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Archive for the ‘17 History and Critical Pedagogy’ Category

“Editorial: Critical Pedagogy”

Chua Beng Huat

In principle, any material objects can be used for pedagogical purposes, depending on what knowledge is to be communicated and acquired. The selection and use of a particular material is therefore necessarily ideological. Furthermore, the ideological intentions of the selector is unavoidable embedded in the selected material; put alternatively, the selected material unavoidably embodies the ideological intention of the selector. Where the selection of pedagogical material is constrained, it is because the authority that dictates the selection is determined to produce a particular mode of seeing and knowing the world as constructed by the selected material. (more…)

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Introduction: History and Critical Pedagogy

11 years and 17 issues in, s/pores is still obsessed with history.

But it can’t really be helped.

Quite a few of us who work on s/pores? have taught history in one capacity or another. As someone who have taught history in schools, I am always interested in the disciplinarity of the subject. How does one teach history – do we teach history by doing history? I have also used popular culture forms to teach history such as comics, woodcuts, political cartoons, films and music. I was keen to find out how others have done it and what their experience was. (more…)

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“The Hunt for Mas Selamat”

Sonny Liew

From Liquid City Volume 2 (Image Comics, 2010)
Used with Permission from Artist

(more…)

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“Beauty World”

Sonny Liew

From ArtReview Asia (2015, and republished in the new edition of Comet in Our Sky: Lim Chin Siong in History (SIRD & Pusat Sejarah Rakyat, 2015)
Used with Permission from Artist

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“History Education, Graphic Novels & Historical Thinking”
 
Joseph Tham 

 
Comics’ socio-cultural status have been gradually elevated in the form of graphic novels since the late 1980s. This meant that sequential art as a genre was able to break out of a traditionally ghettoised corner. The fact that many bookstores have a dedicated section in their establishment signal a shift in the respectability and perception of comics as a legitimate art form.

What this means is that a field seemingly far away from the world of comics like education feels closer than before if one knows where and what to look out for. With graphic novels as more than just a form of literary genre of fantastical articulation and expression but also as a powerful platform for biographical and even autobiographical tract, journalistic and documentary expositions as well as postmodernist mode of experimentation, the genre is now widely accepted and regarded as an art form or at least something closer to that for the more sceptical ones.

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“Writing Emergency: Teaching Singapore Literature in an Historical Frame”

Philip Holden
Literature and history have been uneasy companions for a very long time. Confucians and Platonists have been sceptical about the distance of literary texts from the truth: Aristotelians, in contrast, have seen literary texts as embodying higher truths to which history cannot aspire. My interest in putting literature and history together’s more mundane: literary and historical texts have the potential to rub against each other in interesting ways. For me, teaching Singapore Literature in Singapore offers unique possibilities in thinking through the relationship between literature and history, to ask students to question narratives they already know, and to consider how they might be remade. What is most important to me is that these narratives aren’t simply intellectual understandings of the past: they also profoundly influence the ways in which we understand our own lives, think of our own place in a larger social order, and act upon the assumptions we make. (more…)

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“Teaching the Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye”

Angelia Poon

One of the most rewarding Literature lessons I have taught in the last two years has centered around Sonny Liew’s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. I have assigned the book for undergraduate and Masters-level classes as part of thirteen-week courses with a curricular focus on asking questions about the nature of literariness, literary thinking and ‘Literature’ as a discipline. In this sense, the selection of Liew’s work is perhaps particularly apt given its controversial production history: the graphic novel had its grant from the National Arts Council withdrawn only for Liew and publisher Epigram to see sales soar through the roof. Since its publication, the book has garnered much international acclaim while also bagging the Singapore Literature Prize in 2016. Clearly, prescribing this graphic novel to be discussed among undergraduate and Masters students in small seminar-style settings presupposes that the text is literary. Certainly my students were expected to bring their close and critical reading skills to bear upon the text, subjecting it to the same scrutiny and analysis that one would accord more conventional literary works even if comics are traditionally understood as a popular cultural form. Students were asked to consider The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye in terms of how the text intervened in their understanding of Singapore history and literature. They had to articulate the alternative perpectives it offered and investigate the stylistic and narrative strategies used to bring about not only these perspectives but critical self-examination as well. In terms of the classroom dynamics, it was important for me that students engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate with one another: they had to be willing to listen to others, be brave enough to express doubt and ambivalence, as well as be comfortable enough to justify their own views. (more…)

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