Dr. Björn Krondorfer

Unsettling Empathy: Working through Historical and Cultural Trauma


The concept of “unsettling empathy” allows for the inclusion of both a critical perspective on power asymmetries as well as compassion with the Other in light of historical trauma. It describes a posture that blends the critical/political with the affective/interpersonal dimension of reconciliation and memory work. Examples from Krondorfer’s intercultural conflict work will illustrate this concept.
Björn Krondorfer completed his Ph.D. in (Comparative) Religious Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia. He came to the United States in 1983 from his native Germany after pursuing studies in theology at the universities of Frankfurt and Göttingen. Before joining NAU in the fall of 2012, he taught for twenty years in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the public Honors College of the State of Maryland. In 2007-08, he was guest professor at the Institute of Theology and the History of Religion at the Freie University Berlin, Germany; he also holds a visiting position as Faculty Affiliate at the University of the Free State, South Africa (2012-13).

His fields of expertise are religion, gender and culture, (post) Holocaust studies, reconciliation studies, and Western Religious Thought. His publications helped to define the field of Critical Men’s Studies in Religions, and he currently explores the connections between memory, restorative justice, and social/moral repair.

Nationally and internationally he facilitates intercultural encounters, most recently in Israel/Palestine, South Korea, Europe, and South Africa. He serves on the editorial and advisory boards of several journals and is a member of the Christian Scholars Group on Jewish Christian Relations. He offers workshops on bibliodrama, hagiodrama and sutradrama, and has collaborated with visual artist Karen Baldner on print, book art and installations since 2003.
Website: http://nau.edu/martin-springer and http://nau.edu/CAL/CCS/Faculty-and-Staff/Krondorfer/
YouTube: http://youtu.be/UOTE9FzU2Og
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