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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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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.

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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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Introduction

New Perspectives in Children's Film Studies

Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer

The study of children’s films is a complex and demanding issue, involving a range of critical, educational, psychological, cultural, institutional, and textual aspects. “Children’s films” can be a broad and ambiguous term; there are films aimed at children, films about childhood, and films children watch regardless of whether they are children’s films or films targeted toward adults. The rise of an expanding children’s film industry (including the accompanying merchandizing products) in the United States and many European countries presents a further challenge to the study of children’s films. In some countries, children’s films are included in the general school curriculum; this indicates that children’s films are a key part of children’s culture that requires educational attention. Another fact to which the inclusion of children’s films in school curricula points is the crucial role of these films in the development of media literacy, due to the fact that children come to recognize and understand the typical features of films by means of a gradual process which takes a substantial amount of time. The acquisition of a “film language” presupposes the ability to comprehend the symbolic meanings of images, the close relationship, upon which films depend, between a moving image, sound, and speech, and prototypical properties of films, such as shots, zooms, cuts, camera perspective, and voice-over.

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Educational Media, Textbooks, and Postcolonial Relocations of Memory Politics in Europe

Eckhardt Fuchs and Marcus Otto

Cultures of remembrance or memory cultures have constituted an interdisciplinary field of research since the 1990s. While this field has achieved a high level of internal differentiation, it generally views its remit as one that encompasses “all imaginable forms of conscious remembrance of historical events, personalities, and processes.” In contrast to this comprehensive and therefore rather vague definition of “culture of remembrance” or “memory culture”, we use the term “politics of memory” here and in what follows in a more specific sense, in order to emphasize “the moment at which the past is made functional use of in the service of present-day purposes, to the end of shaping an identity founded in history.” Viewing the issue in terms of discourse analysis, we may progress directly from this definition to identify and investigate politics of memory as a discourse of strategic resignifications of the past as formulated in history and implemented in light of contemporary identity politics. While the nation-state remains a central point of reference for the politics of memory, the field is by no means limited to official forms of the engagement of states with their past. In other words, it does not relate exclusively to the official character of a state’s policy on history. Instead, it also encompasses the strategic politics of memory and identity pursued by other stakeholders in a society, a politics that frequently, but not always, engages explicitly with state-generated and state-sanctioned memory politics. Thus, the politics of memory is currently unfolding as a discourse of ongoing, highly charged debate surrounding collective self-descriptions in modern, “culturally” multilayered, and heterogeneous societies, where self-descriptions draw on historical developments and events that are subject to conflict.

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Museums and the Educational Turn

History, Memory, Inclusivity

Jens Andermann and Silke Arnold-de Simine

Responding to feminist, postcolonial, and memorialistic critiques, museums have over the past decades radically revised their protocols of collection and display, aiming to register in their own curatorial and pedagogical practice the open and contested nature of the historical and ethnographic narratives on which their object lessons had traditionally conferred the status of hard evidence. In this new emphasis on the “museum encounter” as a performative and intersubjective “event”—sometimes referred to as the “educational turn” in museum curatorship—a new type of “inclusive museum” has emerged in diverse geographical and political settings. The inclusive museum seeks to recover the museum’s social role as a purveyor of shared, collective meanings precisely in departing from its high-modern predecessor and in forging “open representations” that acknowledge the diversity of the interpretative community thus interpolated. Inclusive museums, in short, aim to offer a new, contemporary stage for negotiating and performing cultural citizenship.

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History Education and the Claims of Society

An Historical Approach

Tom Verschaffel and Kaat Wils

The political use and instrumentalization of history is a central theme within the historiography of history education. Neither history nor education is a politically neutral domain; history education is and has always been a highly politicized phenomenon. For his recent article on the development of history education in England, Germany, and the Netherlands throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Dutch history didactician Arie Wilschut chose the significant title, “History at the Mercy of Politicians and Ideologies.” History education, Wilschut argues, has, in all three countries, continually—with a short break in the 1960s and 1970s—been instrumentalized by national politics to the detriment of unbiased interpretations of the past.

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Teaching about Islam and the Muslim World

Textbooks and Real Curriculum

Marie McAndrew, Amina Triki-Yamani, and Falk Pingel

Textbooks play a critical role in representing and fixing the desired view of society and of intergroup relations in the minds of future generations. As such, textbooks crystallize and translate into a pedagogical form existing dynamics involving the complexity of knowledge and the dominant ideological representations of ethnic or international relations. Studies of teachers’ use of textbooks show that teachers tend to rely heavily on textbooks when teaching less familiar topics, particularly topics dealing with international aspects and dimensions of education.

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Contextualizing School Textbook Revision

Eckhardt Fuchs

The words “textbook revision” immediately conjure up certain images. We generally think of conflicts surrounding the contents of textbooks, conflicts which are debated in public and usually have an international dimension. Textbook revision generally refers to books on history, geography and social studies, occasionally also religion or biology. It generally relates to those activities aimed at correcting false or distorted interpretations in school textbooks. In addition, it involves two further aspects: improving the quality of teaching with revised textbooks, and conveying universal norms in addition to knowledge of the subject. History and social studies teaching can thus make an important contribution to peace and human rights education.

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Myths and Maps of Europe

Chiara Bottici and Benoît Challand

Both the name Europe and the political entity Europe are relatively recent inventions. Although the name can be traced back as far as 700 BCE, the term in its contemporary meaning only became widespread after 1700 CE. The political entity is an even more recent construct. It was only with the first steps toward European construction in the second half of the twentieth century that the contours of a political community bearing this name emerged, even if its borders were still far from clearly defined. Yet even with the existence of today’s European Union (EU) the meaning of the term remains highly contested. Does Europe mean only the EU? Is it a geographical or a political entity? Where are its boundaries? How did these boundaries come about?