Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

The risks of empathy: Interrogating multiculturalism's gaze

Buy Article:

$53.00 + tax (Refund Policy)

Empathy is widely embraced as a means of educating the social imagination; from John Dewey to Martha Nussbaum, Cornel West to bell hooks, we find empathy advocated as the foundation for democracy and social change. In this article I examine how students' readings of Art Spiegelman's MAUS , a comicbook genre depiction of his father's survival of Nazi Germany, produces the Aristotelian version of empathy advocated by Nussbaum. This ‘passive empathy', I argue, falls far short of assuring any basis for social change, and reinscribes a ‘consumptive' mode of identification with the other. I invoke a ‘semiotics of empathy', which emphasizes the power and social hierarchies which complicate the relationship between reader/listener and text/speaker. I argue that educators need to encourage what I shall define as ‘testimonial reading' which requires the reader's responsibility.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: MAUS; emotion; empathy; power; reading; testimony

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1997

More about this publication?
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more