Filmed School: Desire, transgression and the filmic fantasy of pedagogy




Filmed School examines the place that teaching holds in the public imaginary through its portrayal in cinema. From early films such as Mädchen in Uniform and La Maternelle to contemporary images of teaching in Notes on a Scandal and The History Boys, teachers’ roles in film have been consistently contradictory, portraying teachers as both seducers and selfless heroes, social outcasts and moral models, contributing to a similarly divided popular understanding of teachers as both salvific and sinister.

In this book, Stillwaggon and Jelinek present these contradictory images of teaching through the concept of transference―the fantastical belief in another’s knowing that founds a teacher’s authority in relation to her students and, to some degree, the public at large. Tracing the place of transference across a century of school films, each chapter demonstrates the persistence of this fantasy in one of the dreams or nightmares of teaching that recurs thematically in school films: the teacher-as-savior, seducer, signifier in a moribund discourse, and sacrificial object. Through these analyses, the authors suggest that something might be missing in our attempts to theorize education when we leave our unthought fantasies of teaching out of the picture.

This book will be of key interest to academics, researchers, and postgraduate students in the fields of educational theory, teacher education, philosophy of education, film and media studies, psychoanalysis, sociology of education, curriculum studies, and cultural studies.
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