Disney Curriculum: Call for Proposals

Jenny Sandlin and Julie Garlen Maudlin are co-editing a new book oriented to the study of Disney as an Educational, Cultural, and Social Curriculum. Sharing from a poster in Institute for Critical Animal Studies.

Call for Proposals

The Disney Curriculum: Education, Culture, and Society

Edited by
Jennifer A. Sandlin, Arizona State University
Julie Garlen Maudlin, Georgia Southern University

The purpose of this edited volume is to explore the Disney Corporation and the myriad ways its curricula and pedagogies manifest. Disney is a major multinational entertainment corporation, represented in almost every media platform (Wasko, 2001). Disney generates over $37.8 billion dollars per year through animated films, live-action films, theme parks, television stations, radio, publishing, licensed merchandise, schools, museums, sports, music, urban development, at least one community, and myriad other products and entertainment arenas—all while maintaining a corporate image of wholesome, innocent, nostalgic entertainment. These various products and experiences are consumed by hundreds of millions of people each year across the globe and have a significant impact on shaping individual and group cultural identity. Giroux and Pollock (2010) argue that Disney is a “teaching machine” that “exerts influence over consumers but also wages an aggressive campaign to peddle its political and cultural influence” (p. xiv). Disney is thus a kind of public pedagogy extraordinaire.

We envision Disney not only enacting a broad-reaching [corporate] public pedagogy (Savage, 2010), but also position it as part of a “big” curriculum (Schubert, 2006; see also Cremin, 1976 and Schubert, 1981) that permeates cultural discourse in myriad ways. This “big” curriculum of public and private spaces resides in both liminal and distant proximities to formal educational institutions such as schools (Stearns, Sandlin, & Burdick, 2011). As such, we argue that Disney, which is an increasingly salient part of individuals’ everyday life practices and identity formation—as well as a major cultural force that helps shape conceptions of family values, gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, “Americanness”, childhood, pleasure, entertainment, education, and community—must be recognized as an influential element within the big curriculum. Schubert’s (2006) perspective on the big curriculum aligns with Pinar’s (2004) perspective on curriculum theory as an “interdisciplinary study of educational experience,” with curriculum broadly defined as the educational experiences gained both through and in spite of the structures of formal schooling. We posit that Disney constitutes and enacts just such a curriculum–both inside and outside of schools–that helps to shape the ways we think, learn, and live. In a recent volume on Disney, Giroux and Pollack (2010) encourage citizens to ask themselves, “How does the power of a corporation like Disney affect my life and shape my values as a citizen, consumer, parent, and individual?” (p. xv). While acknowledging Disney’s ubiquitous potential to craft social and cultural norms and influence identities, we also recognize our own investments in Disney as a source of entertainment and pleasure. That is, we posit that Disney can also provide “opportunities to venture beyond mundane, everyday experience while laying claim to unrealized dreams and hopes” (Giroux & Pollack, p. 7). Therefore, we do not seek only to criticize and/or deconstruct Disney products and perspectives but also to appreciate and understand the ways that the Disney corporation operates to influence education and popular culture in the United States and beyond.

We thus invite educational scholars to engage with the Disney curriculum in a variety of ways that may include critical works on Disney films and/or theme parks, how Disney has been taught and resisted in schools, critical activism focused on Disney, ways in which fans and consumers develop and negotiate their identities through and with their engagement with Disney, and how race, class, gender, sexuality, animality, and consumerism are constructed through and within the Disney megaverse. We seek diverse methodological approaches including but not limited to those that take up perspectives of political economy, ethnography, textual analyses, audience reception and interpretation analyses, and/or approaches that combine one or more of these perspectives. We also welcome theoretical perspectives to studying Disney that include but are not limited to socioeconomic, political, cultural, psychoanalytic, feminist, posthuman, and ludic postmodern approaches to Disney.

Prospective contributors should submit a one-page overview of their proposed chapter, including a brief abstract including a description of the chapter’s central argument, and a potential list of references.

Please send proposals by Monday, April 21, 2014 to: Jennifer Sandlin, jennifer.sandlin@asu.edu


“Toxic Wars” vs. Conscientious Feminism

Media Diversified

by Minna Salami

Minna SalamiMs Afropolitan

In July 1992, an international conferenceWomen in Africa and in the African Diaspora (WAAD) was held in Nigeria. WAAD was a rare event: an interdisciplinary and international conference about African women in Africa.

The conference, which took place in the Eastern town of Nsukka, during an unusually dry week in July (precipitation for this month is normally high in the region) kicked off jubilantly, matching the expectations of the excited delegates.

The camaraderie was short lived however. On day two of WAAD, all hell broke lose. Unexpectedly, the programme convenor, professor of women’s and African studies, Obioma Nnaemeka,found herself having to respond to the question of whether or not white women (about one fifth of the seven hundred or so participants) should be able to “present papers on black women’s experiences”. Some delegates felt that white women, complicit with discrimination…

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The Veil of Naivety: Religion & Misogyny

I’ll just add that I am not against wearing hijab, niqab, burqa etc. Some garments are seen as cultural while these are labelled religious. That wearing something (women not being allowed to wear pants in other christian countries) is legally or societally enforced is a different matter.

