Photographs by Eric Carroll's Spring 2017 Photography II students

Thursday, October 12

11:15 A.M. - 12:15 P.M. Fostering Compassionate Macalester

    • Led by: Ashton Horsley '19 and Jackson Ullmann '20
    • Staff Mentor: Eily Marlow
    • Location: Weyerhaeuser Boardroom, Weyerhaeuser Hall 
    • Abstract: "The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical, and spiritual traditions, always calling us to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves…." This is the opening affirmation and foundation of the Charter for Compassion. Since its founding in 2008, countries, cities, business and organizations, and even colleges from around the world have adopted the charter with the goal of cultivating compassion in their communities. By centering their efforts around compassion, they are working together towards an equitable, respectful, and peaceful world. What would a more compassionate Macalester look like as a part of this effort? We will begin by hearing stories of compassion in the lives of Macalester students, then consider this question: What would it mean for our Macalester community to reflect the Charter for Compassion? Participants will not only be answering this question, but also envisioning and mapping compassion within the other communities closest to them.

11:15 A.M. - 12:15 P.M. "You're in America. Speak English.": Examining Empathy, Language, and Nationalism

    • Led by: Hallie Kircher-Henning '19, Rebecca Kline '18, Marlee Yost-Wolff '19,
    • Faculty Mentor: Duchess Harris
    • Location: Davis Court, Markim Hall (overflow seating in John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center)
    • Abstract: “When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.” - Barack Obama, 2006. The United States has no official national language. However, English literacy creates a de facto American in-group and influences cultural aspects of the “American” identity. English language acquisition is often used to measure the level of assimilation and Americanization of non-English speaking immigrant populations. Why? How does conversing across language barriers make Americans feel? How do language barriers affect empathy, and what role does empathy play in maintaining national integrity? Should English Language Learner (ELL) programs be at the forefront of US education and immigration policy? In this workshop, we will explore the various emotions English-speaking Americans collectively feel towards those who don’t speak English and examine their political consequences to better understand our central question: is linguistic unanimity necessary to uphold national unity?

12:30 - 1:30 P.M. Immigration and Empathy

    • Led by: Cecilia Caro ‘18, Fouad El Hamdouni ‘19, Edwin Reyes Herrera ‘20 and Chelsea Valdez ‘19
    • Faculty Mentor: Alicia Muñoz
    • Location: Davis Court, Markim Hall (overflow seating in John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center)
    • Abstract: In current political discussions, immigration falls victim to fears, resentments, and assumptions that drown out the commonalities of life experiences. With the support of Green Card Voices, a Minnesota-based organization, this workshop will feature panelists recounting their personal stories. This workshop aims to foster understanding between audience members and individuals who are immigrants. We want to provide a challenging and caring space for people who are not directly connected to immigration to express and reflect on their reactions towards the experiences of immigrants. Additionally, this will be an opportunity for those affected by migration to share and connect with other immigration stories and to use those experiences in order to reflect on their own.

12:30 - 1:30 P.M. Embodying Empathy

    • Led by: Toan Thanh Doan ‘19, Midori Hasegawa ‘19 and Nteranya Arnold Sanginga ‘19
    • Faculty Mentor: Wynne Fricke
    • Location: Alexander G. Hill Ballroom, Kagin Commons 
    • Abstract: In a capitalist world, we are caught up in individualism and compromise authentic humanity for "privacy." So much distance lies behind superficial conversations and friendly hugs. Societal norms have corrupted the way we connect to one another. To reclaim connection is to acknowledge each other's humanity through our physical bodies. How do we use "touch" for human connections? How does it relate to community, collective empathy, and sharing? We recognise that empathy is not a burden one must relieve oneself of, but an experience that builds supportive connections and a release of gratitude and appreciation. It takes empathy to receive; it takes empathy to give. This movement-focused workshop explores different ways to connect with one another through physicality and reflection. We will move, talk, listen, and reflect.

