Is compassion the foundation of human morality or a dangerously unreliable emotion? This course (German 385: The Rhetoric of Social Justice) 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 Team Projects
Featured Final Projects:
- Sympathy for an Abusive Mother? (Local TV News Report): Sympathetic! / Unsympathetic!
- Sympathy for a Killer Cop? (Dramatic Sketch Video)
- Sympathy for a Pimp? (An R-rated Kids' Book)
- Sympathy for a Cult Leader? (A Collage Portrait)
Cross-listed with: German, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, CHID, Classics