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ERIC Number: EJ1006538
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0885-985X
The Borders of Historical Empathy: Students Encounter the Holocaust through Film
Metzger, Scott Alan
Journal of Social Studies Research, v36 n4 p387-410 Fall 2012
This case study explores potential educational tensions in historical empathy for learning about emotionally difficult topics through lessons that use dramatic feature films (movies). It investigates one case of historical empathy in the classroom by analyzing what a high-school teacher and her students do and talk about in class. The observed lesson was part of the teacher's unit on World War II and the Holocaust in a World History course using the 2002 Academy Award-winning film "The Pianist". The conclusion interprets this case as an example of how the visual and emotional power of movies may lead some students to "over-empathize" and feel that they can "really" know what a historical perspective must have been like. The "caring" aspect of historical empathy has the potential to overrun historical context and override other educational goals like learning and applying content knowledge. (Contains 2 figures.)
International Society for the Social Studies. University of Central Florida College of Education, Suite 123M P.O. Box 161250, Orlando, FL 32816. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A