1:40 - 2:50 P.M. Exploring Empathy for Hateful Ideologies

    • Led by: Emmet Hollingshead '18, Maya Rait '18
    • Faculty Mentor: Nadya Nedelsky
    • Location: Davis Court, Markim Hall (overflow seating in John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center)
    • Abstract: Racially charged nationalism has become a large part of our country’s zeitgeist. In response, and largely on social media, a debate has grown around how those of us who are opposed to such political movements should respond. Should we seek empathy with the individuals who support these movements, or should we respond with hostility and antipathy? In this workshop, we will consider and weigh the value of discovering and utilizing empathy while confronting racist ideologies. We will begin by asking participants to discuss the risks of seeking such empathy; will it aid or deter a quest for coexistence? Are less conciliatory measures more appropriate? Next, we will explore ways in which one might re-frame their initial reaction to racism. Can we separate the human from their hateful ideology? How might we respect the struggles of an individual while simultaneously condemning their actions and beliefs? We expect that this topic will raise a number of opinions and questions, and fostering a space for open discussion is a primary objective for this session.


Selective Empathy: Resistance and Resilience

    • Plenary Speaker: Aminatta Forna, acclaimed novelist and memoirist, Lannan Visiting Chair at Georgetown
    • Location: John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center
    • Aminatta Forna is an author, broadcaster and journalist. She was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and Britain, and spent periods of her childhood in Iran, Thailand, and Zambia. She is the award-winning author of three novels The Hired Man (2014); The Memory of Love (2010), winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award and shortlisted for the Orange Prize; and Ancestor Stones (2006), winner of the PEN Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her critically acclaimed memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water, was published in 2002 then serialized on BBC Radio 4 and extracted in The Sunday Times newspaper. Forna’s books have been translated into sixteen languages. She is currently a Lannan Visiting Chair at Georgetown University. Aminatta Forna was made OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours 2017.

      Ms. Forna will sign books outside the lecture hall following her plenary address. (6:15-6:30 pm)

7:00 - 8:30 P.M. Through Their Eyes: Empathy and Animal Representation in Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

    • Led by: Sam Dembling '18, Greta Helmel '19
    • Faculty Mentor: Arthur Mitchell
    • Location: John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center
    • Abstract: In Hayao Miyazaki’s animated blockbuster, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), a spreading toxic jungle threatens to leave the world uninhabitable for humans. In response, the major industrial kingdom of the movie seeks to burn the toxic jungle down, destroying with it the jungle’s native species, a race of mammoth mutant insects called the Ohm. The movie follows Nausicaa, our young, fiercely moral protagonist, as she strives to restore peace between nature and humankind. How is it that Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind moves us, as an audience, from fearing the physically repulsive Ohm at the beginning of the movie to caring about their plight by the end? This workshop will begin with a screening of representative clips from the film followed by a discussion about empathy, narrative, animal representation, and more.

Friday, October 13

9:00 - 10:00 A.M. The Path to Empathy

    • Led by: Max Abramson ‘18, Nathan Vinehout Kane ‘18 and Logan Tootle ‘17
    • Faculty Mentor: Joy Laine
    • Location: Davis Court, Markim Hall
    • Abstract: Empathy plays a key role across a multitude of everyday situations, but what is empathy? Empathy is considered imperative to social interaction and has a positive connotation in colloquial speech; yet, we take our ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes for granted. Is it possible that empathy is not all it’s cracked up to be? How does our ability to empathize affect our relationships with others? What is the relationship between empathy and morality? Our goal is to use a multidisciplinary approach to explore these questions and better understand empathy’s advantages and limitations. With analyses drawn from English, Sociology, and Neuroscience, this workshop will present various academic viewpoints. Professor Paul Bloom, International Roundtable plenary speaker and author of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, will serve as discussant. Participants will have an opportunity to engage with others in an activity that highlights the key points of the workshop.

