Public Programs And Events

Empathy & Action: A Subjective Discussion of Simone Weil’s Legacy

Empathy & Action: A Subjective Discussion of Simone Weil’s Legacy

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall
General Public 

In an age where worldwide suffering is more visible than ever in human history, we are all inclined to feel empathy on a daily basis. But does that mean that we are able to spin this emotion into effective action? Can empathy trigger, fuel, even inform such action, or may it actually hinder it? These are a few of the questions we are inspired to ask ourselves by the life and commitment of philosopher and activist Simone Weil (1909-1943), who devoted her short existence to both raising awareness through empathy and engaging in transformative action on all scales, from individual to social and political.

The upcoming performance of Kaija Saariaho’s oratorio La Passion de Simonefeaturing Mannes students, artists of the French collective La Chambre aux échos and the International Contemporary Ensemble, marks the perfect occasion to discuss these themes through the scope of art and other topical and living ramifications, along with four engaging scholars from contrasting backgrounds who have all been strongly influenced by Weil’s body of work.

Panelists include:

Kaija Saariaho, composer of La Passion de Simone

Lisabeth During, Associate Professor at the Pratt Institute 

Mark Larrimore, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts

James Miller, Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research and special advisor to Provost

Otto von Busch, Associate Professor of Integrated Design at Parsons School of Design

Moderated by Aleksi Barrière, Stage director of La Passion de Simone, Researcher, Co-artistic director of La Chambre aux échos


Sponsored by Mannes School of Music.

Submit your application


To apply to any of our Bachelor's programs (Except the Bachelor's Program for Adult Transfer Students) complete and submit the Common App online.

Graduates and Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctural, Professional Studies Diploma, Graduates Certificate, or Associate's programs, or to apply to the Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students, complete and submit the New School Online Application.