EVENT: Panel discussion on Thomas Kohut’s "Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past” (November 29, 2021)

Alon Confino (IHGMS)'s picture

Join us on Monday, November 29, 2021, 5:00PM (EST) for: A panel discussion on Thomas Kohut’s Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past.  Joining him for this discussion will be Jane Tillman, Frank Biess, and Marion Kaplan.

Registration is required to attend this Webinar. Register in advance here: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jICZ0Hr1Tieff4XshbV11w

[This event is held by the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies (IHGMS) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Visit our website at: https://www.umass.edu/ihgms/ or contact us at ihgms@umass.edu]

Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past considers the role of empathy in historical knowledge, informed by fields of study including history, psychoanalysis, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and sociology. The book seeks to raise the self-consciousness of historians about their use of empathy to know and understand past people. Thomas Kohut argues that historians need to be aware of their observational position, of when they are empathizing and when they are not. Indeed, Kohut advocates for the deliberate, self-reflective use of empathy as a legitimate and important mode of historical inquiry.

Thomas Kohut is the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History at Williams College in Massachusetts. A historian with psychoanalytic training, he has published, among others, A German Generation: An Experiential History of the Twentieth Century (Yale, 2012). He is currently a member of the Council of Scholars, which advises the Erikson Institute at Riggs. He is also President of the Board of the Freud Foundation US. 

Jane G. Tillman, PhD, ABPP is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education, Research, and Advocacy of the Austen Riggs Center. A board-certified clinical psychologist and a psychoanalyst, Dr. Tillman is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center and a Teaching Associate in Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance of Harvard Medical School.

Frank Biess is Professor of Modern European History with an emphasis on 20th Century Germany at the University of California, San Deigo. His first book, Homecoming. Returning POWs and the Legacies of Defeat in Postwar Germany (Princeton, 2006) explored the ways in which both German societies coped with the ongoing legacies of war and defeat.

Marion Kaplan is Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University. She is a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Her newest book is Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal, 1940-45 (Yale University Press, 2020).

Categories: Announcement, Discussion