Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-6356-7 • Hardback • July 2016 • $122.00 • (£94.00)
978-1-4422-6357-4 • Paperback • July 2016 • $59.00 • (£45.00)
978-1-4422-6358-1 • eBook • July 2016 • $53.00 • (£41.00)
Elif M. Gokcigdem, Ph.D. is a historian of Islamic art and a museums scholar with a doctorate in History of Art from Istanbul Technical University, and a graduate certification from The George Washington University’s Museum Studies program. A native of Istanbul, her academic studies focused on the symbolism of geometric patterns and figural imagery in medieval Islamic art. She received the Turkish Education Foundation scholarship to conduct her graduate museum studies at GWU. Later, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer and Sackler Galleries as a curatorial research assistant in the Islamic Arts department, and held advisory roles as a member of the American Alliance of Museum (AAM)’s National Program Advisory Committee, and The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum’s Advisory Council.
(Reviewed jointly with Interpreting Difficult History at Museums and Historic Sites)
Both books contribute to the dialogue on museums as social agents, and both address the importance of personalizing exhibitions by telling stories. They deepen the growing dialogue on the role of emotions aroused by exhibitions. As institutions increasingly present controversial issues, they need strategies for approaching anger and resistance…. Gokcigdem and her contributors also tie empathy to museum pedagogy, but they stress that teaching empathy is worthwhile in itself, because empathy offers much more than a way to work through conflict. The authors in her collection perceive empathy as a broader social value that will deepen understanding among individuals. Together, these books will be of use to museum educators, curators, and others as they strive to offer experiences in which members of the public engage with contested histories…. [B]ooks like Rose’s and Gokcigdem’s offer pathways toward a deeper consideration of the issues involved.
— Museum & Society
The book, which would be applicable for museum curators or archivists working in a museum setting, is composed of fifteen essays describing how a variety of institutions promote empathy in their exhibitions and programming.... The volume contains examples of fostering empathy in children's, art, history, and science museums. Many chapters are in the show-and-tell, 'this is how we did it,' mode - from interactive science exhibits to art therapists encouraging artistic creativity and discussion in highly structured programs - while others are more philosophical and explore the psychology of empathy, elucidating the differences between perspective taking, empathy, and sympathy. I found something useful in nearly every chapter.
— NEA Newsletter
These essays in Fostering Empathy Through Museums can help museums explore how to amplify their role in fostering empathy, through empathy, tolerance, and through tolerance a more just and equitable world.
— Elizabeth Merritt, Vice President, Strategic Foresight and Founding Director, Center for the Future of Museums