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Educational Film Studies

A Burgeoning Field of Research

Anne Bruch

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Eulalia Guzmán and Walt Disney’s Educational Films

A Pedagogical Proposal for “Literacy for the Americas” in Mexico (1942–1944)

María Rosa Gudiño Cejudo

Translator : Stephen Torgoff

Abstract

Literacy for the Americas was an audiovisual educational program implemented in Mexico and other Latin American countries in the early 1940s by the Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA). Walt Disney Studios made four short films that were designed to teach illiterate residents of Latin Americahow to read and write. In Mexico, this project was initially backed by the Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) under Jaime Torres Bodet, who appointed Eulalia Guzmán to be the SEP’s representative and thus to support the program. Walt Disney asked her to work out a pedagogical proposal for the educational films. This article analyzes the proposal, the development and production of these shorts, and their reception in Mexico. It foregrounds Guzmán’s criticisms of these educational materials, which led the OIAA representatives to withdraw them from circulation.

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The German Colonies in Die Weltgeschichte als Kolonialgeschichte

The Use of Filmic Techniques in Colonial Revisionism in the 1920s

Michael Annegarn-Gläß

Translator : Katherine Ebisch-Burton

Abstract

Academic history has begun only relatively recently to study films as historical sources, and thus far it has focused principally on feature films to the exclusion of nonfictional cinema, despite the use of educational films for propaganda as early as the interwar period. This essay examines the extent to which educational films of this period employed a range of techniques to reach their viewers and encouraged them to take the film’s argumentation on board. Categorizing these techniques as either narrative strategies or visual effects, we contextualize their use by taking the film Die Weltgeschichte als Kolonialgeschichte (“World History as Colonial History,” 1926) as an example.

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Indoktrination oder Innovation?

Der Unterrichtsfilm als neues Lehrmedium im Nationalsozialismus

Verena Niethammer

Abstract

Seit 1934 wurden im Deutschen Reich von einer zentralen Stelle, der Reichsstelle für den Unterrichtsfilm (RfdU) und seinem Nachfolger der Reichsanstalt für Film und Bild in Wissenschaft und Unterricht (RWU), stumme, schwarz-weiße Unterrichtsfilme als Lehrmedien für allgemeinbildende Schulen hergestellt. Von der filmpädagogischen Diskussion begleitet, entwickelt die Filmgattung bereits in ihrer Frühzeit spezifische Erzähl- und Darstellungsweisen, bei denen innovative Filmtechniken und Verfahren zum Einsatz kommen. Aufgrund der Entstehungszeit zwischen 1934 bis 1944 werden die RWU-Filme heute verdächtigt, primär der Indoktrination der Schüler gedient zu haben. In diesem Beitrag wird anhand ausgewählter Unterrichtsfilme und unter Berücksichtigung der RWU-Gesamtproduktion dargelegt, dass – obwohl kaum direkte Spuren von nationalsozialistischer Ideologie auszumachen sind – ein zweiter Blick auf den damaligen Film als Lehrmedium nötig ist. Mit Hilfe filmanalytischer Verfahren werden hier wiederkehrende Themen und visuellen Stereotype ausgemacht, welche die Einstellungen der Zielgruppe prägen konnten.

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Introduction

Educational Films: A Historical Review of Media Innovation in Schools

Eckhardt Fuchs, Anne Bruch, and Michael Annegarn-Gläß

Translator : Nicola Watson

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Meglio di ieri

Educational Films, National Identity and Citizenship in Italy from 1948 to 1968

Anne Bruch

Abstract

This article examines a series of educational films and documentaries produced between 1948 and 1968 that document the activities of the Italian state. These films, which record the dedicated and arduous work of the Italian government and administration, had two functions. First, they informed students and the general public about the democratic structures, institutions and aims of the new republic, promoting a fresh and convincing vision of national identity. Second, they served to obscure and rewrite the collective national memory of Fascism and Italian involvement in the Second World War. These films thus reveal the fine line between public information, political propaganda, and civic education.

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RAF-Spielfilme im Geschichtsunterricht

Sophia Gerber

Abstract

1970 gründete eine kleine Gruppe radikaler Linker, die ursprünglich in der frühen Studentenbewegung Westdeutschlands angesiedelt war (Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler und Ulrike Meinhof) die Rote Armee Fraktion, RAF. Seit den frühen 1970er Jahren bis 1998 beging diese militante Gruppe zahlreiche Terrorakte, besonders Ende 1977 als sie eine Nationalkrise auslöste, die als der Deutsche Herbst bekannt geworden ist. Über einen Zeitraum von fast dreißig Jahren ist sie verantwortlich zu machen für zahlreiche Verletzungen und vierunddreißig Tode, zu denen auch viele sekundäre Ziele wie Chauffeure und Bodyguards zählen. Obwohl die RAF erheblichen politischen Konflikt provozierte und Verbindungen ins Ausland aufrechterhielt, wird der Linksterrorismus der RAF in der Regel im Geschichtsunterricht behandelt. Dieser Artikel untersucht, wie das Thema über Filme vermittelt werden kann zumal Filmregisseure seit den frühen 1970ern als sorgfältige Beobachter politischer Ereignisse in Erscheinung treten.

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Doing Memory

Teaching as a Discursive Node

Alexandra Binnenkade

This article outlines the “discursive node” as an approach to a cultural analysis of how memory is being done in history classrooms. Teaching is a practice embodied in the interactions between teachers and their audiences, between texts, imagery and institutional formations, and between material and immaterial participants in an activity that entails not only knowledge but also emotions, experience and values (Henry Giroux). Discursive nodes are useful metaphors that enable research of a phenomenon that is ontologically and empirically fluxional, heterogeneous, unstable, situative and fuzzy—memory.

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History Classroom Interactions and the Transmission of the Recent Memory of Human Rights Violations in Chile

Teresa Oteíza, Rodrigo Henríquez, and Claudio Pinuer

The purpose of this article is to examine history classroom interactions in Chilean secondary schools in relation to the transmission of historical memories of human rights violations committed by Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. Corpora of this research are comprised of history lessons filmed in the two types of public schools that coexist in the Chilean educational system, namely government subsidized and partially subsidized schools. This research draws on linguistics resources framed by the sociosemiotic perspective of systemic functional linguistics. We incorporate into this theoretical framework the notions of semantic gravity and semantic density from legitimation code theory in order to understand the variations of levels of specialization and abstraction that build cumulative knowledge and ideological cosmologies when one is dealing with a sensitive and complex aspect of Chilean society.

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Memory Practices and History Education

Felicitas Macgilchrist, Barbara Christophe, and Alexandra Binnenkade

This special issue of the Journal of Educational Media, Memory and Society explores memory practices and history education. The first point of departure for the texts collated here is that memory (whichever concept we use from the current range including collective memory, cultural memory, social memory, connected memory, prosthetic memory, multidirectional memory, travelling memory and entangled memory) is a site of political contestation, subject formation, power struggle, knowledge production, and community-building. Our second point of departure is that history education is a site where teachers and pupils as members of distinct generations engage with textbooks and other materials as specific forms of memory texts that guide what should be passed on to the younger generation. As editors, we solicited papers that investigate how what counts as “worth remembering” in a given context is reproduced, negotiated and/or interrupted in classrooms and other educational practices. This introduction aims to sketch the overarching understanding of memory practices which guide the contributions, to point to the purchase of attending explicitly to the “doing” of memory, to highlight the difference between our approach to history education and approaches focusing on historical thinking, and to introduce the six articles.