Category Archives: smile

The Time of the Smile

We will be speaking about our project at the forthcoming conference of The Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. This year’s conference theme is ‘Reception and Emotion’ and the event will be held online via Zoom (hosted by The University of Western Australia), from 27–30 June 2022!

Our proposed panel will consider the following, across three papers by Stephanie, Joe & Tyne:

In The Smile Revolution in Eighteenth Century Paris (2014), Colin Jones argued that in the eighteenth century a new kind of smile, the “white-toothed smile” came to replace a “snooty, aggressive, closed-mouth smile” that had been dominant in seventeenth century France. This revolution, he shows, was tied to transformations in the history of emotions, in dentistry, in practices of aesthetic representation, and in the progressive urbanisation of eighteenth-century life. Our panel takes inspiration from Jones’s conjugation of the emotional, the physiological and the socio-historical in the sense of a smile, but we want to expand this field of inquiry. We want to look at other times of the smile: earlier periods in the history of the smile and other times in the arc of the smile (the first movements of a smile, the experience of smiling and being smiled at, of smiling to oneself and to another). The three papers on this panel span medieval and early modern texts, practices of close reading, cultural history and digital methods, in order to deepen the cultural history of the smile. 

The Cultural History of the Smile

We’re excited to launch a new digital exhibit as part of Literature and the Face.

In 2021 we collaborated with two PhD candidates in the Faculty of Arts to build a digital exhibition titled Bittersweet: A Cultural History of the Smile.

In the University of Melbourne Digital Studio Internships Program, Catherine Gay and Xingcheng Wang worked with Dr Tyne Sumner to create an interactive digital humanities project that tells the literary, artistic, and cultural history of the smile.

You can take a look at their incredible work here!