Browse | News & Events | Ordering | UPP Blog | For Authors | For Instructors | Prizes | Rights & Permissions | Hebrew Union College Press | About the Press | Support the Press | Contact Us
December 2015
368 pages  
33 b&w Illustrations
6 x 9
9780822963882
Paper $28.95 Add to cart

View Cart
Check Out
Other Ways to order
Reframing the Subject
Postwar Instructional Film and Class-Conscious Literacies
Ritter, Kelly
Ritter offers an extensive theoretical analysis of the alliance of the value systems inherent in postwar mental hygiene films (class-based ideals, democracy, patriotism) with writing education—an alliance that continues today by way of the mass digital technologies used in teaching online. She further details the larger material and cultural forces at work in the production of these films behind the scenes and their effects on education trends.

Kindle eBook Available

Nook eBook Available

iPad eBook Available
Kelly Ritter is professor of English and director of undergraduate rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of To Know Her Own History: Writing at the Woman's College, 1943–1963; Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920–1960; and Who Owns School? Authority, Students, and Online Discourse. Ritter also is editor of the journal College English.
“Kelly Ritter’s incisive and fascinating analysis of these films is an argument about how ideology and institutional power work on both the corporate level and the level of individual teachers to shape education. What’s more, she makes a persuasive case for the ways in which new technologies and debates about literacy are, in many ways, reproducing ideologies and practices that are little changed from those of sixty years ago.”—Bronwyn T. Williams, University of Louisville

“I was especially taken with Ritter’s account of postwar current-traditionalism in U.S. composition pedagogy, that includes (for the first time, to my knowledge) instructional films in the educational effort to inculcate and discipline student behavior, including literate behavior, and the longer view of the role of technology in modern schooling, an ever-ready (but problematic) solution to mass proportions, teacher fatigue, and diverse student populations.”—David Fleming, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Complete Description Reviews
Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture Table of Contents
Composition/Literacy Read a selection from this book
close 

“Mental hygiene” films developed for classroom use touted vigilance, correct behavior, morality, and model citizenship. They also became powerful tools for teaching literacy skills and literacy-based behaviors to young people following the Second World War.

In this study, Kelly Ritter offers an extensive theoretical analysis of the alliance of the value systems inherent in mental hygiene films (class-based ideals, democracy, patriotism) with writing education—an alliance that continues today by way of the mass digital technologies used in teaching online. She further details the larger material and cultural forces at work in the production of these films behind the scenes and their effects on education trends.

Through her examination of literacy theory, instructional films, policy documents, and textbooks of the late 1940s to mid–1950s, Ritter demonstrates a reliance on pedagogies that emphasize institutional ideologies and correctness over epistemic complexity and de-emphasize the role of the student in his or her own learning process. To Ritter, these practices are sustained in today’s pedagogies and media that create a false promise of social uplift through formalized education, instead often resulting in negative material consequences.

close 
close 


close 

© 2017 University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.