The Fire Breathing Feminist

The fact that Salman Rushdie and MF Hussain were threatened by mobs of religious bigots for what were works of literature and art respectively, and that Asaram Bapu was defended from the law by similar mobs, for being a predatory paedophile, might be an absurd, yet amusing paradox to some. But to me, it is a manifestation of everything that’s wrong with the way society perceives religion.


Religious misogyny is a kind that has been particularly hard to call out and address, for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is because religious texts can be dissected, re-interpreted, misinterpreted, and completely bastardised to suit the message of the hour. Euphemisms like ‘family values’ allow religious organisations to tread the fine line between enshrining heteronormative and sexist gender roles in society on the one hand and claiming just to be innocuously prescriptive in the face of criticism on the other hand. Interpretive flexibility allows…

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Oppression against women

So it’s International Women’s Day; as many surely realise apathy towards sexism and sexism itself are still winning, everywhere and here. A petition to Google. Relatedly I’d be keen to know how many women of colour feature in these 17% women total we see in films, currently I only have TV and sporadic internet here (multiracial country with a POC majority) and even in adverts I see few women of colour (counting South African ads, otherwise I recall 2 local ads with WOC and can’t help but notice 1 hair type). That will be for another day.

I’ll write about yesterday’s obvious oppressiveness towards women by national TV director on the occasion of Women’s Day, and the oppression by a vegan group to celebrate Women’s History Month 2012 for the sake of ‘sexist white imperialist gurus’ PeTA or who knows what. Among the consequences of which are this blog but also the fact that there are among local followers, only 2 veg*n women perhaps. This article about sexism and its reinforcement in the Indian context is worth a read if you’re not familiar enough with Gandhi, who was racist and casteist too.

[…]the issue goes way beyond Gandhi. What really matters now, and it matters deeply, is how we respond to what Gandhi did!
Today we like to believe that we are far more progressive in terms of recognizing and condemning the abuse of power by men for sexual exploitation and abuse. And yet, I repeatedly find every time I bring this up [for eg. in this article Gandhi to Asharam: Who Empowers the Sex-Crimes of Gurus?] most people’s responses are defensive and regressive!

Why did MBC director Dhanjay Callikan have to speak at the launch of the Art Exhibition of women artists, for Women’s Day hosted by their corporation, when the vice director of the national TV channels is a woman? On the news, I saw one woman, the organiser of the exhibition, speaking after several men. Then Callikan was quoting Gandhi at the end of his speech.

The second case is about this advert (description included) which promotes sexism and glorification of domestic violence as well as misrepresentation of a part of Indian culture by PeTA. Merely saying the first part of this about the advert got me insulted, then character-bashed and banned from the Vegan Society-Mauritius (VSM) whose image I had boosted as an administrator. I got unfairly banned from the group by sexists who support violence against women. My posts and comments in response got repeatedly deleted (my guess by Harry Pillay) and all this seemed widely tolerated. Last year my fake facebook profile that almost no one knew of and who only participated once, with a different tone and absolutely not knowledgeably, long before, got banned too.

The VSM are not endorsed by Vegan Society UK, if they were, do they have the liberty of giving false and dangerous information on B12 (alleging aloe has B12) in a country where a blood test needs to warrant the need for a B12 injection. If you’ve been vegan a while, you would know about B12 analogues in spirulina etc. and know that a blood test may be misleading. A non-vegan friend of mine just died from some sort anemia, pernicious anemia (from b12 deficiency) can be serious and give rise to irreversible and grave physical effects. Everyone on a bad or sanitized diet is at risk of B12 deficiency, modern agriculture (manure needs to be washed off veggies to avoid E-Coli etc.) and medicine makes us all conducive to it. Another post.

CN for photos linked: Ableist/disablist slurs, I’m lame myself and yet I didn’t know better than to use the term to mean ‘pathetic’ 2 years back.

Snapshot 1 where I’m being defended by someone I later came to know is a Men’s Rights Advocate or a variant, but she was allegedly defending my right to free speech.

Snapshot 2 of my post about the unfairness of getting my comments deleted repetedly by an admin who didn’t even come forward to admit to doing this. Nor did other admins try to figure it out.

Can non-facebook users see these? Let me know.

Day of Mourning for Murdered Disabled people

March 1, worldwide day of mourning for disabled people murdered by caregivers. There is an online vigil beginning at 3:00 PM EST. I usually use GMT but I’ll leave the conversion to you, due to limited interweb today.

Disabled people have lives already strictly confined and limited by institutions and society; our voices are perpetually erased and forgotten. Let us not forget those whose lives have been ended brutally, may their stories live on.

For the online vigil: https://sites.google.com/site/pwddayofmourning2014/

For a list of public vigils: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2014/02/day-of-mourning-2014-2/

Relatedly, I have started (I’ve a private invite-only one, not sure if it will be the same) or am starting a new personal blog following the high levels of apathy around extremely disabling circumstances in which I have been living – because of close ones for the first time ever, at 32, I have to be concerned about my health in the context of life expectancy. I recently moved to a place where I probably have no friend solely because of my nationality. The blog will be a testimony that disablism too can kill. Every little bit may well count, and it adds up. I’ll probably not mention it further. I’ll put a contact detail up (though isn’t my facebook email straightforward?) and interested readers can ask me about it.