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Deconstructing Militarism in Pakistani Textbooks

Muhammad Ayaz Naseem

This article examines the textual constitution of militarism and militaristic subjects in and by educational discourse in Pakistan. The article focuses on two subjects, namely social studies and Urdu, which are taught in the public school system of Pakistan. In order to examine the constitution of militaristic subjectivities, the author draws upon concepts of poststructuralist theory and critical discourse analysis. The author's main argument is that it is vital to first deconstruct the constructs of war from the minds of people in order for the constructs of peace to be instilled. There are many sites where such deconstruction needs to begin. One of the likely places for such an exercise is in textbooks, for these are sites in which war and violence are or can be constructed and instilled into the minds of future citizens. These are also natural sites for the construction of defenses of peace, for these spaces harbor agency to resist war and violence. This article examines textual and discursive data from Pakistan's educational discourse (mainly curricula and textbooks) to illustrate how war and militarism are constructed by these discourses via curricula and textbooks.

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Identity, Politics, and Nation-building in History Textbooks in Bangladesh

Shreya Ghosh

If nations are “imagined communities”, as many theorists like to define them, then they need an ideology to create a cohesive imagination. In modern times, the project of writing “history” has been an important instrument in the service of this ideological purpose of justifying and reproducing the modern nation-state as the predestined and legitimate container of collective consciousness. School textbooks, at least in South Asia, have long been among the most exploited media for the presentation of the history of the national collective. This essay is a study of school textbooks in Bangladesh. It looks at narrative representations of selected episodes from the past, both pre- and postindependence, in order to reflect on how they construct “history”. Through this work I endeavor to relate textual images to issues of community relations and identity by identifying and sharing the ways in which the audience for nationalist discourse is created, nurtured, and secured through symbolic means.

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Living in Harmony?

“Casteism”, Communalism, and Regionalism in Indian Social Science Textbooks

Basabi Khan Banerjee and Georg Stöber

Three societal lines of conflict, “casteism”, communalism, and regionalism, are regarded as severe challenges in present-day India. This article discusses and compares differences between presentations of these lines of conflict in six textbook series for social sciences prepared by the Indian states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, and by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in New Delhi. The variations in perspective, scope, and approach are related to changing educational approaches and to specific discourses of identity politics, which may be explained in terms of the impact of different positions adopted by states and the union towards the issues, and in terms of the discursive dominance of specific sociopolitical viewpoints.

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Textbooks, Identity Politics, and Lines of Conflict in South Asia

Muhammad Ayaz Naseem and Georg Stöber

The concept of identity has evolved from an essentialist notion of a dominant group (which largely disregards the existence of plural identities or “patchwork identities” and their contextuality)2 into a notion that recognizes the discursive and fluid constitution of identities that are “constantly in the process of change and transformation.”3 Beyond academic debate about definitions, identity remains a relevant category in politics and society. Identity politics mobilize followers and supporters and may foster nation building. They are seldom unchallenged, for different discourses of identity often struggle for supremacy.

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Where Are the Minorities?

The Elusiveness of Multiculturalism and Positive Recognition in Sri Lankan History Textbooks

Anne Gaul

This article analyzes the representation of Sri Lanka's communities in history textbooks that are currently in use. Even before the end of the war in 2009, the education system was recognized as an instrument with which the country's divided society could be rebuilt. The issues addressed in this article concern a period in which ambitious educational reforms are being implemented that envision textbooks as a tool for the creation of a new generation of citizens in a postwar society. It reveals that the general lack of recognition of minority communities, and the negative representations of the Tamil community in particular, that appear in these textbooks are not compatible with the proclaimed vision of a multicultural yet integrated society. Instead of fostering social cohesion, these textbooks may deepen ethnic divides and stereotypes, and therefore thwart reconciliation and long-term peace.

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Debating Migration in Textbooks and Classrooms in Austria

Christiane Hintermann, Christa Markom, Heidemarie Weinhäupl, and Sanda Üllen

This article examines how the topics of migration, cultural diversity, and discrimination are depicted in current Austrian school textbooks and how they are discussed and perceived by pupils of different age groups attending different types of schools. The discussion concentrates on three main issues: the representation of migration as problematic; the use, critical or otherwise, of specific terms; and whether the history of migration to and from Austria is represented and perceived as part of a common Austrian history. Alongside the findings of the textbook analysis, we show how the involvement of pupils in textbook and migration research can contribute to the production of scientific knowledge in this area.

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Decoding the Visual Grammar of Selected South African History Textbooks

Katalin Eszter Morgan

Since the 1990s researchers have explored the design features of instructional texts from a Vygotskian sociocultural perspective. This article draws on their work in order to formulate analytical questions. Selected examples from four South African eleventh grade history textbooks are analyzed in an attempt to understand how the application of design principles, or the lack thereof, affects the potential mediating function of the text for historical learning as a whole. The relationship between visual processing and analytical and affective thinking is introduced to the discussion. The article concludes by commenting on the sociocultural context of textbook production.

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The Holocaust in the Textbooks and in the History and Citizenship Education Program of Quebec

Sivane Hirsch and Marie McAndrew

This article analyzes the treatment of the Holocaust in Quebec's history textbooks, in view of the subject's potential and actual contribution to human rights education. Given that Quebec's curriculum includes citizenship education in its history program, it could be argued that the inclusion of the Holocaust has particular relevance in this context, as it contributes to the study of both history and civics, and familiarizes Quebec's youth with representations of Quebec's Jewish community, which is primarily concentrated in Montreal. This article demonstrates that the textbooks' treatment of the Holocaust is often superficial and partial, and prevents Quebec's students from fully grasping the impact of this historical event on contemporary society.

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Mobile Learning in History Education

Alexander König and Daniel Bernsen

Mobile devices enable pupils to decode edificial remains and symbols by spontaneously accessing additional information electronically. This article provides guidelines for mobile learning in history on the basis of mobility and enquiry- and design-based learning. The authors explore ways in which pupils may use their mobile devices to create innovative forms of collaboratively generated products like digital stories or geocaches. By drawing on social networks in order to promote discussion and publications, such products entail social participation and commitment. Mobile history learning also helps pupils to understand public debates about history, memory, and identity.

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Representing Australia's Involvement in the First World War

Discrepancies between Public Discourses and School History Textbooks from 1916 to 1936

Heather Sharp

This article investigates discrepancies between narratives of national independence in public discourses surrounding the First World War and narratives of loyalty in school textbooks in Queensland, Australia. Five textbooks commonly used in schools from 1916 to 1936 are analyzed in order to ascertain how the First World War was represented to pupils via the history curriculum. This article argues that, although public discourses were in a state of flux, and often viewed Australia as a country that was becoming increasingly independent of its colonial ruler Great Britain, textbooks that maintained a static view continued to look to Great Britain as a context in which to teach national history to school pupils.