Book Talk | The Empathy Diaries
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NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to a book talk for The Empathy Diaries, featuring the author Sherry Turkle in conversation with Marita Sturkin and Carol Gilligan.
For decades, Sherry Turkle has shown how we remake ourselves in the mirror of our machines. Here, she illuminates our present search for authentic connection in a time of uncharted challenges. Turkle has spent a career composing an intimate ethnography of our digital world; now, marked by insight, humility, and compassion, we have her own.
In this vivid and poignant narrative, Turkle ties together her coming-of-age and her pathbreaking research on technology, empathy, and ethics. Growing up in postwar Brooklyn,Turkle searched for clues to her identity in a house filled with mysteries. She mastered the codes that governed her mother’s secretive life. She learned never to ask about her absent scientist father–and never to use his name, her name. Before empathy became a way to find connection, it was her strategy for survival.
Turkle’s intellect and curiosity brought her to worlds on the threshold of change. She learned friendship at a Harvard-Radcliffe on the cusp of coeducation during the antiwar movement, she mourned the loss of her mother in Paris as students returned from the 1968 barricades, and she followed her ambition while fighting for her place as a woman and a humanist at MIT. There, Turkle found turbulent love and chronicled the wonders of the new computer culture, even as she warned of its threat to our most essential human connections. The Empathy Diaries captures all this in rich detail–and offers a master class in finding meaning through a life’s work.
Sherry Turkle is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT, and the founding director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Professor Turkle writes on the “subjective side” of people’s relationships with technology, especially computers. She is an expert on culture and therapy, mobile technology, social networking, and sociable robotics. Her newest book, The Empathy Diaries: A Memoir (Penguin Press, March 2021), ties together her personal story with her groundbreaking research on technology, empathy, and ethics. Her previous book, the New York Times bestseller, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age (Penguin Press, October 2015), investigates how a flight from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity.
Marita Sturken is Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is the author of Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering (1997), Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (with Lisa Cartwright, third edition 2018), and Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism From Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (2007). Her book Terrorism in American Memory: Memorials, Museums, and Architecture in the Post-9/11 Era will be published by New York University Press in January 2022.
Carol Gilligan is a writer, activist, University Professor at New York University, and the
author of In a Different Voice, the little book that started a revolution. In 1996, Time
magazine named her one of the 25 most influential Americans. Her other books include:
The Birth of Pleasure (2002), Kyra: A Novel (2008), Joining the Resistance (2011), and
most recently, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? (with Naomi Snider, 2018). A member of
the Harvard faculty for over thirty years, she held the university’s first chair in Gender
Studies. With her students at Harvard she published five books on women’s psychology
and girls’ development, including Meeting at the Crossroads (with Lyn Mikel Brown), a
New York Times notable book of the year. With her students at NYU, she initiated the
Radical Listening Project. She received the Heinz Award for her contributions to
understanding the human condition, a Grawemeyer award for her contributions to
education, and was a visiting Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at the
University of Cambridge.