9:00 - 10:00 A.M. Finding Empathy in Competitive Sports

    • Led by: Rebekah Griffin '19, Molly Lloyd '18
    • Faculty Mentor: Tina Kruse
    • Location: Hall of Fame Room, Leonard Center (overflow seating in Harmon Room, DeWitt Wallace Library)
    • Abstract: Competitive sports and character development have long been said to go hand in hand, but "softer" skills such as empathy are often neglected in this assumption. In this session we aim to explore the relationship between competitive sports, and empathy, and ask the question: How can we build more empathy within sports? Through engagement with research, personal experiences, and the examination of different actors in competitive sports, we hope to develop a more nuanced perspective and practical tools for future development of empathy in sports. Audience members’ own experience and ideas will be a key component in fostering discussion through small group activities and general brainstorming.


The Photographic Act: Appropriation or Empathy?

    • Plenary Speakers: Photographers Wing Young Huie and Patience Zalanga
    • Location: John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center
    • Wing Young Huie is a celebrated photographic artist and educator. For over 30 years, he has captured the complex cultural realities of American society. His photographs have been shown in museums around the world, from the Smithsonian in Washington DC to SZ Art Gallery in Beijing. His best known works, Lake Street USA and the University Avenue Project, were public art projects that transformed Minneapolis and Saint Paul thoroughfares into six-mile photo galleries, reflecting the everyday lives of thousands of their citizens. As an extension of his public art installations that create informal communal spaces, in spring 2011 Wing opened The Third Place Gallery. Housed in a building that previously sat empty for 47 years,Wing has turned the space into an urban living room for guest artists, social conversation, karaoke, and ping pong.

      Patience Zalanga is a photographer documenting the Movement for Black Lives. Born in Bauchi, Nigeria, Zalanga emigrated to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1994. She now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is 24 years old. Zalanga began taking photographs of marches, protests, and direct actions after Michael Brown, Jr. was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. She has documented freedom fighters in the Twin Cities, Ferguson, St. Louis, Baltimore and Selma. Zalanga’s work has been featured on AJ+, The Twin Cities Daily Planet, The Guardian, Nightline, Upworthy, MPR, and NPR. She says that her work is intended to highlight the humanity of black activists and provide an alternative narrative to that of the mainstream media.

Noon - 1:00 P.M. Healing in a Hectic Place: Empathy in Healthcare

    • Led by: Angel Diaz '18, Courtney Popp '18, Kelsey Porter '18
    • Faculty Mentors: Lin Aanonsen and Liz Jansen
    • Location: Davis Court, Markim Hall (overflow seating in John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center)
    • Abstract: Healthcare professionals are often associated with making diagnoses, ordering lab tests, and writing prescriptions. However, in the medical world, one’s capacity to understand and communicate with patients is just as important as the ability to prescribe medication or identify disease. Medicine presents a fascinating and illuminating case study of the empathetic impulse. As a nurse, physician, or other health professional, one must connect with each patient, while also refraining from taking on the patient’s burden as their own. A balancing act is initiated, between caring too little and caring too much. For even the most empathetic medical professionals, it can be challenging to accompany patient after patient through various stages of illness and recovery. Our session will draw on the experiences of five individuals—a nurse practitioner, a pediatrician, a family medicine doctor, a public health nurse, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice in integrative health and healing—to reflect on the role of empathy in healthcare, and lean into difficult questions centered on this theme.

Noon - 1:00 P.M. The Digital Paradox: Are We Really Connected?

    • Led by: Alya Ansari ‘19, Nick Chun ‘19, Liza Michaeli ‘18 and Malvika Shankar ‘19
    • Faculty Mentor: Kiarina Kordela
    • Location: Harmon Room, DeWitt Wallace Library
    • Abstract: Now more than ever, our lives and relationships are dictated by advances in communication technology. Cybernetic pathways of communication have replaced more tangible modes of interaction: we tweet rather than talk, post rather than protest, and snap rather than engage with neighboring bodies. This interdisciplinary workshop will explore the ways in which technological advances have promoted what some have called “radical openness and unbroken connection,” and to what extent technology has equally isolated us from the feeling, breathing multitude around us. Guided by the works of media scholars and critical theorists alike, we ask what it means to exist amongst and connect with other bodies in the embrace of information technology. How has the emergence of virtual networks complicated our understanding of lived experience? And what is the potentiality of said networks both to disrupt alienating vertical structures of power, and give rise to empathetic, horizontal models of transindividual communion?

