Is compassion the foundation of human morality or a dangerously unreliable emotion? This course examined the strategies and motivations in different media for 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 and analysis at this portal to student projects:
You will be asked to sympathize with some really bad guys: mass murderers, nazis, drug lords, and worse!
This course was cross-listed with Classics, Philosophy, and Comparative Literature.
Professor: Ellwood Wiggins; TA: Eric Scheufler; Mentors: Kristina Pilz and Justin Mohler