Journal of Popular Film and Television

Call for Submissions to a Theme Issue of the Journal of Popular Film and Television on “Teaching Popular Film and Television: Critical Media Literacy and Narratives in (Teacher) Education” coedited by Geert Vandermeersche, Ronald Soetaert and Kris Rutten

If popular movies and television series were resisted in (teacher) education, it was said to be because of their generic and stereotypical elements: e.g. scholars argue that they disseminate “recycled stereotypes” which “mislead, confuse, and impoverish [teachers’ and students’] evaluations of and expectations about the nature of genuine education” (Gregory 2007). In this theme issue, we want to study and engage with -rather than reject- the narrative patterns of popular film and television from a number of different perspectives, focusing on stimulating critical media literacy. From a cognitive perspective (Bruner 1986), popular movies and television can be seen as narratives which provide and question scripts (Schank 1995, Stockwell 2002), function as tools for thinking (Herman 2003) or offer ways of understanding specific knowledge domains, such as science, languages, or social studies (Egan 1997). Such narrative analyses could become part of a “conscious practice, affording each of us enhanced control over our interactions with the image culture” (Edgerton & Marsden 2002, p. 3) in/about education. Such a critical media literacy also needs to include “the ability to infer values and engage in moral discourse concerning the imagery we observe and experience daily” (idem). Our value-laden interaction with the patterns of narrative is highlighted in rhetorical and ethical theories of narrative. For Kenneth Burke, stories seek to name typical situations in life and to provide potential attitudes to them (Burke 1945). Likewise, popular culture could function as such an equipment for living (Brummett 1993, Ott 2007). Through the metaphor of the company we keep, Wayne Booth describes our learning from narratives as a conversation about the good and bad of our consumption of fiction (Booth 1988, Richter 2007).

This theme issue seeks to further the research of the 2002 theme issue of the Journal of Popular Film and Television (JPFTV) on “Media Literacy and Education: The Teacher-Scholar in Film and Television,” co-edited by Gary R. Edgerton and Michael T. Marsden. We welcome new perspectives, beside the ones we provided, on the interconnection between learning and teaching, (narrative, ethical and rhetorical aspects of) popular film and television, and critical media literacy. This theme issue aims to survey new developments in the field of critical media education and new approaches to teaching popular movies and television series.

Articles could answer to—but should not be limited to—the following questions:

  • How is education imagined in film and television (from a social, cultural, and historical perspective), and (why) have these recurring representations been influential?
  • What cultural patterns (stereotypes, genres, …) about education and society do students and teachers bring to the classroom that are borrowed from popular film and television?
  • How have ideas from popular film and television been influential in educational theory and practice?
  • How can popular movies and television be used as a tool in education: e.g. as ways of understanding specific subject areas of education (languages, sciences, social studies,…)?
  • How can popular movies and television be used in the classroom to study and question the cultural patterns and stereotypes in society and education?
  • How can we stimulate critical reflection on the popular myths that surround education? How can we interpret and evaluate these representations?
  • What can teachers and educational researchers learn from popular film and television?
  • What are the ideas and preconceptions that stimulate or impede the implementation of popular film and television in (teacher) education?
  • What kind of theoretical and empirical frameworks do we need for our research and teaching of popular film and television (e.g. narratology , discourse analysis, semiotics, media & communication studies, rhetorical studies, …)?

We welcome a variety of theoretical, empirical, and critical approaches. Submissions should be 20 to 25 pages, double-spaced, and conform to the MLA style sheet. Please include a 50-word abstract and five to seven key words to facilitate online searches. Send two copies (along with SASE) no later than 1 March 2012 to:

Geert Vandermeersche
Department of Educational Studies / Ghent University
9000 Gent (Belgium)
Henri Dunantlaan 2

Or via e-mail:

CFP – Theme Issue for the Journal of Popular Film and Television: Teaching Popular Film and Television: Critical Media Literacy and Narratives in (Teacher) Education