Well into the 19th century, executions in Europe, as a rule, were public. It was considered desirable for as many spectators as possible to be present. Since the late 18th century, however, public commotion and the emotions displayed in it increasingly came to be considered offensive. Many demanded to remove executions from the public gaze; some even went so far as to call for the abolition of the death penalty. In any case, execution sites, just like pillories, disappeared from public space, eliminating the emotional ambivalence they had created among spectators.
Ute Frevert is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where she also heads the Centre for the History of Emotions. Between 2003 and 2007 she was Professor of German History at Yale University and previously taught history at the University of Konstanz, the University of Bielefeld, and the Free University Berlin. Her research interests cover the social and cultural history of modern times, gender history, political history, and the history of emotions. In 1998 she was awarded the Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Her major works include Men of Honour: A Social and Cultural History of the Duel (1991); Mann und Weib und Weib und Mann: Geschlechterdifferenzen in der Moderne (1995); Eurovisionen: Ansichten guter Europäer im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (2003); A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Society (2004); Emotions in History — Lost and Found (2011); Gefühlspolitik: Friedrich II. als Herr über die Herzen? (2012); and, most recently, Vergängliche Gefühle (2013) and Vertrauensfragen: Eine Obsession der Moderne (2013).