The growing body of work on the history of audiovisual educational media in recent years has also led to intensified methodological efforts to grasp the complex interplay between institutional policies, screening situations, and the form, style, and content of the respective media employed (be they magic lantern slides, educational films or television programs). In particular, the (heuristic) concept of the dispositif has proved to be extremely instructive in this regard, as it allows to map these different elements in a large variety of performative educational situations and describe their pragmatic interrelations: expectations, requirements, goals.
Therefore, we propose to adopt the term educational dispositif as a starting point for a themed issue and define it as a variant of the ‘performance dispositif’ of illustrated lectures that Frank Kessler expounded in a recent article. Kessler has modeled the abovementioned set of elements as a triangular configuration of so-called poles â performance context, text, and user-spectator â that stand in an interdependent, pragmatic relation to each other.
At the same time, by focusing on the educational aspects of the performance dispositif, we want to open up a space for considerations that capture the specificity—and productivity to media and cultural studies—of the pedagogical issues brought to bear on media use in the classroom and lecture hall. On the one hand, this means engaging with the heterogeneous arrangements of objects, people, spaces, technologies, policies, and implicit and explicit norms that constitute actual educational practices, and the contributions of media within them. These arrangements have been the subject of nuanced considerations as well as apodictic prescriptions by pedagogues past and present (as witnessed in many guideline documents) and have recently become the subject of increasing sociological and ethnographic interest.
On the other hand, this means investigating the inventory of pedagogical and aesthetic concepts used in considering and evaluating media objects and their uses for teaching and learning. In the debates about the correct use of media in the classroom, two terms in particular stand out for their connection to media studies: the term ‘contemplation’ (Anschauung), derived from philosophical aesthetics, and the term ‘showing’ (Zeigen), derived from the theory of didactics. Contemplation refers to the complementarity and cooperation of perception and concept as well as an ‘aesthetic heteronomy’ that allows aesthetic objects to be used for the didactic purpose of instruction. (This was fleshed out, among others, in Johann Heinrich Pestalozziâs concept of Anschauungsunterricht, the ‘object lesson’). The goal of showing seems comparatively straightforward: to display something to students that is not immediately given. But educational scholar Klaus Prange, among others, has developed a more fine-grained taxonomy of âshowingâ in pedagogical contexts that encompasses a wide host of activities including not only representation, but also exercise and incitement to react.
While concepts such as these should not be limited to exploring visual media (see for instance the boom of educational audiotapes from the 1960s onwards), much of the expanding use of media in education since the mid-19th century was organized around the idea of visual education, which was understood as an engine for the democratization of knowledge and facilitated by an explosion of reproductive mass media.
For the themed issue we would like to demonstrate the productivity to media studies of investigating pedagogical concepts and practices by outlining the workings of a variety of educational dispositifs of media usage. The issue is open for theoretical and methodological reflections as well as for the detailed analysis of the techniques, grammars, and operations used in the context of media in school, university, educational advertising/counseling, popular education or vocational training/guidance.
Possible topics and focal points include, but are not limited to, the following, concerning both historical and contemporaneous educational uses of media:
We ask interested researchers to submit an abstract of max. 350 words which clearly outlines a research question, relevance of the topic, a theoretical/historical framework, justification of research material and approach, and main argument.
Please send your proposals to the editors of this issue: Marie-Noelle.Yazdanpanah@geschichte.lbg.ac.at and firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: please hand in your abstract no later than 1 October 2021. Authors will be notified of acceptance by 1 November 2021.
The authors of the accepted abstracts will be invited to contribute a full article (max. 8000 words, excluding references and bibliography).
TMG Journal for Media History is an open access peer reviewed academic journal, published in the Netherlands. Its aim is to promote and publish research in media history. It offers a platform for original research and for contributions that reflect theory formation and methods within media history. For more information and author guidelines, see: https://www.tmgonline.nl/
 Frank Kessler, âThe educational magic lantern dispositifâ, Dellmann, Kessler (reds.), A million pictures: magic lantern slides in the history of learning (New Barnet: John Libbey, 2020), 181-191.
 Tobias RÃ¶hl, âUnterrichten. Praxistheoretische Dezentrierungen eines alltÃ¤glichen Geschehensâ, SchÃ¤fer (ed.),Praxistheorie. Ein soziologisches Forschungsprogramm (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016), 323-343.
 Waltraud Naumann-Beyer: âAnschauungâ, in: Karlheinz Barck a.o. (eds.), Ãsthetische Grundbegriffe, Vol. 1 (Stuttgart, Weimar: J.B. Metzler 2010), 208-246.
 Klaus Prange, Die Zeigestruktur in der Erziehung. Grundriss der Operativen PÃ¤dagogik(Paderborn: Brill 2019).