TEACHING HISTORY THROUGH COMICS: IDEOLOGICAL DISCHARGE AND POLITICAL PROJECTIONS
University of Aegean (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The power of the knowledge offered in education depends on the fact that by being presented as scientific, it acquires the dimension of “Absolute Truth” and appears as the definite end of the learning process. Especially in Historical narrative different kinds of superstitions, stereotypes, buffering techniques, selective memory, ambiguities, suppressions etc are concealed under the veil of the scientific adequacy. On the other hand, contemporary theoretical advances in didactics face historical learning as the temporary outcome of the researching process, so that one-dimensional or unilateral interpretive schemata are to be avoided. In the teaching of History in Greek Education- and worldwide as well- Greek Antiquity occupies an outstanding place and is usually being attributed as a totality of morphological elements that constitute a heroic and imposing archetype, transposed out of place and time. Top-ranking moment of Greek antiquity have always been and still are the Persian Wars. The most renowned and popular confrontation has been the one at Thermopiles. The comic book “300” (Frank Miller, 1998), as well as the homonymous movie (Ζack Snyder, 2007), offer a splendid researching starting point, as far as the nature of the source bends the students’ resistance and urge them to cooperate and participate in the researching process. The reflectiive reading of the pictures, the comparison of the historical data of the comic book to other sources, primary and secondary, the placement of the comic book in the present time of its publication, taken the historical and political context into account, endow the introduction of the comic book in the History lesson, with a multivalent potential to activate students’ interest, by merging their critical thinking with contemporary questions. So apart from the revision of the historical facts, we can broach topics concerning ethnic and gendered stereotypes and we can search for contiguous situations in the current political scene.
Keywords: comics, critical pedagogy, history, ancient greece, persia, visual literacy.