Rebeccah Nelems: The Good (Empathic) Citizen: A Participatory Study of Youth and Empathy in Canada

She is examining how Canadian youth experience empathy and how empathy affects young people’s conception of responsible citizenship, civic engagement, and social interactions.

With the generous support of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), Rebeccah Nelems is pursuing a doctorate in sociology with a designation in cultural, social and political thought at the University of Victoria.

By conducting participatory research with a cross-section of Canadian youth and critically examining conceptions of empathy enacted in the Canadian education sector, Rebeccah’s doctoral research addresses the rising prominence of empathy as a social good and the relationship of empathy to evolving conceptions of responsibility and citizenship in Canada. Her work on empathy extends beyond Canada’s borders, as she is co-editor and contributor to Exploring Empathy, an international, interdisciplinary publication that will be published in the winter of 2015-2016 and is an outcome of Rebeccah’s participation in the First Global Conference on Empathy in Prague in 2014. Rebeccah continues to be actively engaged in the local and international children’s rights sector on issues of child/youth accountability and the promotion of youth voices.