Maureen Flynn

Professor of History

Joined the faculty in 1992

Ph.D., Wisconsin at Madison
M.A., Wisconsin at Madison
B.A., Wisconsin at Madison

Courses routinely taught:

Renaissance and Reformation Western Civilization and its Discontents Medieval Popular Culture Evolution of Human Emotion Foundations of European Society

Current scholarly interests:

My interest in the history of emotions centers on the Middle Ages. In a manuscript called "The Darkest Hours of Medieval Sleep," I explore nightmares and the relationship that was drawn between dreams and wakeful consciousness. Medieval scholars wondered if the experiences of dream-life might accurately depict alternative realities, offering clues into the mysteries of the future. They deliberated, as well, on the morality of sleep, trying to assess if we are capable of "sinning" in our dreams. These questions represent some of psychology's first forays into the realm of the unconscious.

Published work:

Sacred Charity: Confraternities and Social Welfare in Spain, 1400-1700 (Cornell and Macmillan) "Taming Anger's Daughters: New Treatment of Emotional Problems in Renaissance Spain" "Blasphemy and the Play of Anger" La fascinacion y la mirada feminina" "The Spectacle of Suffering" "Mimesis of the Last Judgment: the Spanish Auto de fe."

Personal statement:

My attraction to the discipline of history began as a quest to answer the basic question: how did we humans come to be conscious creatures? All the salient clues to the query led me to the act of memory and the art of historical reflection. It became clear to me that the way in which existence is revealed to us is through mental reflection upon our past experiences. This involves our own personal past as well as the past of our ancestors. History is the mechanism by which we learn about our intellectual and cultural evolution as individuals and as members of a species. What I find most interesting about the practice of history is its endless promise that as we come to know ourselves, we become new again, with more insights and more wisdom for continued development.

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