Class starts Tuesday March 28th. Empathy is oxygen for the soul. So if you are feeling short of breath due to life stresses, perhaps one needs expanded empathy. Get some here. This is what you need to know to
register. Further details on the course content are in line below. To register for the course, you need to provide basic info and register with the UChicago Graham School of Continuing Education. If you have any special requests, none of this is “chiseled in stone” yet (though it will be by 03/21/2017), so see my contact data below and let me know. There are no prerequisites or grades. This is Continuing Education. Cost is $360.
HUAS 61001 | A Rumor of Empathy in NeuroscienceA rumor is an unsubstantiated report. This course will pursue the rumor of empathy in neuroscience. The rumor is substantiated – empathy LIVES in neuroscience. But there are some conditions and qualifications. Connecting the dots between the mechanisms of neurotransmitters and the first person experience of a conversation for possibility in education is complex. This class will do a close reading of the texts that provide the deep structure of the history of empathy along with the “cliff notes / spark notes” version of what you need to know about neuroscience to engage in a meaningful conversation about the issues. We will aim at making empathy present and palpable in our work in class.
|Course Code:||HUAS 61001|
March 28 to May 16
1:30 PM–4:00 PM
A RUMOR OF EMPATHY IN NEUROSCIENCE
There are a number of relatively short readings – not more than thirty pages a week – that are available for free on the Internet as URLs and/or downloadable PDFs or plain text [licensed under licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License]. Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/h5f873s [password needed – and provided by me upon registration]. Please plan on doing the reading before the class so we can have a meaningful conversation.
SCHEDULE: March – May 2017 [Class meets from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm / Gleacher Center]
March 28, 2017 : [Empathy] Mirror Neurons, Embodied Simulation, and the Neural Basis of Social Identification by Vittorio Gallese. The identification of mirror neurons in the mid 1990s caused a explosion of interest in empathy.
April 04, 2017: The Functional Architecture of Human Empathy by Jean Decety et al: DecetyThe_Functional_Architecture_of_Human_Empathy copy. Even if Decety’s views have continued to evolve, this is the paper that provides an opening to understanding empathy that has still not been surpassed.
April 11, 2017: Resistance to empathy!? Addressing Empathy Failures by Jamil Zaki. For something like empathy that is supposed to be as popular as kittens, motherhood, and apple pie, there is a surprising amount of resistance to engaging closely with it. Find out why.
April 18, 2017: Brainwashed: My Amygdala Made Me Do It – and Neurocentrism by Sally Satel, providing a short glossary of terms needed to debunk voodoo correlations in neural science
April 25, 2017: Empathy [and] The Myth of Mirror Neurons and the Broken [Empathy] Mirror by Gregory Hickok. The debate is joined. Yes, mirror neurons were discovered in Macque monkeys, but what REALLY was discovered and how does it map to human beings?
May 02, 2017: Empathy [and] Mindblindness: Am Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind by Simon Baron-Cohen.
May 09, 2017: Empathy on the Inpatient Unit: Plato Not Prozac! Chapter 3 from Lou Agosta’s A Rumor of Empathy: Resistance, Narrative, Recovery
May 16, 2017: Empathy and Trauma: The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk. An essential text of working with empathy and trauma. How not to succumb to compassion fatigue or burnout and make use of empathy as a method of guarding against these empathic breakdowns.
The course follows an ascending path from a natural history of empathy, in which
empathy is defined, through methods of disclosing and engaging empathy, to applications of empathy in neurology, trauma (human suffering), and so-called diseases of empathy such as autism. The approach to class discussion is to discuss a close reading of the texts; but time is also available to discuss what one might call “empathy tips and techniques” in expanding one’s empathy in class and daily life. In empathy, one is quite simply in the presence of another human being. Join me in making empathy present and expanding empathy in our lives and in the community.
Lou Agosta, Ph.D. is the author of three academic books on empathy. He is assistant professor medical humanities at Ross University Medical School. His PhD is in philosophy (University of Chicago).