This interdisciplinary course is concerned withĀ examining and questioning to what extent empathy and compassion can both contribute to and hinder the forging of collectivity.Ā Since the mid-1990s, the ā€œaffective turnā€ in the humanities, social sciences as well as in technological fields has drawn our attention to the question of what it might mean to affect and be affected. Hotly contested, the notion of affect can generally be regarded as a type of excess that is contrasted with the cognitive and the discursive, laying considerable stress on the body and feeling.

Taking as its focus the particular affective relations of empathy and compassion, this course will examine the different ways in which these terms are and have been conceptualised and mobilised in society as it explores their roles in strengthening and/or limiting understandings of the relationship between self and other.

Over theĀ 8 sessions of this course, we will explore these issues together, and in the process we will interrogate the degree to which science, writing, music, film, theory, or a combination of these, can draw our attention to manifold, interconnected and collective structures of feeling.

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