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The History of Empathy Revisited

Speakers: Prof. Dr. Ute Frevert, Prof. Thomas Kohut, Ph.D. | Chair: Prof. Dr. Claudia Olk (LMU)

16.06.2021 at 18:30 

Ute Frevert and Thomas Kohut approach from their respective disciplinary perspectives the concept of empathy, which has experienced a remarkable surge of popularization in recent years, in both public discourse and research. Frevert analyzes empathy from the perspective of historical emotion research. Kohut, a historian with psychoanalytic training, focuses on empathy as a way of knowing and understanding experiences people in the past. Defining empathy as the adoption of the perspective of the historical subject in the imagination of the historian, Kohut distinguishes empathy from merger, identification, and sympathy. Both scholars are interested in the relevance of the concept for understanding people, especially those of the past.

Ute Frevert is Director of the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and currently a Visiting Fellow at CAS.
Thomas Kohut is Professor of History at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and currently a Visiting Fellow at CAS.

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