The Other Side of Empathy (Hardcover)

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The Other Side of Empathy By Jade E. Davis Cover Image


In The Other Side of Empathy, Jade E. Davis contests the value of empathy as an affective or critical tool. Whether focusing on technology, colonialism, or racism, she shows how empathy can obscure relationships of dominance, control, submission, and victimization, arguing that these histories taint the whole concept of empathy. Drawing on digital archives of photographs, memoirs, newspapers, interviews, and advertisements regarding nineteenth-century ethnographic museums and human zoos, Davis shows how empathetic responses erase culpabilities from those institutions that commodify difference. She also contends that empathy's mediation through digital technology cannot lead to more ethical actions, as technology only connects representations of people rather than the people themselves. In empathy's place, Davis proposes mutual recognition as a way to see and experience others beyond colonial modes of empathy. Davis illustrates that moving beyond empathy allows for a more nuanced understanding of the colonial past and its ongoing impact while providing for a more meaningful affective engagement with the world.

About the Author

Jade E. Davis is the Associate University Librarian for Teaching, Learning, and Research at the University of Iowa and an independent scholar.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781478020035
ISBN-10: 1478020032
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication Date: August 4th, 2023
Pages: 136
Language: English