Theme: Rethinking empathy through books and reading
This year’s GrillandRead Event takes a deep-dive into empathy. Readers are said to be able to develop empathy through reading widely. How can books help readers understand and share the feelings of others even when they don’t agree with them? What books do you need to read at this time to make you more empathetic? What postmodernist cultures make it more difficult to show empathy?
The symposium is styled like a book with different chapters. Each chapter is written by a different author but is tied together by the main theme.
Each chapter requires 15 minutes of listening. And then at the end of the one-hour symposium (each speaker introduces the next), there will be a 30-minute panel styled interaction with the audience where questions will be entertained.
For the purposes of this event, empathy is defined as the ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.
Chapter One: What Can History Teach us About Political Empathy.
Long before we got the internet, and people started talking about empathy, Nigeria had a history. What does Nigeria’s political history teach us about empathy from the rulers and how has this affected his the citizenry express empathy.
Chapter Two: Profiting from the Empathy Trade.
With the arrival of social media and the influence it exerts, more people are talking about how empathy will help bring about equity in the business and on sociopolitical life. Is this working? Can it work?
Chapter Three: Shut up for Empathy Sake!
People are refusing to talk about how they feel about moral issues that inspire outrage. Does empathy mean not sharing views that other people may find offensive? Is the cancel/de-platforming culture creating echo chambers?
Chapter Four: Reading the Room vs Reading a Book!
A popular expression people use is “read the room.” Does reading the room always produce the best results? How has signalling virtue made people less empathetic? How can reading books make people more empathetic?
Panel discussion: Do we need to relearn empathy?
Each speaker set the stage with a one minute take on how they think the subset of society they discussed can relearn empathy.
The event also features book recommendations and a special feature tagged “Bet You Can Read” designed for people who are determined to read more books in the last quarter of 2020 and beyond.