Encountering Empathy: Interrogating the Past, Envisioning the Future


Encountering Empathy: Interrogating the Past, Envisioning the Future


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At a time when the world seems beset with tragedy, be it the mass displacement of people from their homelands by natural disaster or fleeing political or religious persecution, the need for empathy with people in need has seldom been greater, nor is the quest for peace more dependent upon our acceptance of one another across national borders. Thus the stage was set to bring together academics, practitioners and creative artists from across the globe, with the shared intention of examining the nature of the human phenomenon we call empathy, and exploring the ways in which it has shaped our past and how it may influence our future. What results is an eclectic collection of research ranging from physiological and theoretical explorations of empathy to how empathy may be experienced, enhanced and learned via new technologies and engagement in massively multiplayer online role playing games, sparking debate wherein the supposed “inherent goodness” of empathy is challenged and questions arise regarding the potential of new technologies to act as vehicles for teaching and learning how to be empathetic.

Veronica Wain

Part I Defining Empathy: The First Encounter

The Physiology of Empathy: Theoretical and Practical Implications
Yaron Yagil

Empathy as Orientation rather than Feeling: Why Empathy is Ethically Complex
Steve Larocco

Three Problems with Empathy
Gavin Fairbairn

Part II Encountering Empathy through the Arts

Poetry of Compassionate Empathy
Paulus Pimomo

Empathic Fiction: Modelling Understanding across Borders in Camilla Gibb’s The Beauty of Humanity Movement
Jane Chamberlain

‘Can you see me now?’ Examining Empathy and Perception through Art Practice
Fiona Larkin

Uncertainty Principle: The Locus of Empathy in Breaking Bad
Abby Bentham

Das Vermächtnis: Facing a Legacy of Violence with Empathy
Stefanie Maria Margarete Dinkelbach

Part III Empathy in Action

Empathy in News Reporting: Framing Sexual Minorities in Sub-Saharan Africa
LJ (Nic) Theo

The Use of an Ethnodrama with Healthcare Staff to Prompt Empathy for People with Dementia
Lesley Baillie and Eileen Sills

Empathy with the Enemy: Can the Intellectually Gifted Experience Empathy with the Intellectually Impaired?
Veronica Wain

Part IV Online Encounters: Empathy in the Digital Age

Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye: Social Media, Disembodied Interaction and the Erosion of Empathy
Garry Robson

The Empathic Gamer
Poppy Wilde

‘Gays are the New Jews’: Homophobic Representations in African Media versus Twitterverse Empathy
Charles King

Part V Evidence-Based Empathy: Research Directions

The Horizons of Empathic Experience
Rebeccah Nelems

Youth’s Empathy and Complex Thinking
Camilla Pagani

Conflict Resolution Styles and Reasons for Conflicts in Intimate Relationships of Young People
Zuzana Hradileková and Ivona Kunertová

Veronica Wain is an Australian academic and filmmaker, currently coordinating an innovative Pilot Program in the disability sector. She completed her creative practice based PhD in film and disability theory with Griffith University Film School, Brisbane, Australia.

Paulus Pimomo is a professor of English at Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington, USA. He teaches colonial and postcolonial studies, African American literature, and theory. His recent publications are on the Nagas of northeastern India.