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America's Favorite Doll?

Conflicting Discourses of Commodity Activism

Diana Leon-Boys

Emilie Zaslow. 2017. Playing with America’s Doll: A Cultural Analysis of the American Girl Collection. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Daniela R. P. Weiner

During the Allied occupation of the Axis countries, education and the revision of educational materials were seen as a means of ensuring future peace in Europe. Most scholarly literature on this topic has focused on the German case or has engaged in a German-Japanese comparison, neglecting the country in which the textbook revision process was first pioneered: Italy. Drawing primarily on the papers of the Allied occupying military governments, this article explores the parallels between the textbook revision processes in Allied-occupied Italy and Germany. It argues that, for the Allied occupiers involved in reeducation in Italy and Germany, the reeducation processes in these countries were inextricably linked. Furthermore, the institutional learning process that occurred in occupied Italy enabled the more thorough approach later applied in Germany.

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Beyond the Individual Body

Spinoza's Radical Enactivism and You Were Never Really Here

Francesco Sticchi

Since the emergence of embodied cognitive theories, there has been an ever-growing interest in the application of these theories to media studies, generating a large number of analyses focusing on the affective and intellectual features of viewers’ participation. The body of the viewer has become the central object of study for film and media scholars, who examine the conceptual physicality of the viewing experience by associating body states with parallel intellectual and moral constructions. In this article, I contribute to the study of embodied cognition and cinema by drawing upon Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy, especially from his process-based notion of the body. I will put this ecological and dynamic concept of the body in connection with recent studies on enactive cognition, and define a radical enactivist approach to be applied in the discussion of the experiential dynamics of Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.

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Gianni Barchiesi, Laura T. Di Summa, Joseph G. Kickasola and Peter Verstraten

Paul Taberham, Lessons in Perception: The Avant-Garde Filmmaker as Practical Psychologist (New York: Berghahn Books, 2018), xii + 214 pp., $120 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-78533-641-6. [Also available for free under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from Knowledge Unlatched, ISBN: 978-1-78533-642-3].

Catalin Brylla and Mette Kramer, eds., Cognitive Theory and Documentary Film (London: Palgrave McMillan, 2019), xxi + 343 pp., $119.99 (hardback), ISBN: 9783319903316.

Julian Hanich, The Audience Effect: On the Collective Cinema Experience (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press, 2019), 256 pp., $29.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9781474431774.

Frank Hakemulder, Moniek M. Kuijpers, Ed S. Tan, Katalin Bálint and Miruna M. Doicaru, ed. Narrative Absorption (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2017), 319 pp., $149.00 (hardback), ISBN: 9789027234162.

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Alan Voodla, Elen Lotman, Martin Kolnes, Richard Naar and Andero Uusberg

Do cinematographic lighting techniques affect film viewers’ empathic reactions? We investigated the effect of high- and low-contrast lighting on affective empathy toward depicted actors. Forty one participants watched short clips of professional actors expressing happiness, anger, and disgust, and rated the valence and intensity of their own and actors’ emotional states. Affective empathy was assessed through the extent of the facial mimicry of actors’ emotional expressions and quantified through electromyographic activation of expression-specific facial muscles. We managed to elicit facial mimicry for happiness and anger, but not for disgust. High-contrast lighting further amplified empathic mimicry for happy but not for angry expressions. High-contrast lighting also amplified subjective feelings elicited by angry and disgusted but not happy expressions. We conclude that high-contrast lighting can be an effective means for influencing film viewers’ empathic reactions through the low road to empathy, even as the overall impact of lighting also relies on the high road to empathy.

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Consuming Katniss

Spectacle and Spectatorship in The Hunger Games

Samantha Poulos

Catherine Driscoll and Alexandra Heatwole. 2018. The Hunger Games: Spectacle, Risk and the Girl Action Hero. London: Routledge.

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Stephanie Russo

Anne Boleyn has been narrativized in Young Adult (YA) historical fiction since the nineteenth century. Since the popular Showtime series The Tudors (2007–2010) aired, teenage girls have shown increased interest in the story of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second and most infamous queen. This construction of Boleyn suggests that she was both celebrated and punished for her proto-feminist agency and forthright sexuality. A new subgenre of Boleyn historical fiction has also recently emerged—YA novels in which her story is rewritten as a contemporary high school drama. In this article, I consider several YA novels about Anne Boleyn in order to explore the relevance to contemporary teenage girls of a woman who lived and died 500 years ago.

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Education, Entertainment, and Indoctrination

Educational Film in Interwar China

Kaiyi Li

This article demonstrates how educational film in interwar China served the dual purpose of mass recreation and political indoctrination. It places educational film in China in the context of Chinese tradition and the predominance of utilitarian scholarship. On the one hand, China has a long history of using mass-recreational tools in order to influence and control society. On the other hand, foreign educational films available in the early twentieth century were not attractive to Chinese audiences. Hence, the boundary between recreational and educational film at the time was ambivalent and the combination of recreation, education, and propaganda was reflected both in the phenomenon of showing educational films and in the contents of the films themselves.

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Heta Mulari

In this article I discuss girls’ and non-binary young people’s experiences of unwelcome intergenerational encounters in the Helsinki metro underground transport network. I foreground a theoretical conception of the metro as an urban space in which the material is deeply intertwined with the political and as a space with its own racialized, gendered, and age-based hierarchies. Calling on the work of Sara Ahmed, I investigate how girls and non-binary young people make meaning of unwanted emotional encounters in the metro space and how they use and adopt certain material and digital strategies that Helena Saarikoski calls young feminine choreographies, to cope in these situations. This article is based on interviews with girls and non-binary young people who were then between 16 and 17 years of age.

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"Farmers Don't Dance"

The Construction of Gender in a Rural Scottish School

Fiona G. Menzies and Ninetta Santoro

In this article we examine the influence of rurality on the construction of masculinity and femininity for, and by, pupils in a rural secondary school in Scotland. Using data from semi-structured interviews with male and female pupils and a teacher, as well as observations of classroom interactions over a period of 12 months, we highlight how girls take up multiple and complex gendered identities in a rural context and we emphasize the tensions they experience as they negotiate a feminine identity in a rural space constructed and described as masculine. Findings suggest that this construction is, at times, supported by teachers’ practices and their interactions with pupils. We conclude by discussing the implications for teachers in rural schools and point to the need to support girls to ensure that their educational opportunities are not limited by the deep-rooted associations that exist between rurality and masculinity.