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What You See Is What You Get

The Algerian War, French Textbooks and How Violence Is Remembered

Alexandra Binnenkade

French history textbooks occupy a pivotal position in the colonial fracture. They impart difficult knowledge about the Algerian War of Independence, knowledge that impacts the relationships between the communities of memory in France today. Textbook analysis has focused on their verbal content and, recently, in the work of Jo McCormack, on corresponding teaching practices. This article highlights graphic design as one layer of visual knowledge production and primarily contributes to the methodology of textbook analysis with an exemplary multimodal analysis. It reveals a hidden narrative about the postcolonial relationship that is not expressed in words.

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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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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.