Public invited to lecture on empathy across generations

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Students and members of the public are invited to a free lecture, “FaceAge: Empathy Rising Across Generations,” on Wednesday, February 14, at 5:30 p.m. in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The lecture will be given by Andrew Belser, the 2017-18 Penn State Laureate and professor of movement, voice and acting in the School of Theatre, and director of the Art and Design Research Incubator (ADRI).

Belser is the producer/director of FaceAge, a multimedia installation and documentary film, exploring issues of identity, gender, sexuality and ethnicity through the lens of aging. FaceAge connects young adults with aging individuals to reflect on life while studying and describing one another’s faces.

The lecture is part of a new course being offered by the College of the Liberal Arts this semester. The one-credit course, LA 297 Everyday Diplomacy: Global Encounters at Home, includes a variety of guests from Penn State who also address the issue of empathy and reaching out to others.

In the course, students are exploring how self-perceptions and perceptions of others can facilitate or complicate meaningful encounters and productive cooperation among diverse peoples, and how barriers of difference might be mitigated in such a way that differences can be perceived as a source of interest, richness, and new perspectives.

The course is taught by Catherine Wanner, professor of history, anthropology, and religious studies, and Shannon Telenko, co-chair of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CORED) and an academic adviser for the College of the Liberal Arts.

The FaceAge project was a natural fit with the objective of the course, so Wanner invited Belser to be a guest speaker. As Barry Director of the Paterno Fellows Program in the College of the Liberal Arts, Wanner arranged for Belser’s presentation to be open to all as a public lecture.

"We're trying to help the students understand forms of identity and how to connect with people whom we perceive to be different from us in some way,” said Telenko. “So far we've touched on religion, race, and class difference. Age is another important component of one's identity."

All are invited to stay for a reception in the Mann Assembly Room immediately following the presentation.

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Last Updated February 19, 2018