Public Engagement

General Public

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

Monday, November 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall 55 West 13th Street, Room I-202, New York, NY 10011

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.

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


Humanity, Society, Social Justice, Performing Arts, Education and Learning, Intellectual Culture and Big Ideas, Creativity and Innovation


College of Performing Arts, Mannes School of Music


Philosophy, Sociology, Social Sciences, Social Justice


Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served

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By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.