Empathy Across Borders

Wars have been a prominent feature throughout history. From the Crusades to the World Wars to the conflict in the Middle East, war has seemingly happened nonstop through our past, present, and future. Different cultures have constantly fought and different borders have constantly been disputed. Why is this? The scholarly sources I have picked delve into the effects and relationship of empathy with war, race, culture, religion, and ethnicity. I specifically would like to look at past events of war but also at the modern day example of the middle east. The conflict in the middle east is very much based in religion. I would like to examine how a lack of empathy for people of a different race, culture, religion, and ethnicity lack empathy for each other. The fact that so many conflicts are over these, that so many people are willing to kill each other over these, there must be a lack of empathy. This topic is very relevant to this class. In class we discussed what empathy was and the effects of empathy on different parts of society. Specifically, we often looked at the effects of empathy on race. Empathizing across borders would sometimes require empathizing with different races. Our class showed that this is often difficult to do. A great example of this was Atticus Finch in Go Set a Watchman (this is not in my works cited because I most likely will not use it in my research paper). This obviously was not across a physical border, though I will investigate if the same applies across physical borders in the real world.

Can people empathize across borders? Whether these borders are borders of race, culture, religion, or ethnicity is empathy possible? These are introductory questions I would like to explore. My critical question is “Is this lack of empathy what leads to war?” I hope to find more sources and examples to back up my thesis that this lack of empathy across borders is what leads to conflict and war.

Potential Scholarly Sources:

Casebeer, William D. “Identity, Culture and Stories: Empathy and the War on Terrorism.” Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 9.2 (2008): 653. Web.

Chiao, Joan Y., and Vani A. Mathur. “Intergroup Empathy: How does Race Affect Empathic Neural Responses?” Current Biology 20.11 (2010): R478-80. Web.

Chung, Rita Chi‐Ying, and Fred Bemak. “The Relationship of Culture and Empathy in Cross‐Cultural Counseling.” Journal of Counseling & Development 80.2 (2002): 154-9. Web.

Hoffman, Martin L. “Empathy, Justice, and the Law.” Empathy: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives. Ed. Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie. Oxford, UK: Oxford UP, 2011. 230-54. Print.

Neumann, DL, GJ Boyle, and RCK Chan. “Empathy Towards Individuals of the Same and Different Ethnicity when Depicted in Negative and Positive Contexts.” Personality and Individual Differences 55.1 (2013): 8-13. Web.

Stover, William James. “Teaching and Learning Empathy: An Interactive, Online Diplomatic Simulation of Middle East Conflict.” Journal of Political Science Education 1.2 (2005): 207-19. Web.

31 thoughts on “Empathy Across Borders

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