We are overjoyed to welcome the inimitable Pragya Agarwal to the Edinburgh bookshop. This time round, Pragya comes to enlighten with her latest book, revelatory and timely in equal doses, the fantastic: _Hysterical: Exploding the Myth of Gendered Emotions_.
As we all know, emotions can be tricky to define. Yet we all know what they feel like and how to recognise them in others. One of Pragya’s central claims is that the way we interpret emotions – in ourselves and others – has been heavily gendered. This is an accident of history, a process which has its roots as far back as the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and one which sadly persists despite improvements in sexual equality.
In _Hysterical, _Pragya embarks on a genealogical deep dive into the historical and scientific factors which led to the gendering of emotions. She asks: Is is true that innate biological differences between the sexes determines a difference in their emotional experiences? Even more interestingly, Pragya uses her examination to explore the impact which emotional-gendering has had on men and women – especially in how it has aided and abetted in the subjugation of women – and to envisage how an ungendered emotional future might look. A future which, if it is to overcome these issues, must be predicated on Pragya’s dictum: “I feel, therefore I am.”
Dr. Pragya Agarwal is a behavioural and data scientist. She has held a number of senior academic positions in US and UK Universities for over 15 years and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. As well as numerous research papers, she is the author of three widely acclaimed non-fiction books, _Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias_, _Wish We Knew What to Say: Talking with Children about Race_ and _(M)otherhood: On the choices of being a woman_, and a book _Standing Up To Racism_ for young children. Her journalistic writing has appeared in the _Guardian_, _Prospect_, _Forbes_, _BBC Science Focus_,_ Scientific American_ and _New Scientist_ amongst others, and her essays have appeared in several literary magazines.