Grief and rage are at the center of political science Professor Danielle Hanley’s research. She’s working on her first book project, an examination of those two emotions in the context of Greek tragedy and contemporary protest movements. In “Medea,” a play written by Euripides in 5th-century BC Greece, the titular character seeks vengeance on her husband Jason as he leaves her for a Greek princess. A chorus of women initially rally in support of Medea.
Hanley describes this as a form of “affective solidarity,” which grows out of the circulation of emotions that magnetically pull other people in — specifically emotions calling out an injustice. This also happens in 21st-century social justice movements, she notes.
“The circulation of grief and rage is a kind of commentary on the state of affairs in the world. It’s what we express when we don’t have the right words,” says Hanley. “One of the things I’m thinking about is how to balance the different obligations we have to one another with our own liberation.”