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Learning Scenarios for Social and Cultural Change

«Bildung» through Academic Teaching


Edited By Lara Rodríguez Sieweke

The anthology departs from the fundamental idea that the university is deeply connected to the ideal of «Bildung» and to democratic values. If the university should serve as an open space to develop democracy and to meet today’s social, cultural and ecological challenges, then one has to take into account the different disciplines’ approaches to education. Thus, the featured proposals on school and university education come from diverse research fields such as general education, media education, art and aesthetic education, philosophy, ethnology, sociology, performance art and gender.

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Myth to Reality: Reflexive Body Practices and Textile Art Processes in Education in the Context of (Un-)Doing Gender (Anne-Marie Grundmeier / Maud Hietzge)


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Anne-Marie Grundmeier and Maud Hietzge

Myth to Reality: Reflexive Body Practices and Textile Art Processes in Education in the Context of (Un-)Doing Gender

Abstract: As mythological characters, mermaids represent seductive women as hybrid personas, whose ambivalent nature often reflects a conflict with their social environment. For thousands of years, these creatures have been enduring symbols of femininity in myth and culture. In contemporary society they play a visible role in children’s literature and toys, TV series, movies, and nowadays in youth cultural practice. The question is why “The Little Mermaid” is still such a popular figure in modern life and culture. As a postmodern body practice of predominantly preadolescent girls, a virtual image becomes a provenance for different ‘real’ practices which acquire and mime sensually mediatized figures of adventurous character, thereby changing the myths again.   After a focused summary of historical investigations, the global and ambivalent figure of the mermaid is described as a phenomenon in relation to modernity and modern receptions. There are several cultural variations such as Mami Wata (Wendl), Jemanya, La Sirène and others (Grundmeier and Hietzge). Aspects of body and costume design are explained in their significance for young girls in the contexts of creativity, self-representation and aesthetic education, all of which are underestimated tremendously in current pedagogy. This leads to the question of whether or not the encounter with the figure of the mermaid can help with diversity and gender issues, and critique the norms...

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