You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.


Mo 24.04.2023


• online via Zoom


CCSA Talks: What’s in an atmosphere? Emotions and urban atmospheres in late-nineteenth century London

Cigdem Talu

What’s in an atmosphere? Emotions and urban atmospheres in late-nineteenth century London

The figurative meaning of atmosphere, invoking concepts like ambiance, mood, aura, and milieu dates back to the early nineteenth century. Currently defined as spatialized emotions by philosophers such as Gernot Böhme and Tonino Griffero, atmospheres gained much traction in scholarship in recent years as mediated shared affect between the observer and the observed. This talk suggests that by bringing the history of emotions and its methodologies into the study of atmospheres, we can complicate the axiom of atmospheres as spatialized emotions, moving from a principally conceptual realm towards a history of atmospheres. I attempt this in the context of late nineteenth-century London, focusing on the concept of urban atmospheres in the writings of women writers and journalists. I argue that women’s writing in fin-de-siècle London represents a deviation from other texts invoking atmospheric conceptions at the time by subverting the direction of the shared affect between observer (writer) and the observed (the city) from the projection of a writer’s feelings onto space to a perceptive process where the city’s emotional undercurrents are collected and collectivized in writing.

Cigdem Talu is a researcher and PhD student at the School of Architecture at McGill University in Montreal. Her dissertation focuses on women’s urban experience in late-Victorian London, the concept of urban atmospheres, the history of feelings, and urban travel writing. Her research is supported by the Joseph Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She works as an archival researcher and most recently was the archival researcher of the architecture documentary film City Dreamers. She holds B.Arch, M.Arch, and post-professional M.Arch degrees from Politecnico di Milano and McGill University.

This event is moderated by Sara Honarmand Ebrahimi, Goethe University Frankfurt.

CCSA Talks has been conceived as a platform to present current research projects as well as publications and discusses them with guests. The sessions will take place online via Zoom and will be held in English.

Register here in advance for the CCSA Talks