We don’t extend human rights to people we don’t see as fully human. So how do we develop empathy for those we view as alien or inhuman? One way is through literature, which takes us inside the lives and actions of others. By instilling empathy, and by giving voice to cries for justice, literature forms the foundation for human rights.
Professor Richard Middleton-Kaplan shares stories about human rights activists he has encountered throughout his academic career. What these activists endured was shocking, yet they found meaning and beauty in literature, and so can we.
In this talk, audiences will discuss literary works that illuminate how to respond to those around us who have suffered human rights violations, and those who have committed incomprehensible acts. These works can even help us to make sense of the wrongs that we ourselves have endured.
Richard Middleton-Kaplan (he/him) is the dean of arts and sciences at Walla Walla Community College. In 2011, Richard spent a sabbatical at the Centre for Applied Human Rights at University of York, helping to develop a course on literature and human rights. His publications include “Using Literature to Teach Peace” in Peace Research: The Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies.
Middleton-Kaplan lives in Walla Walla.
For more information on how to book a speaker, please contact Asia Lara at (206) 682-1770 x101 or by email.