Abstract 3-Volume 8-Number 1, Spring 2013

An Updated Theoretical and Practical Model for Promoting Historical Empathy

Jason Endacott

University of Arkansas

Sarah Brooks

Elmhurst College


Over the past two decades significant attention has been given to the topic of historical empathy, yet the manner in which historical empathy is currently defined, operationalized, and put into classroom practice lacks consistency and often is based on dated conceptualizations of the construct. Scholars have employed a variety of theoretical and practical approaches to utilizing historical empathy with students, leading to persistent confusion about the nature, purpose and fostering of historical empathy. Our goal is to present an updated conceptualization that clearly defines historical empathy as a dual-dimensional, cognitive-affective construct and differentiates historical empathy from exclusively cognitive or affective modes of historical inquiry. We further provide an updated instructional model for the promotion of historical empathy that includes consideration for historical empathy’s proximate and ultimate goals. We aim to highlight where research has produced some consensus on best practice for promoting empathy and where further study is needed.

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