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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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Chapter One: Introduction: Popular Culture and Disney Pedagogies (Julie C. Garlen and Jennifer A. Sandlin)


In their groundbreaking work on the impact of Disney’s global media domination on the lives of children, Giroux and Pollock (2010) argue that Disney is a “teach- ing machine” that “exerts influence over consumers but also wages an aggressive campaign to peddle its political and cultural influence” (p. xiv). The purpose of this volume is to further interrogate this notion of Disney as a pedagogical force and to explore what it means to teach, learn, and live in a world where many familiar discourses are dominated by the global media conglomerate. Giroux and Pollock encourage citizens to ask themselves, “How does the power of a corpora- tion like Disney affect my life and shape my values as a citizen, consumer, parent, and individual?” (p. xv). In this volume, we ask, How do the powerful messages of Disney shape the ways we teach and learn? As a multinational entertainment conglomerate that is represented in almost every media platform, generating over $48 billion per year (Iger, 2014) through its various products, movies, and theme park experiences that are consumed by hundreds of millions of people, The Walt Disney Company is one of the most influential contributors to the global land- scape of popular culture. Considering Giroux’s (1999) assertion that “media cul- ture has become a substantial, if not the primary, educational force in regulating the meanings, values, and tastes that set the norms that offer up and legitimate particular subject positions” (p. 2), the ubiquitous culture of Disney has profound potential to...

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