© 2019

An Education in 'Evil'

Implications for Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Beyond


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures book series (PSEF)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 1-17
  3. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 19-35
  4. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 37-61
  5. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 83-106
  6. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 107-123
  7. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 125-143
  8. Cathryn van Kessel
    Pages 145-149
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 151-155

About this book


This book asserts that engaging with divergent understandings about the nature of evil and how it functions can help those interested in education think through issues in curriculum, pedagogy, and beyond. The author provokes thinking about and through the concept of evil in the spirit of thoughtful education (as opposed to thoughtless schooling) toward how we might live together in less harmful ways. Although thinking about evil can be uncomfortable and troubling, such inquiries help us explore what sort of relations we want to have with others. Analyzing our role in evil as humans, as well as our responsibilities to counter the processes of evil present in our everyday lives, opens up a potential to foster radical thought in and out of the classroom.


thoughtful education responsibility in the classroom educational agency citizenship education evil and media literacy symbolic evil and schooling

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

About the authors

Cathryn van Kessel is Assistant Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at the University of Alberta, Canada. As a researcher, a former secondary school teacher, and a current educator of pre-service teachers, her work seeks to blend educational theory and practice in provoking ways, particularly in relation to philosophy and social psychology.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title An Education in 'Evil'
  • Book Subtitle Implications for Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Beyond
  • Authors Cathryn van Kessel
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education Education (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-16604-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-16607-6
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-16605-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 155
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Curriculum Studies
    Educational Philosophy
    Sociology of Education
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This book is a great choice for anyone looking for a new way to think about ethical dilemmas and hard conversations as they exist in the classroom and in schooling more generally. … This book is a forceful read that adds a new perspective to educational theory and practice.” (Victoria Davis Smith, Theory & Research in Social Education, January 22, 2020)

“A unique and valuable apparatus that can help educators and students reconceptualize evil as being a perpetually developing and creative force. … elementary school educators could benefit from the identification of theories and concepts that could serve as starting points for discussion with younger students.” (Bretton A. Varga, The Journal of Social Studies Research, Vol. 43 (4), October, 2019)