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Hillary: The Movie, The History Channel, and the Challenge of the Documentary for Democratic Education


by Jeremy Stoddard — 2013

Background/Context: In Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (2009), the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence citizens’ decisions about candidates and issues that will appear on election ballots. More important, however, for democratic educators, the ruling was grounded in an assumption that citizens can easily recognize “political speech” when it appears in media such as Hillary: The Movie, the film at issue in the case.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article examines implications of this ruling for democratic education. In particular, this article focuses on the nature of the documentary form in society, including how it is used toward political purposes and how teachers, students, and the public view it as an objective source of information in and out of the classroom.

Research Design: This study is designed as an analytic essay that addresses a critical issue within democratic and media education and draws from a broad base of empirical, theoretical, and conceptual work to examine issues exacerbated by the Citizens United ruling.

Conclusions/Recommendations: This article concludes that critical media education should be a core tenet of democratic education, especially as we move into the 21st century, and outlines areas to address in curriculum, pedagogy, and policy.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 3, 2013, p. 1-32
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16731, Date Accessed: 8/22/2017 10:28:22 PM

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About the Author
  • Jeremy Stoddard
    The College of William & Mary
    E-mail Author
    JEREMY STODDARD is the Spears Distinguished Associate Professor of Education at The College of William & Mary and an affiliated faculty member in the Literary & Cultural Studies/Film Studies program. His research focuses on authentic pedagogy and curriculum in the social studies, the role of media in democratic education, and how teachers and young people engage with media in learning and teaching about history and politics. Stoddard recently coauthored Teaching History With Film: Strategies for Secondary Social Studies (Routledge, 2009).
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