Book: Pedagogies for the Post-Anthropocene by Esther Priyadharshini
This book draws on posthumanist critique and post qualitative approaches to research to examine the pedagogies offered by imaginaries of the future. Starting with the question of how education can be a process for imagining and desiring better futures that can shorten the Anthropocene, it speaks to concerns that are relevant to the fields of education, youth and futures studies. This book explores lessons from the imaginaries of apocalypse, revolution and utopia, drawing on research from youth(ful) perspectives in a context when the narrative of ‘youth despair’ about the future is becoming persistent. It investigates how the imaginary of 'Apocalypse' acts as a frame of intelligibility, a way of making sense of the monstrosities of the present and also instigates desires to act in different ways. Studying the School Climate Strikes of 2019 as 'Revolution' moves us away from the teleologies of capitalist consumption and endless growth to newer aesthetics. The strikes function as a public pedagogy that creates new publics that include life beyond the human. Finally, the book explores how the Utopias of Afrofuturist fiction provides us with a kind of 'investable' utopia because the starting point is in racial, economic and ecological injustice. If the Apocalypse teaches us to recognize what needs to go, and Revolution accepts that living with ‘less than’ is necessary, then this kind of Utopia shows us how becoming ‘more than’ human may be the future.
“It would be easy to despair about the purpose of education in these times. Pedagogies of the Post-anthropocene offers instead a strong case for its continued relevance. Through three imaginaries: Apocalypse, Revolution, and Utopia Esther Priyadharshini declares that worrying about the future is not enough; students need strategies and skills for a future of different politics and rights. Using empirical research and case study projects into speculative narratives across the three imaginaries, Priyadharshini offers workable ideas for using pedagogies of possibility by teachers committed to preparing students for the futures young people imagine and desire.” — Associate Professor Linda Knight, Director, Mapping Future Imaginaries research network, RMIT University, Australia
“In this clearly written and engaging book, Priyadharshini draws our attention to the work of images of apocalypse, revolution and utopia in young people’s thinking and to the challenges and resources that these offer to education. It is a timely and compelling account that merits close reading by anyone interested in the relationship between education and the challenging futures we are facing today. Both theoretically robust and empirically grounded, weaving together young people’s voices, current affairs and literature, the book also opens up lines of inquiry and practice for teaching. Highly recommended.” — Keri Facer, Professor of Educational & Social Futures, University of Bristol.