ELIT Seminar: “Gendered Virtues, but without the Gender: On Empathy, Shame, and Attachment Care”, Patrick Colm Hogan, 5:30PM May 23 2024 (EN)

You are cordially invited to this talk hosted by the Department of English Language and Literature.

Date: Thursday, 23 May 2024
Time: 17:30-19:00

This is an online seminar. To obtain event details please send a message to department.

Title: “Gendered Virtues, but without the Gender: On Empathy, Shame, and Attachment Care”.

Abstract: Virtues are often imagined to vary with the agent’s sex, as when, for example, physical bravery is viewed as part of a male gender ideal and empathic nurturance is viewed as part of a female gender ideal. In earlier work (such as Sexual Identities: A Cognitive Literary Study), I have joined a range of writers criticizing this differential mapping of virtue onto sex. In this essay, I wish to consider the degree to which such an aggregation of virtues into two classes is psychologically and/or ethically plausible independent of the sexual identities (or gender identifications) of the agents. If this aggregation does make psychological and ethical sense, the question still arises as to how it comes to be gendered and what consequences that gendering has. To explore these issues, I take up not only affective and cognitive science, but literature and film as well. Specifically, I turn to Rabindranath Tagore’s short story, “Housewife,” and Fatih Akin’s film, Aus dem Nichts, as I believe these works provide insight into virtue and gender, particularly by connecting ethics with emotion systems, prominently empathy, shame, and attachment care.

Biographical note: Patrick Colm Hogan is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of English and Cognitive Science at the University of Connecticut. He is a leading scholar of cognitive approaches to literature and the arts.