel, I feel”* : Moravians, Wasted Labor,
and the Afterlives of Enthusiasm

In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber raises the specter of Nikolaus Ludwig Zinzendorf, 18th century leader of the Moravians, a transatlantic Protestant sect that settled early American communities in Bethlehem, Pa. and Winston-Salem, NC. Zinzendorf’s focus on “letting people experience bliss…in the present,” Weber argued, “and to experience it emotionally, instead of instructing them to be sure of enjoying it in the hereafter through rational work” troubled the Calvinist asceticism he linked to the personality of the capitalist entrepreneur —what we have since come to call the Protestant work ethic (93-4).
This paper explores the way that Zinzendorf’s focus on affect, combined with a Lutheran understanding of grace as “free” and universally available, influenced both the gender and labor of 18th century Moravians, particularly those living communally in Bethlehem, Pa. during the 1740s. Through a close reading of both 18th-Century Moravian hymnody and anti-Moravian pamphlets, I examine the way that the sect’s devotion to a wounded, maternal Christ threatened materialist modes of productivity and capitalist temporality. The Moravians’ felt union with Christ—a passionate labor focused on the experience of grace and god in the now rather than on the accumulation of material goods as evidence of sanctification in the afterlife—was understood as diverting attention from the duties and affairs of the Moravians’ communal Bethlehem economy. Furthermore, this spiritual jouissance between Moravians and their savior—metonymized as the crucifixion wound below Christ’s breast, or Sidehole—also cross-gendered those Moravian brethren who fancied themselves passive brides of Christ, even as it figured Christ as feminine and as a mother who birthed believers’ souls through his Sidehole. Thus, the Moravians’ spiritual labor raised anxieties about gender and sexuality intertwined with those concerning money and time: their devotion to a maternal wound was perceived as excessive—as, essentially, wasted labor.
I close with a glance at how the anxieties represented in 18th century enthusiastic discourse were taken up in two successive historical moments: in 19th century Moravian historiography, which characterized the 1740s as a period of excess; and again in the early 20th century, as 18th century enthusiasms like Moravianism were taken up by psychosexual sciences such as psychoanalysis. These examples suggest the lingering disruptive potential of the 18th century Moravian’s untimely spiritual labor.

*Paul Peucker, “Songs of the Sifting: Understanding the Role of Bridal Mysticism in Moravian Piety during the late 1740’s.” Journal of Moravian History. 3 (2007): 51-87. p. 74.

Works Cited

Atwood, Craig D. Community of the Cross: Moravian Piety in Colonial Bethlehem. University Park, PA: Pennsylania State University, 2004.
Puecker, Paul. “ ‘Inspired by Flames of Love’: Homosexuality, Mysticism, and Moravian Brothers around 1750.” Journal of the History of Sexuality. 15.1 (Jan. 2006): 30-64.
——. “Songs of the Sifting: Understanding the Role of Bridal Mysticism in Moravian Piety during the late 1740’s.” Journal of Moravian History. 3 (2007): 51-87.
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the “Spirit” of Capitalism and Other Writings. Ed. Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.

2015 - American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Pages: unavailable || Words: 7595 words || 
2. Hutcherson, Benjamin. "Feeling Heavy, Feeling Doomed: Narratives, Embodiment, and Authentic Cultural Engagement" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Chicago and Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois, Aug 20, 2015 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2019-03-25 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Although cultural sociologists have examined the politics of authenticity within various music scenes, such work has largely focused on this concept as an outcome of interaction between individuals in a particular field and the establishment of genre boundaries by musicians, fans, and various organizations (e.g. record labels, music venues). In this paper, I propose the concept of cultural engagement, an analytic framework that emphasizes 1) the discursive strategies people utilize when describing their relationships to art and 2) a conceptualization of embodied genre performances that includes the visceral, somatic experiences of producing and experiencing art. This model of cultural engagement provides insight into how individuals acquire the requisite vocabularies and behaviors to authentically participate in various cultural fields, how they evaluate others’ participation. Here, I focus on the notion of “heavy” within the doom metal music scene of Denver, Colorado and how it operates as a way of connecting intense, personal experiences that take place in the ritualized, collective practice of live music performances. I propose that this model of cultural engagement provides a way of expanding the model of the cultural toolkit and, in turn, rethinking how and why individuals feel strongly connected to music styles that exist outside of mainstream culture.

2018 - American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Pages: unavailable || Words: 5338 words || 
3. Boutilier, Sophia. "Getting a Feel for Development: How Feelings Research Can Provide New Insights into Development Workers" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Pennsylvania Convention Center & Philadelphia Marriott, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 09, 2018 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2019-03-25 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Research on affect and emotions is central to understanding power relations and social change. Rich studies and theories have been emerging out of sociological and feminist research to better understand social motivations, divisions, and transformation. Yet many of the studies have focused on domestic contexts, leaving the affective life of global relationships unexamined. In this review I survey main themes in emotional research and make the case to apply these domestic findings to development workers – an entry point to considering feelings in a global space.

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