Wednesday, 4 December 2019


ESRI Seminar Series 2019/20 - Modern/colonial hope and the limits of radical education imaginaries in the global North

Brooks Building Room 2.16

Sub-theme: Education and political uncertainty
Sarah Amsler, Associate Professor in Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham

Hope and hopelessness feature powerfully in the politics of educational futures across the world. The transformation of the ‘global education reform movement’ into globalised education orthodoxy; the empowerment of corporate-capitalist rationality in educational institutions; the repression of teachers, students and learning communities; and the exhaustion of bodies and spirits weary of epistemic injustices have all inspired projects to ‘reimagine’ education differently - both for the the twenty-first century and for the end of the world as we know it. Yet while alternative educational imaginaries and experiments have become part of a new edu-political landscape that gestures towards radical social change, their constitutive horizons of possibility (within modernity) often remain intact. Examining these modalities of possibility through a lens that centres the critique of educators’ entanglements in the modern/colonial educational project, I suggest that the persistence of ‘Western hope narratives’ limits possibilities for collectively imagining and practising education (for the) otherwise. As such, mobilising alternatives to modern/colonial hope with teachers, students and communities in global North spaces is necessary critical pedagogical work in contemporary movements to interrupt the destructive forces of the ‘global colonial power matrix’ in education and beyond.

Sarah Amsler is a US-born, UK-based educator who researches and teaches about the politics of knowledge, education and hope as dimensions of movements for epistemic, social and ecological justice. Her work involves theoretical and practical inquiries into affective and relational pedagogies of being and becoming otherwise; methods for working with expanded forms of reality that include absent and emergent possibilities; and the possibilities and limits of critical educational responses to political and environmental crisis. She is an Associate Professor in Education at the University of Nottingham and a member of the Women on the Verge and Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collectives. For more information, see

Event contact Sam Sellar ·