Epistemic reparations and postcolonial pedagogy

Kai Horsthemke

The latest buzz word within the intersecting terrain of postcolonial pedagogy and social and applied epistemology seems to be the notion of ‘reparation’ – or, to be more precise, reparation pertaining to past and ongoing epistemic injustice and harm. Reparations are frequently taken to involve decolonisation of both education and knowledge. The present contribution examines the plausibility and applicability of the notions in question.

‘Reparation’ is an appropriate response to what has gone wrong in the past. Appropriate – but not invariably so. Some wrongs are so immense that they are, indeed, beyond reparation. The idea is to repair, to ‘right’ loss, theft, damage, harm, or injustice that have been inflicted – whether deliberately or nondeliberately, accidentally or nonaccidentally. A prime example is material reparation – financial compensation for damage, loss or theft that has been incurred; the return or replacement of stolen goods and artifacts; (re)instatement of educational, economic, medical and other benefits withheld or withdrawn in the past, etc. Another example is symbolic reparation – commemoration, public apology, and the like. In recent years, a novel notion has been added to the string of concepts populating the intersecting terrain of postcolonial theory and social and applied epistemology – that of ‘epistemic reparation’, reparation pertaining to both past and ongoing epistemic injustice, harm and violence.

Democratic Education as a Matter of Civility: Retrieving Arendt’s Institutionalism via Balibar

Ivan Zamotkin, University of Oulu

A prominent interpretation of Hannah Arendt’s educational philosophy links it to the theories of radical democracy and radical democratic education. In this paper, I examine this perspective by referencing Gert Biesta’s work, which amends Arendt’s ideas with insights from Jacques Rancière and propose an alternative construction of what can be considered ‘an Arendtian perspective on democratic education’, in which the role of institutions is redeemed, and the primary concern shifts from the political agency of individuals to the conditions that allow the space of politics to be constituted and preserved. With this aim, I will offer to substitute Rancièrian optics through which Arendt’s work has been often analyzed in the philosophy of education with one coming from another French philosopher, Étienne Balibar. The discussion includes analysis of Marius von Mayenburg’s play ‘Martyr’ (2015) to illustrate the importance of thinking about education, especially democratic education, as a matter of civility.