Political Depression, Cruel Optimism and Pedagogies of Reparation

  • Michalinos Zembylas
  • André Keet
Part of the Contemporary Philosophies and Theories in Education book series (COPT, volume 13)


This chapter argues that there is an urgent need to engage with a deeper analysis of the contemporary culture of ‘political depression’ and its affective implications in HRE. In particular, this chapter focuses on the following questions: How might a theorisation of political depression be relevant to efforts that aim to renew criticality in HRE? In which ways can a ‘critical’ HRE turn our attention to important ethical, political and affective questions on human rights? Can the negativity of political depression become a site for HRE pedagogies that are ‘reparative’? This chapter makes an attempt to articulate some of the content and strategies of pedagogies of reparation and their significance in formulating CHRE. Reparative pedagogies invite in the classroom the challenge of how students can learn from unimaginable traumatic histories, while acknowledging the affective politics of histories of violence, oppression, and social injustice, without falling into the trap of sentimentality, but rather engaging in social justice-oriented action and activism


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michalinos Zembylas
    • 1
  • André Keet
    • 2
  1. 1.Open University of CyprusLatsiaCyprus
  2. 2.Nelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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