1:10 - 2:10 P.M. Other People's Pain: Visual Art and the Empathetic Imagination

    • Led by: Tara Kaushik ‘18, Isabel Lê ‘18 and Allegra Wyatt ‘18
    • Faculty Mentor: Ruthann Godollei
    • Location: Davis Court, Markim Hall (overflow seating in John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center)
    • Abstract: This workshop will examine the recent controversy surrounding “Open Casket” (2016), a painting by artist Dana Schutz that has sparked contentious debate over its haunting subject matter – the brutalized body of African American teenager Emmett Till lying in his coffin. While Schutz has called the work her expression of a personal empathetic connection with Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till, critics have charged her with creating a profitable spectacle out of a black boy’s death. This workshop will flesh out differing viewpoints surrounding this artwork and the objections that have arisen in response to it. Additionally, it will examine the protests to and subsequent dismantling of artist Sam Durant’s “Scaffold” (2017) as a point of contrast and comparison. In so doing, this workshop will raise important questions about empathy, representations of suffering, and creating connections among people: Who can create certain kinds of art? How and when can art be a vehicle for empathetic connection? When does it fall short? And what are some ways it can do better?


Against Empathy

    • Plenary Speaker: Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale
    • Location: John B. Davis Lecture Hall, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center

4:00 - 6:00 P.M. Truth and Empathy in Photography

    • Led by: Richard Graham ‘19 and Bade Turgut ‘19
    • Faculty Mentor: Eric Carroll
    • Location: Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Commons
    • Abstract: Photography has long been associated with truth and evidence. This power has enabled photography to evoke empathy from its target audience. In this interactive session that will take place as a part of the Friday reception, we will be demonstrating how photography is prone to misinterpretation and misrepresentation that alters how empathy is created. In this student-led session, we will remake some of the photos shown in the International Roundtable poster. We will also explore the ethics of representation through images from the artwork for the International Roundtable.

4:15 - 6:15 P.M. Reception and Display of Photos by plenary speakers Wing Young Huie and Patience Zalanga

    • Location: Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center Commons

Saturday, October 14

Noon - 3:00 P.M. Empathy Crafts: Videogame Design Possibilities

    • Led by: Ana Diaz ‘18, Malik Earle ‘18 and Logan Stapleton ‘18
    • Faculty Mentor: Bret Jackson
    • Location: The Loch, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center
    • Abstract: While scientists continue to explore the possibility of a clear relationship between videogames and empathy, this workshop explores specific game elements that either promote or negate empathy. Through genre selection and design choices, developers have played, and will continue to play, with the construct of empathy. Videogames are a widespread global phenomenon reaching new audiences every year and are being produced beyond traditional monolithic sites like L.A. and Tokyo. As such, they are constitutive of the international discussion on empathy. In fact, videogames may be key to exploring the limits of empathetic connection given the dominance of digital media. This workshop will first allow participants to play through carefully curated videogame sequences. Then, the organizers will open up a discussion on the specific design elements at work in the curated content. Finally, the discussion will turn to imagining broader challenges and possibilities, including, but not limited to, empathy in videogames.

