School of Social and Political Science

Mihaela Mihai

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Political Theory

Research interests

Research interests

Critical social and political theory, Political emotions, Political memory and historical injustice, Arts and politics, Architecture and political theory, Comparative constitutionalism, Gender, Theories of democracy

My research interests cut across political theory, political science and cultural studies. More precisely, I am interested in political emotions, political judgment, the politics of memory, art and politics, gender, and theories of oppression.

Before coming to Edinburgh, I was appointed as the 50th Anniversary Lecturer in Politics at the University of York.  Previously, I spent one year as a researcher at the Centre for Research in Ethics at the University of Montreal, Canada and two years at the Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal. I held visiting positions at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University and the Philosophy Department at Sydney University.

Between 2015-2020, I ran a European Research Council Starting Grant: Illuminating the 'Grey Zone': Addressing Complex Complicity in Human Rights Violations. I am currently PI of an AHRC Interdisciplinary Network for the Study of Environmental Emotions.

Topics interested in supervising

I work in contemporary political theory. I am particularly interested in supervising students working on topics related to critical theory, democratic theory, theories of oppression, political emotions, political memory, art and politics, gender, transitional justice and historical injustice.

If you are interested in being supervised by Mihaela Mihai, please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:



  • 2010 PhD, the University of Toronto, Toronto (Canada).
  • 2004 MA, University of Manchester, Manchester (United Kingdom).


  • 2022 Monograph Political Memory and the Aesthetics of Care. The Art of Complicity and Resistance.  Stanford University Press, Series: Cultural Memory in the Present. Book page.
  • 2016 Monograph Negative Emotions and Transitional Justice.  Columbia University Press. Book page.
Edited books
  • 2020 Co-edited book (with Mathias Thaler), Political Violence and the Imagination: Complicity, Memory and Resistance (Routledge NY). Book page.
  • 2015 Co-edited book (with Albena Azmanova): Reclaiming Democracy: Judgment, Responsibility and the Right to Politics. Routledge NY. Series: Advances in Democratic Theory. Book page.
  • 2014 Co-edited book (with Mathias Thaler). Title: On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies. Palgrave. Series: Rhetoric, Politics and Society. Book page.
Blind peer-reviewed articles
  • 2023 (with M. Thaler) "Environmental Commemoration: Guiding Principles and Real-World Cases." Forthcoming in Memory Studies.
  • 2021 "Foundational Moments, Representative Claims and the Ecology of Social Ignorance."  Political Studies. Online first,
  • 2020 "The Hero’s Silences: Vulnerability, Complicity, Ambivalence", Critical Review of Social and Political Philosophy. Online first:
  • 2019 Engaging Vulnerabilities: An Outline for a Responsive and Responsible Theory. Online first in Journal of Social Philosophy, Special issue Understanding Solidarity with Refugees.
  • 2019 "The ‘Affairs’ of Political Memory: Hermeneutical Dissidence from National Myth-Making", Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, Volume 24,  Issue 4: Institutional Transformations: Imagination, Embodiment, and Affect, 2019, Pages 52-69,
  • 2019 "The Caring Refusenik: A Portrait" forthcoming in Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory,  Volume 26, Issue 1. March 2019, Pages 148-162,
  • 2018 "Architectural Transitional Justice? Political Renewal within the Scars of a Violent Past" International Journal of Transitional Justice,  Volume 12, Issue 3, November 2018, Pages 515–536,
  • 2018 "Understanding complicity: Memory, hope and the imagination" online first in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy,
  • 2017 "Epistemic Marginalisation and the Seductive Power of Art", online first in Contemporary Political Theory, November 2018, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 395–416,
  • 2016 "Theorizing Change: Between Reflective Judgment and the Inertia of Political Habitus", European Journal of Political Theory (15):1, pp. 22-42.
  • 2014  “Denouncing Historical ‘Misfortunes’: From Passive Injustice to Reflective Spectatorship,” Political Theory 42, pp. 443–467.
  • 2014 “Theorizing Agonistic Emotions,” Parallax 20(2), pp. 31–48.
  • 2013 “When the State Says ‘Sorry’: State Apologies as Exemplary Political Judgments,” Journal of Political Philosophy 21(2), pp. 200–220.
  • 2011 “Socialising Negative Emotions: Transitional Criminal Trials in the Service of Democracy,” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 31(1), pp. 111–131.
  • 2011 “Emotions and Criminal Law,” Philosophy Compass, 6(9), pp. 599–610.
  • 2010 “Transitional Justice and the Quest for Democracy: A Contribution to a Political Theory of Democratic Transformations,” Ratio Juris. An International Journal in Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law 23(2), pp. 183–204.
  • 2010 “Public Negative Emotions and the Judicial Review of Transitional Justice Bills: Lessons from Three Contexts,” Papeles del Centro de Estudios sobre la Identidad Colectiva 60, pp. 1–29.
  • 2010 “Julgamentos penais em períodos de transição e o desafio das emoções: histórias de dois países” (“Criminal Trials in Periods of Transition and the Challenge of Emotions: Stories from Two Countries”) Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais 88, pp. 155–184.
Special issues
  • 2021 Special issue Law, Culture and the Humanities: “Violent Complicities beyond the Legal Imagination: Exploring the Epistemic and Political Power of Art.” Co-edited with Maša Mrovlje. Intro online first:
  • 2019 Special Issue co-edited (with M. Thaler),  "Violence and the Imagination: The Politics of Narrative and Representation", Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 22, Issue 5, (2019). Co-authored the Introduction to the Special Issue.
  • 2017 Critical Exchange (with M. Thaler and V. Paipais)  in Contemporary Political Theory. Title: "Ontology, Critique and Democracy"
  • 2013 Co-editor and author of the Introduction to the special number of e-cadernos 16: "The Xenophobic Manipulation of Women's Rights". Web:
Encyclopaedia entry
Book chapters
  • 2020 “The Architecture of Political Renewal” in Duncan Bell and Bernardo Zacka, Political Theory and Architecture, London: Bloomsbury.
  • 2018 "From Hate to Political Solidarity: The Art of Responsibility" in Thomas Brudholm and Birgitte Schepelern Johansen, Hate, Politics, Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2015 "Introduction" (with Albena Azamanova) in Albena Azmanova and Mihaela Mihai, Reclaiming Democracy: Judgment, Responsibility and the Right to Politics (Routledge).
  • 2014  “Democratic ‘Sacred Spaces’: Public Architecture and Transitional Justice,” in Nir Eisikovitz, Claudio Corradetti and Jack Volpe Rotondi (eds.), Theorizing Transitional Justice (Ashgate).
  • 2014  "Introduction" (with Mathias Thaler) in Mihaela Mihai and Mathias Thaler (eds.), On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies. Palgrave.