The two main areas in which Prof Plamper has conducted research are Soviet symbolic politics and the history of emotions. In the former, Prof Plamper has published articles and a book, The Stalin Cult: A Study in the Alchemy of Power (click for an interview on The Stalin Cult; for a radio interview on The Stalin Cult; for a blog discussio on The Stalin Cult), in which Prof Plamper tried to reconstruct the mechanisms of the cult’s production. He also analysed the actual cult products and their changes over time, focusing on visual representations, esp. oil paintings. Prof Plamper maintains an interest in visual culture and will make visual history a focus of both my teaching and future research.
In the area of the history of emotions, Prof Plamper started out by working on the fear of soldiers in Late Imperial Russia. Soon conceptual problems began piling up and he felt compelled to think some of them through—the result is The History of Emotions: An Introduction (click for a shorter radio interview on The History of Emotions; for a longer interview on The History of Emotions), a book that attempts to synthesise existing emotions research and to make its own contribution to this relatively new field of historical inquiry. The book’s architecture is shaped by the binary that—in various guises—has dominated emotions research since the 19th century: social constructionism vs. universalism. Prof Plamper takes cultural anthropological work to be emblematic for social constructionist approaches, life science work for universalist approaches, and devote a chapter to each. Now that this book is finished, he has returned to his project on soldierly fear.