- Watch and learn: rhetorical devices in classroom teaching films after 1940
- Number of pages
- Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press
- Framing film
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
Since the late 1990s, there has been a marked increase in academic interest in what are sometimes called ‘utility films’, intended for purposes of information, training or teaching, or advertising. Although such research was long overdue, the current academic output tends to be restricted in scope to histories of production and distribution, and questions concerning pedagogical effectiveness. Much less attention has been paid to the films’ textual features: the means they deploy in defending their informational, educational or commercial arguments. In the absence of such studies, the image survives of very ‘formulaic’ genres. Watch and Learn seeks to modify this picture, and suggests a methodology that helps to foreground the films’ rhetorical diversity.
Taking its departure from a historic collection of (Dutch) classroom films, the book proposes an approach that considers an audio-visual text as part of a so-called dispositif: the set-up of technology, text and viewing situation that is relevant to the specific corpus under scrutiny. Furthermore, analysis is based on the assumption that the rhetorical functioning of films is always a matter of somehow incorporating into the text itself the audience addressed. In the case of classroom films, this entails a double rhetorical strategy: spectators are alternately positioned as (experienced) film viewers, and as ‘learners’.
- Available in university library UvA
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