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Teaching with Disney


Edited By Julie C. Garlen and Jennifer A. Sandlin

Teaching with Disney, the first comprehensive volume on Disney as cultural pedagogy and classroom praxis, explores what it means to teach, learn, and live in a world where many familiar discourses are dominated by The Walt Disney Company. The book analyzes the ways in which the powerful messages of Disney shape the way we teach and learn. Featuring scholars from a wide range of educational contexts, including educational foundations, art education, higher education, K-12 contexts, adult education, media literacy, critical pedagogy, and curriculum studies, this book is accessible and interesting to a global audience of educational researchers and practitioners as well as undergraduate and graduate students in educational foundations, curriculum and instruction, curriculum theory, critical media education, art education, sociology of education, and related fields. Discussion questions are provided for each chapter to help facilitate class discussions and assignments. This is an excellent assignment text for education classrooms.


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We dedicate this book to our older sisters, Jennifer C. Garlen and Cindy Sandlin, who were our first pop culture pedagogues. It was Jennifer who first introduced Julie to the weird and wonderful worlds of Monty Python, Doctor Who, Star Wars, The Muppet Show, and of course, all things Disney. At the Magic Kingdom, Jennifer patiently endured Julie’s early obsession with Dumbo and the People Mover as well as her lifelong fear of costumed characters, and eventually intro- duced a slightly older Julie to the thrill of Space Mountain. Jennifer also shared her love of musical theatre with Julie, who still knows almost every song from the Cats soundtrack. Jennifer, who is not only a Disney fan extraordinaire, but also a brilliant writer and literary scholar, taught Julie to question, challenge, and critique traditional norms and familiar narratives and inspired her toward an aca- demic career. Cindy introduced Jenny to the wonders of popular culture, direct- ing her in stupendous reenactments of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, which led to a lifelong love of show tunes, show choir, and karaoke. Jenny also has many fond childhood memories of reading and singing along with the “Disney Little Long Playing Records” played on a little plastic Fisher Price record player, as she and Cindy belted out songs from Davy Crockett, The Hobbit, the Jungle Book, and more, and waited patiently to turn the page only when Tinkerbell “waved her little wand like this.” Cindy was also Jenny’s companion on her first and...

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