Living Empathy

I am speaking today at a workshop in the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. They came up with a great title for the workshop: “Living Empathy: Emotions of reconciliation and conflict”.

A morning panel on empathy and fiction, cinema, plays raised the interesting idea of ‘performing empathy’ –  what we might do in public, knowing people are watching. Performative empathy might contrast with ‘real’ empathy, done 1-1 in private situations. That word ‘real’ always sets my academic alarm bells ringing and starts a search for the hidden values that make one thing ‘real’ and another, by implication, false/unreal. I ended up wondering if all empathy isn’t performed…


I’ll think more about this when I’ve had a good sleep!



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