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A digital Jewish history?

Abstract

How can we teach Jewish history in a modern and effective way? In Hamburg, Germany, a school project called Geschichtomat tries to find an answer to that question. With the help of digital media, students explore their Jewish neighbourhood. This one-of-a-kind German program permits students to experience the Jewish past and present life in their hometown. During the project, students explore their neighbourhood to understand its historical figures, places, and events. This way they engage with Jewish life. Under the supervision of experts in the disciplines of history and media education, the students will: research, perform interviews with cultural authorities and contemporary witnesses, visit museums and archives, shoot and cut films, edit photos and write accompanying texts. Finally, their contributions are uploaded to the geschichtomat.de website. Little by little a digital map of Jewish life from the perspective of teenagers will take shape.

Open access
Pirate Television Stations in the Years 1990-1994

Abstract

The history of pirate, illegal television stations in Poland is presented here against the broader background of systemic transformations (both political and legal). According to the author of the article, it was an inevitable phenomenon, closely linked to the creation of the foundations of a democratic, lawful state with free-market economy. They were a factor which enforced acceleration of political change, legislative works and affected the change of the programming offer. Although pirate television stations were a short-lived phenomenon, they had huge impact on the later development of electronic media in Poland.

Open access
Digital artefacts to change the teacher’s practices

Abstract

The change imposed by the diffusion of information and communications technology concerns didactic transposition practices, especially in the context of ‘public subjects’, such as taught history, because their epistemological paradigms are also affected by the mediatization process which they are subjected to in the Web.

Digital competence is essential for building a meaningful curriculum of history, which could generate relevant knowledge for the contemporary world through digital artefacts that can start the change in didactic practices.

The traditional analogical supports, primarily the text books, could be overtaken by the aggregation of technological mediators. The digital mediators can make historical culture both evident and significant, and they can support the intellectual training that history asks of students.

Open access
Holocaust Representation and Graphical Strangeness in Art Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale: “Funny Animals,” Constellations, and Traumatic Memory

Abstract

Art Spiegelman’s MAUS, a Pulitzer-prize-winning two-volume graphic novel, zooms into wartime Poland, interweaving young Vladek’s – the author’s father – experiences of World War II and the present day through uncanny visual and verbal representational strategies characteristic of the comics medium. “I’m literally giving a form to my father’s words and narrative”, Spiegelman remarks on MAUS, “and that form for me has to do with panel size, panel rhythms, and visual structures of the page”. The risky artistic strategies and the “strangeness” of its form, to use Harold Bloom’s term, are essential to how the author represents the horrors of the Holocaust: by means of anthropomorphic caricatures and stereotypes depicting Germans as cats, Jewish people as mice, Poles as pigs, and so on. Readings of MAUS often focus on the cultural connotations in the context of postmodernism and in the Holocaust literature tradition, diminishing the importance of its hybrid narrative form in portraying honest, even devastating events. Using this idea as a point of departure, along with a theoretical approach to traumatic memory and the oppressed survivor’s story, I will cover three main topics: the “bleeding” and re-building of history, in an excruciating obsession to save his father’s – a survivor of Auschwitz – story for posterity and to mend their alienating relationship and inability to relate; the connection between past and present, the traumatic subject, and the vulnerability it assumes in drawing and writing about life during the Holocaust as well as the unusual visual and narrative structure of the text. The key element of my study, as I analyse a range of sections of the book, focuses on the profound and astonishing strangeness of the work itself, which consequently assured MAUS a canonical status in the comics’ tradition.

Open access