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Download Constructing the Enemy: Empathy Antipathy in U.S. Literature by Rajini Srikanth PDF

By Rajini Srikanth

In her attractive ebook, developing the Enemy, Rajini Srikanth probes the idea that of empathy, trying to comprehend its differing kinds and the way it isoor isn'togenerated and maintained in particular situations. utilizing literary texts to light up problems with strength and discussions of legislation, Srikanth specializes in case studiesothe internment of jap electorate and jap americans in global warfare II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the detainment of Muslim american citizens and members from quite a few countries within the U.S. felony at Guantanamo Bay. via basic records and interviews that exhibit why and the way attorneys get entangled in protecting those that were specified "enemies," Srikanth explores the advanced stipulations below which engaged citizenship emerges. developing the Enemy probes the seductive promise of criminal discourse and analyzes the emergence and manifestation of empathy in attorneys and different involved electorate and the broader outcomes of this empathy at the associations that control our lives.

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Extra info for Constructing the Enemy: Empathy Antipathy in U.S. Literature and Law

Sample text

Aeschylus’s Oresteia, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Albert Camus’s The Stranger, Franz Kafka’s The Trial, Richard Wright’s Native Son, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Nadine Gordimer’s House Gun); (2) the deployment of rhetoric in both the construction of a literary world and the construction of a legal argument; and (3) the parallels between literary interpretation and adjudication—for instance, between literary interpretation that focuses closely on the text (formalist and structuralist approaches, for example) and adjudication that turns to precedent and established legal rules in preference to contextual and social/economic considerations (the distinction that Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado explain in their book How Lawyers Lose Their Way).

Interventions could be local, state-level, or national. They could be individual or collective; they could be artistic or pedagogical, material or symbolic. To be engaged in some way to keep the situation of the detainees in the forefront of the national consciousness is an act of necessary empathy. The range of possible and useful responses grows out of a spectrum of types of empathy. I place the empathetic reactions that I discuss in this book into three broad categories: compassionate, strategic, and ethical—and these arise under different circumstances and produce different results.

Empathy, therefore, does not require that we ignore the unbridgeable differences among those who hold disparate visions of humanity. At a minimum, empathy is the willingness to concede that some other person’s or group’s priorities require attention. Consider this vignette from Amitav Ghosh’s memoir In an Antique Land (1992). Ghosh, an Indian of Hindu background, is spending a few months in an Egyptian village during the 1980s. He has been welcomed warmly by the inhabitants and accepted with affection into their homes.

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