Virtual Event: Susan Lanzoni: A History of Empathy

Despite the ubiquity of the word empathy today, few people know the fascinating history of its origin in 1908 and shifting meanings over the following century. Susan Lanzoni, historian of psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience at Harvard University’s School of Continuing Education, and author of Empathy: A History, will share her research on the earliest conceptions of empathy–initially a term to describe how spectators projected their own feelings onto objects of art and nature–and how this has transformed into its present meaning of grasping the feelings and emotions of other people. Despite a century of scientific exploration, and even as neuroscientists continue to map the brain correlates of empathy, its many dimensions still elude strict scientific description.

This talk will uncover empathy’s historical layers, offering a rich portrait of the tension between the reach of one’s own imagination and the realities of others’ experiences, and the importance of practicing empathy in our current moment.

This talk will be ASL-interpreted by Rosalinda Estrada-Alvarez and CART captioned. Click here to register for this event.

This talk is co-presented with Mia’s Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts, and sponsored by the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Fund.