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.
Table of Contents
1. Moving Pictures: The Fantasy of Authority 2. First Lessons: The Origins of the Filmic Teaching Fantasy 3. Law, School: Impossible Relationships in the Ideal Case 4. To Save, with Love: Desire, Domination and Melancholia in Teacher Savior Films 5. Expulsion: The Horror of the Fantasy Made Real 6. Down with Teachers, Up with Revolution: School Violence and Fantasies of Control 7. End of Class: The Death of the Teacher 8. End of the Term: The Limits of Authority and Conclusion
James Stillwaggon is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Iona College, USA, where his teaching and writing focus on the place of philosophical ideals in democratic education.
David Jelinek is Professor of Art and Art History at Collegiate School, USA. His research and writing focus on the relationship between teachers and students in film. A solo installation of his, Money Down, was exhibited at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in Manhattan.
Readers are invited into a school of transference. In store is a thought provoking study that requests us to look again at that other scene of learning to teach and do so by going to the movies. Stillwaggon and Jelinek are marvelous guides and their book ushers us into fantastical views on the psychical consequences of watching teachers on the silver screen.
Deborah Britzman, FRSC and author of A Psychoanalyst in the Classroom