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When Princesses Become Dragons

Critical Literacy, Damsel, and Confronting Rape Culture in English Classrooms

Shelby Boehm, Kathleen Colantonio-Yurko, Kathleen Olmstead, and Henry “Cody” Miller


In this article we offer curricular suggestions for teaching Elana K. Arnold's young adult title Damsel, a subverted fairytale rewrite, using a critical literacy framework. In doing so, we outline how English curriculum has often upheld oppressive systems that harm women, and how our teaching can challenge such systems. We situate this work through the retelling of a fairytale trope given the ubiquity of such stories in secondary students’ lives. Our writings have teaching implications for both secondary English language arts classrooms and higher education fields such as English, folklore, mythology, and gender studies. We end by noting the limitations of such teaching.

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Ein Opfernarrativ macht Schule?

Die foibe-Massaker in italienischen Geschichtsschulbüchern seit 2004

Nils Jochum


The stormy transition to the Second Italian Republic during the 1990s produced a “memory boom” that evoked the previously marginalized foibe massacres. From the complex and violent events that took place on the Italian-Yugoslav border at the end of the Second World War, a national victim narrative was created which downplays fascist crimes. In 2004, the law establishing the Italian National Memorial Day also made the foibe a compulsory subject in schools. This article explores how the narrative of the foibe has developed since then in Italian history textbooks, which are not subject to state control. The analysis reveals a broad spectrum of interpretations, ranging from a national victim narrative to the evaluation of historical findings concerning Italian crimes committed during the Second World War.

Mit dem krisenhaften Übergang von der “Ersten” zur “Zweiten” Republik in den 1990er Jahren hat sich in Italien ein “Erinnerungsboom” um die vormals marginalisierten foibe-Massaker entwickelt. Aus den begrenzten, aber komplexen Gewalt-Ereignissen an der italienischen Ostgrenze am Ende des Zweiten Weltkrieges wird ein nationales Opfernarrativ konstruiert, welches die faschistischen Verbrechen verblassen lässt. Das Gesetz zur Einführung des Gedenktages aus dem Jahr 2004 erhebt die foibe zum Bildungsauftrag der Schulen. Wie werden die foibe seitdem in italienischen Geschichtsschulbüchern, die keiner staatlichen Kontrolle unterliegen, gedeutet? Die Analyse der Schulbücher offenbart ein sehr breites Deutungsspektrum der foibe. Die Darstellungen oszillieren zwischen der nationalen Opfererzählung und den historischen Erkenntnissen zur italienischen Tätergeschichte im Zweiten Weltkrieg.

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Empowering Critical Memory Consciousness in Education

The Example of 22 July 2011 in Norway

Alexandre Dessingué and Ketil Knutsen


This article addresses memory studies from an educational perspective. In order to encourage pupils and students as independent agents in memory cultures they are part of, it is not enough to (as history education prescribes) learn history as a narrative about the past based on official sources or via the analyses of different uses of history. Rather, today history should also be considered as one of many different dynamic memory acts that define and redefine the past and the societies we live in. We therefore develop the concept of critical memory consciousness and argue for a memory pedagogy that gives learners the possibility to analyze memories that arise out of collective, cultural, and dialogic processes.

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From Temporary Migrants to National Inclusion?

The Journey from Finnish Labor Migrants to a National Minority, Visualized by Swedish Textbooks from 1954 to 2016

Lina Spjut


This article explores ways in which textbook content can reflect national identity over time via a case study of Swedish textbooks. To this end, it analyzes and contextualizes descriptions of Finnish labor migrants in Sweden in seventy-four compulsory school textbooks. The Finnish labor group emigrated from Finland to Sweden mainly from the 1950s to the 1980s. Initially, the Swedish authorities saw them as temporary laborers, but as time went by, the authorities had to realize that they had become permanent residents. In 2000, Finns were defined as an official national minority, “Sweden-Finns,” and their status changed. This article examines representations of Finnish labor migrants in Swedish history, geography and social science textbooks published between 1954 and 2016, tracing their journey from temporary laborers to a permanent national minority.

