Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Michael Berman

Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities in the Department of Anthropology and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Project "Heart of a Heartless World: Alienation, Compassion, and Listening in the Making of Secularist Japan"
Last updated June 29, 2022

Biography

Michael Berman is Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities in Language and Health in the Department of Anthropology and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities. His research focuses on how different forms of care and listening constitute modes of governance. His first book manuscript, “Heart of a Heartless World: Alienation, Compassion, and Listening in the Making of Secularist Japan,” follows religious professionals in Japan in their efforts to ameliorate suffering. It argues that the political transformation of compassion into altruism has strengthened the category of religion while vitiating the traditions comprised by that very category. His second project, tentatively titled “Bad Vibrations: Listening, Care, and National Defense,” draws attention to ways that governance and care intersect in prisons, cities, and borders. More specifically, it considers how the nation-state is formed in acts of listening for signs of trauma, aggression, and violence.