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How Compassionate Are You?  Student projects from Fall '16 Germanics course: "Sympathy for the Devil"

Submitted by Ellwood Wiggins on March 8, 2017 - 3:47pm
Peter Lorre in M (dir. Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931)
Peter Lorre in M (dir. Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931)
Sympathy for the Devil: The Rhetoric of Compassion (German 390), Team Learning Projects, 2016

Is compassion the foundation of human morality or a dangerously unreliable emotion? This course examined the strategies and motivations in different media of fostering empathy for commonly held enemies or discriminated groups. The syllabus ran from Ancient Greece to depictions of Nazis and terrorists in modern film, and considered philosophical assessments of sympathy alongside examples of its aesthetic manufacture.

Students worked together in learning teams. Each group was assigned a "bad guy" and had to experiment with and critically analyze techniques of creating sympathy for their devils in four different media: rhetoric, drama, prose narrative, and visual arts. 

Check out the results of their creative work: Portal to student projects

You will be asked to sympathize with some really bad guys: mass murderers, nazis, ISIS terrorists, and worse!

This course was cross-listed with Classics, Philosophy, CHID, and Comparative Literature.

Professor: Ellwood Wiggins; TA: Chase Stamper; Mentor: Aaron Carpenter

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