Conversations on Empathy, 7 June 2023

Book launch

Conversations on Empathy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Imagination and Radical Othering on 7 June 2023, 1-3pm (CESR1)


The Centre for Ethnographic Research at Kent (CERK) is delighted to host a Book Launch to celebrate, promote and inspire cross-disciplinary success at Kent.


The book being celebrated is Conversations on Empathy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Imagination and Radical Othering, edited By Francesca Mezzenzana and Daniela Peluso (SAC) which was selected by Routledge as a gratis Open Access Volume.


The concept of empathy has been emerging as a hot topic in both academia and the public sphere. Contemporary works in the cognitive and neurosciences, developmental and evolutionary psychology, and animal ethology have shown how empathy is critical for the development of sociality in humans and nonhumans. Empathy has also received theoretical attention in anthropology, cultural studies and philosophy as a key capacity for constituting one’s sense of self and others. Despite this attention, empathy has rarely been addressed in an interdisciplinary way, and even less so in relation to the concept of ‘radical otherness’. This edited volume takes on these challenges.


Among the contributors, the University of Kent authors include Margrethe Bruun VaageHeather Ferguson, Nathan Keates, Damian Milton, Carolyn Pedwell, Daniela Peluso, Murray Smith, Krysia Emily Waldock, and two former Kent colleagues Francesca Mezzenzana and Lena Wimmer.


Other contributors include Becca Franks, Monica Gagliano, Robin Truth GoodmanDouglas Hollan, Jacqueline M. Kory-Westlund, Esra Özyürek,  Valentyna Pavlenko, Vasudevi Reddy, Jason ThroopBarbara Smuts, Catherine Wanner, and Christine Webb.


The book serves as a model for successful collaboration across Divisions by a team of cross-disciplinary academics (SAC, Psychology, School of Arts, Sociology and Tizard) which stemmed from a successful in-house workshop. We hope that this book launch will serve as an inspiration for future collaborations that will result in research excellence.


A prosecco toast and lunch banquet follow the discussion, whose speakers include:

Ozlem Biner (Co-Director, Centre for Ethnographic Research at Kent, CERK), SAC) – Welcome

Daniela Peluso (SAC) – Why Empathy?

Murray Smith (School of the Arts) – Empathy Redux

Heather Ferguson (Psychology)– The ‘Empathy Lab’ – A Psychological Exploration

Carolyn Pedwell (Sociology) –Empathy’s Entanglements