The historical Youth Novel Malka by Mirjam Pressler and its Reception by Pupils in Germany and in Poland
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SubjectIntercultural education; Intercultural communication; Literature; Children's literature; Young adult; Classroom interaction; Reading comprehension; Historical consciousness; Conversation analysis; German philology; Didactics; Secondary schools; Empirical research; Qualitative research; Area 10; Area 11
At the beginning of the 21st century, the topics of refugees and ex-pulsion in conjunction with National Socialism and the Holocaust play an important role in contemporary children’s literature. Literary portrayals of Jewish childhood during the Second World War are mostly based on authentic experiences of eyewitnesses who are still alive. Against the setting of the approaching transition from the “communicative memory” to the “cultural memory” (Assmann 2008, Welzer 2008), literary texts are vitally important for social memorialization. However, so far there has been little empirical exploration into how these texts are read by adolescents and how they find their way into the cultural memory of literature classes. Furthermore, the didactic theory that children’s literature should contribute to intercultural understanding requires an empirical foundation. This was the basis for my study, Literarische Gespräche im interkulturellen Kontext - Discussions about Literature in an Intercultural Context – (Hoffmann 2011). In a qualitative-empirical study, I explored the reception of Mirjam Pressler’s novel Malka Mai – Malka (2002) – by secondary school students in German language classes in Germany and Poland. The aim of my research project was to reconstruct learning potentials in discussions about literature within an intercultural context. Given the novel’s potential meanings and the demands it places upon its readers, I would like to demonstrate in this article the different ways in which it is received, as well as to show which areas of tension lie behind the subjective receptions.
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