CFP: [18th] Sympathies and Antipathies conference

full name / name of organization: 
Ildiko Csengei
contact email: 

Sympathies and Antipathies:
Altruism and Emotional Response Across the Disciplines

Friday, 29 May to Saturday, 30 May
Location: CRASSH Seminar Room, 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge, UK

Ildiko Csengei, Pembroke College, Cambridge (
Paul White, HPS and Cambridge University Library (

Once a fundamental concept in early modern and enlightenment medicine and
philosophy, sympathy has re-emerged as a subject of investigation in a wide
range of modern disciplines. This conference will begin to chart this
territory in which earlier models of fellow-feeling, compassion, and
commiseration are taken up in modern science, fiction, film, and social
policy; and to explore how these models are re-worked in conjunction with
new constructs like empathy, altruism, and humanitarianism.

Papers will address these specific topics:
- the co-presence of altruism and cruelty in human nature
- the secret of sentimental tearjerkers from the eighteenth century to
modern cinema
- the heritage of eighteenth-century moral thought
- literary representations of sympathy
- the question of affect and professional neutrality in medicine and
- the place of empathy and altruism in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy
- the role of the media in humanitarian activity
- the scientific basis for altruistic behaviour as seen in today’s most
recent bio-medical research
- self and other: tolerance, intolerance, othering, and discrimination
- sympathy and politics; individual and collective evildoing; war,
violence, genocide
- the poetics and aesthetics of sympathy
- society, sociability and the sympathetic bond
- the debate on compassion fatigue, or when the sight of suffering
becomes too familiar

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Sylvana Tomaselli, History and Social and Political Sciences, Cambridge
Dr Emma Mason, English, Warwick
Prof Tilottama Rajan, English, Western Ontario
Dr Ildiko Csengei, English, Cambridge
Dr Fay Bound Alberti, History, Queen Mary
Heather Tilley, English, Birkbeck
Dr Thomas Dixon, History, Queen Mary
Dr Paul White, History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge and University
Dr Carolyn Burdett, English, Birkbeck
Dr Loraine Gelsthorpe, Criminology, Cambridge
Prof Christopher Frith, Neuropsychology, UCL
Prof Keith Tester, Sociology, Hull
Prof Arne Johan Vetlesen, Philosophy, Oslo
Dr Margot Waddell, Psychoanalyst, Inst. of Psychoanalysis and Tavistock Clinic

Further information and to register:

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Received on Wed Feb 04 2009 - 17:41:58 EST