“Anyone writing about empathy is trying to hit a moving target,” said empathy scholar, Lou Agosta – highlighting the term’s confusion in both common conversation and academic literature.
When we are talking about empathy, what exactly are we talking about – shared feelings, care for someone else, or perhaps a more telepathic “mind-reading” grounded in vicarious experience?
To some extent, answering these questions relies on what it is that we are really seeking when we pursue empathy. To vent? To find a solution? To receive acknowledgement or “be heard or seen”?
In this workshop led by student scholar fellow Julianna Breit, we’ll explore our roles in empathy, questioning the aim of empathetic interactions, and analyzing what empathy looks like when it’s done well. After looking at the aesthetic foundations of empathy, we’ll consider the interplay between savoring the other’s emotion and mitigating our own emotional overload.
By the end of the workshop, we’ll have some helpful vocabulary for describing empathy and new frameworks for understanding our interpersonal interactions.
(NOTE: While this workshop complements November’s “How Did We Get Here?” event on empathy, you needn’t have attended the earlier event in order to participate fully and meaningfully in the workshop.)