12:15 - 1:30 P.M. Build Resilience: Multifaith Storytelling as an Act of Resistance

    • Led by: Saakshi Daswani ‘18, Tasneem Issa '18, Emily Nadel ‘18, Margaret Quinn ‘19, and Lutfe-E-Noor Rahman ‘18
    • Staff Mentors: Kelly Stone and Ailya Vajid
    • Location: Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel
    • Abstract: In this workshop, we will look at the ways that stories cultivate relationships, action, and resistance. We will begin by exploring how honoring vulnerably told stories allows for the formation of community and interactions that challenge us, push us, and teach us resiliency. During the planning for this session, the Multifaith Council was struck by how the stories we hold dear create and inspire concrete action in our communities. What was born out of our stories was a call to action - to not just have and to hold these memories - but to use them to create something that will better our community. We have chosen the theme of “trees,” which are meaningful across traditions and in our lives, to direct which stories we share, and as a motivation to create a prayer or reflection garden with a tree on our campus. We invite you to join the Multifaith Council as we share our stories with you, and begin to change the environment of our campus.

12:15 - 1:30 P.M. Rural Voices: Evolving the Narrative

    • Students: Ariana Hones '18 and Giselle Tisdale '19
    • Faculty Mentor: James Dawes
    • Location: Weyerhaeuser Boardroom, Weyerhaeuser Hall
    • Abstract: In an increasingly polarized country, the urban/rural divide has emerged as a central dichotomy. This workshop will work to complicate the narrative of rural identity. It will begin by defining rural communities and exploring the diversity in their demographics and histories. This will be followed by a presentation from local artist, Stephanie Rogers, as she works to foster empathy across differences in rural and urban communities. Finally, we will end with a facilitated discussion on what it means to listen to rural voices, the implications of doing so, and how we as students and community members can engage with rural perspectives and leadership.

12:30 - 4:00 P.M. Refugees and Empathy

    • Students: Amelia Gerrard ‘20 and Miho Itabashi ‘18
    • Faculty and Staff Mentors: Derek Johnson, Donna Maeda, Paul Schadewald, Dianna Shandy
    • Field Trip by reservation bus will leave from Weyerhaeuser Hall Macalester Street side
    • Abstract: In 2016, Minnesota was among the top states for refugee resettlement and achieved the highest single-year per capita rate. With the help of several organizations in the Twin Cities, this workshop facilitates off-campus visits for participants to engage with refugees and immigrants, and further understand their narratives and histories. It serves to bridge the community and students through shared participation and conversation in order to foster long-term empathetic skills. It aims to question what role cognitive empathy plays in our lives, and to envision what exists beyond empathy when emotions are shared and translated into civic engagement.

      Field trip participants will visit community-based galleries to explore the possibilities and limits of fostering empathy through artistic spaces that highlight displacement and belonging. International Roundtable Plenary Speaker Wing Young Huie's "Third Place Gallery," is a storefront gallery that encourages interaction across lines through the visual arts, performances, and activities. He will introduce participants to his work on "Chinese-ness," which explores complex perspectives on being Chinese. The second stop will be All My Relations Gallery, a Native American-led art gallery, that is part of the Native American Community Development Institute that is using art to revitalize its neighborhood. We will reflect on the importance of this arts space in fostering self-determination, creativity, and relationships. Reservations required. Space limited.

1:45 - 3:00 P.M. Cruel Music

    • Led by: Spike Sommers ‘18 and the Music, Empathy, and Alienation FYC
    • Faculty Mentor: Mark Mazullo
    • Location: Music Room 219
    • Abstract: At its most noble, music fosters empathetic relationships by providing a means for us to “feel into” one another's emotional lives. By singing, playing instruments, and listening to music together, we can begin to understand one another. But what is involved when the music we enjoy comes from a less empathetic source and perpetuates a failure of understanding? Whether it be Wagner’s Ring cycle, with its underpinning of racist ideology, or Eminem’s “Kim,” which enacts the murder of his ex-wife and her child, some music complicates any facile relation to empathy. In this workshop, participants will share examples of their own engagement with “cruel music.” We will respond to several questions: Is it possible to re-conceive cruel music as music about cruelty, or does a nuanced view excuse the inexcusable? How can we come to terms with the empathetic cost of this enjoyment? What is the role of economic, racial and other forms of privilege when considering the relation between empathy and art? Is the cultural consumption of misogyny, homophobia, and racism responsible in a world already so lacking in empathy?