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Audrey Hostettler

Audrey Hostettler is a PhD candidate at the Universities of Lausanne and Zurich (Switzerland), working under the supervision of Dr. Mireille Berton and Prof. Dr. Margrit Tröhler. Her dissertation project, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (http://p3.snf.ch/project-178348), focuses on the uses of film in Swiss schools during the interwar period. Her research interests include useful cinema, history of technology and history of pedagogy.

Current project: School reforms and uses of film in Swiss schools during the interwar period.

My dissertation project aims to reconstruct the networks of school film practices in Switzerland between 1914 and 1948. By using a methodology based on “useful cinema”, my goal is to reconstruct the network of actors that enabled film to spread to the Swiss classrooms. I question how social, economic, ideological, pedagogical and technical dimensions played into how film was finally used as a teaching tool. My work analyses several case studies, questioning how the usefulness of film was guaranteed: what was considered useful by whom and why, who provided the films, and how were the films concretely used? I particularly try to show the role played by teachers in the construction of educational film networks. I argue that they were key in the elaboration of ways of teaching through film, as well as in production and distribution. An important part of my research also looks at the role of transnational pedagogical reform movements. I argue that film benefitted from the emulation that characterized the pedagogic field in the 1910s and 1920s in Switzerland and that its compatibility with progressive education theories was central in most discourses debating its use.