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German Colonial Rule in Present-day Namibia

The Struggle for Discursive Shifts in History Education

Patrick Mielke


This article traces discursive shifts in the ways in which imperialism and European colonialism have been dealt with in the classroom in relation to the German history textbook Time for History (Zeit für Geschichte), which was published in 2010. It explores how the textbook's representation of German colonial rule in present-day Namibia both raises awareness of and reproduces common colonialist-racist images of the “other” by demonstrating how its content is negotiated in year-nine history lessons, as observed over the course of an ethnographic study carried out in a German secondary school. The author assesses the complex interplay between discursive practices of negotiation, everyday educational practices and deeply rooted, colonialist-racist images of the “other” and, on the basis of this interplay, analyses how difficult it is to bring about content-based and discursive shifts in the classroom.

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The “Imagined Other”

A Political Contextual Analysis of Secular and Hindu Nationalisms in Indian History Textbooks

Deepa Nair


In 2014, the National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the general election with the highest number of seats won by any party since 1984 and went on to win a second term victory in 2019. Since the rise of the BJP, Hindu nationalist interventions into education have increased. Their agenda has been to “indigenise, nationalise and spiritualise” education in India. To this end, textbooks were written to promote a Hindu majoritarian idea of India that sees Hindus as the primary citizens of India and categorizes Muslims as the “other”. This article outlines the political context in which Hindu nationalists have recently attempted to rewrite Indian history by focusing on the period of Muslim rule in India. It looks at textbooks published by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and media reports about regional history rewriting in India.

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Web Documentary Participation as a Basis for Intercultural and Social Engagement and Second Language Acquisition

Isabel Rivero-Vilá


Foreign language documentary films offer limitless possibilities for language teaching and are an ideal medium for the integration of the target culture and for the promotion of serious and committed discussions about human rights, diversity, global issues, and sustainability. Language learning is based on current cultural contexts so that students become more engaged with the world. In order to integrate this world into my class, I became a documentary filmmaker and filmed everyday life while I was living in Nantes, France. In my interactive documentary (i-doc), students can explore the different opportunities that Nantes has to offer, from street art to socially engaged activities and student demonstrations. The learner watches and listens to interviews in the i-doc at their own pace and engages with the francophone community.

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About the Cover

Andrew J. Ball and Aleksandr Rybin

The cover of this issue of Screen Bodies features the digital work “Crypto Queen” by restlessperson (Aleksandr Rybin), which the artist has minted as an NFT. We spoke with Rybin about the subject matter of his work, connections between digital and analog art, and the future of NFTs. His work is available on KnownOrigin.

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Affective Anachronisms, Fateful Becomings

Otaku Movement and the Joan of Arc Effect in Type-Moon's Transhistorical Anime Ecology

David John Boyd


This article examines the temporal and phenomenological philosophies of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Paolo Virno, specifically in relation to the transmedia franchises of the Japanese game studio, Type-Moon. Against linear, national, and majoritarian grand narratives of the historical, the otaku artists, writers, and developers responsible for the Fate series postulate whether it is possible to harness the intense and affective forces described by Jay Lampert as “the Joan of Arc effect” in the blink of an eye or in the palm of your hand. Through a philosophical and formal analysis of three spinoff series from the Fate franchise, this article investigates how Type-Moon's deployment of the “anime machine” encourages its viewers and users to see and feel the abundance of flowing “nomadic memories” or counter-historical visions from the perspective of minor populations. Through this highly embodied and tactile experience of transhistorical (un)becomings, Type-Moon's series offer a deterritorialized, post-national world-image of the otaku database which mediates between the overloading affects of becoming-woman and the digitally encoded logic of transversal through the frames, windows, interfaces, devices, platforms, and bodies that constitute Type-Moon's vibrant anime ecology.

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Alexa, Affect, and the Algorithmic Imaginary

Addressing Privacy and Security Concerns Through Emotional Advertising

Linda Kopitz


As millions of customers across the world invite digital voice assistants into their homes, the public debate has increasingly centered on security and privacy concerns connected to the use of the device. Drawing on Tania Bucher's work at the intersection between technology and everyday experience, this article proposes an understanding of an algorithmic imaginary of Alexa-enabled devices as explicitly nonthreatening in its ordinariness, positive potential, and gendered presence. As a case study, this article uses commercials for Alexa-enabled devices as a starting point: Instead of foregrounding the functionality and thereby the algorithmic intelligence underlying the voice assistant, these commercials focus on an affective potential as a narrative strategy to address privacy and security concerns. By connecting everyday interactions with emotional and empowering narratives, the way Alexa is portrayed as an embodied object functions as a balance to the equally public and publicized understanding of digital voice assistants as threats.