Alison Landsberg Memory Empathy

374 Words2 Pages
Memory, Empathy, and the Politics of Identification, an essay written by Alison Landsberg explores the idea that cinema is able to influence people politically by means of empathy. The text was written about seven years ago in 2009 authorizing the recentness of the essay, which is how she is able to span from “the birth of cinema” to modern cinematic pieces popular today. She is a historian which can prove problematic for literary studies, but she has been published multiple times for articles and taught classes about topics similar to the ones presented here showing the dedication and research that has been put into this specific piece. The argument provided was clearly stated on the second page with, “I will argue that cinematic technology, by which I mean also…show more content…
By doing this, the essay was very easy to follow and I was able to understand her viewpoint. She legitimized her views by bringing up the ideas of Martha Nussbaum (ethical thinking), Michael Taussig (anthropologist who defines mimesis), Walter Benjamin (observed properties of mimetic faculty), and others that validate her points. It was very helpful that she spent a few paragraphs describing her terminology in the ways that she’s utilizing the words, specifically “prosthetic memories,” empathy, and sympathy. Contrastingly to this, I felt like too much time was devoted to these explanations when the explanations were very straightforward and didn’t need to be so detailed. There is also a point of digression in how much time was spent detailing The Pianist. I felt like that was a good example of proving empathy and how it was achieved via cinematography, but I also felt like that point would have been proven better with multiple quality examples rather than one detailed for multiple pages. Despite this, though, the original argument still stands until the last sentence of the
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