Navigating Media Literacy
A Pedagogical Tour of Disneyland
Published: August 2020
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Published: August 2020
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Published: September 2020

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Published: September 2020
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6" x 9"
Language: English

Navigating Media Literacy: A Pedagogical Tour of Disneyland is an education playbook applied to the vast mediated universe of Disney. Readers of all ages can critically apply media literacy principles while still conscientiously participating as consumer-citizens, media creators, and agents of change. Media literacy is defined throughout this book as an instructional method rather than a political movement.

The book counterbalances the frequently myopic critiques of cultural scholars and the critical exemption granted by those across the world who find Disney to be a source of great pleasure. Integrated theory and practical examples allow readers to investigate of themselves and draw their own conclusions based on real inquisitive, observatory, and creative experiences that constitute media literacy (access, analyze, evaluate, create, reflect and act). Each chapter is ideologically mapped to an actual physical realm of Disneyland (e.g., Main Street, USA; Adventureland; Tomorrowland; Frontierland; Fantasyland). Each site provides a pedagogical playground for experimenting with each media literacy concept (e.g., context, audience, language, ownership, representation). The reader will come away with a deeper pedagogical understanding of how to cultivate media literacy using any context or subject—not just Disney. Each chapter includes discursive excerpts from students, along with assignments, discussion prompts, and classroom exercises, making it a valuable resource as a classroom textbook.

Perfect for courses such as: Media Literacy | Communication and Media Arts | Film Studies | Media History | Transmedia Studies | Business | Marketing

Table of Contents:

List of figures and tables



Chapter One: Mapping Student Perspectives

Chapter Two: Touring the Realms of Media Literacy

Chapter Three: Reconstructing History

Chapter Four: Navigating Audience

Chapter Five: Imagineering Language

Chapter Six: Traversing Authorship and Ownership

Chapter Seven: Dreaming of Representation


About the Author


Reviews & Endorsements:

"Navigating Media Literacy is a work of refreshingly creative scholarship and a fascinating take on teaching and learning. Greenwood more than achieves her aim to provide “gateways into the pedagogical playground of media literacy education.” Teachers and professors will especially appreciate Greenwood’s keen observations of the nuanced ways that students navigate the multifaceted media icon that is Disney, including her willingness to share the things that tripped them up as well as the inquiry strategies that successfully guided students to gradually hone their own critical thinking and reflection skills. Greenwood eschews simple media critiques or defenses, advocating instead for an examination of the connections between students’ lived experiences, Disney’s hyper-constructed “ideal” worlds, and core components of American culture, politics, economics, and history. The result is a welcome and insightful contribution."

Dr. Faith Rogow, Media Literacy Education Maven at

"Navigating Media Literacy is three books in one. Dr. Greenwood offers a coherent argument for media literacy not as a set of skills for evaluating media messages, but as a way of processing all incoming signals through a holistic application of critical thinking. She also gives us the quintessential case history: Disney’s omnipresent, omniverous Black Magic Kingdom of cultural and commercial hegemony. And she presents the playback of a brilliant semester of undergraduate journeying into INeverThoughtAboutThatLand. All in the rarest of academic languages: clear English. Imagine!"

Bob Garfield, co-host of WNYC’s On the Media and author of American Manifesto: Saving Democracy from Villains, Vandals, and Ourselves

"It takes an innovative scholar to enter Disneyland not for the rides and sweets but to explore media literacy pedagogy. Analyzing and critiquing the revered Disney brand takes courage and brilliance. Both of which Dr. Greenwood has a great amount. Navigating Media Literacy: A Pedagogical Tour of Disneyland is a fascinating journey into Disney history and lore through a media literacy lens. More importantly, it’s a deep dive into what a creative, impactful, and student focused classroom can look like. Hearing the students’ voices throughout the pages—their honesty, candor,"
enthusiasm and insight—made me feel as if I was in class with them. While many professors may teach about Disney, Dr. Greenwood teaches through Disney and exemplifies what strong inquiry-based learning can be. Don’t just read this book. Take her class."

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, Executive Director, National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)

"Dr. Greenwood reveals the creative power of media literacy pedagogy in this important new book. For years, media literacy educators struggled with how to address the House of Mouse in ways that respect students’ emotional engagement with Disney culture while advancing the critical thinking and analysis skills needed to understand its cultural, economic and institutional power. In this pedagogical tour, Greenwood shows readers what media literacy education looks like from inside the classroom. No other book in media literacy education has so fully captured the interplay of dynamic learning activities at the heart of media literacy education. Educators from a variety of fields and disciplines will find plenty of ways to advance their own teaching from the many brilliant ideas found here. This book is truly a masterclass in media literacy education."

Renee Hobbs, Professor of the Harrington School of Communication and Media University of Rhode Island and director of the Media Education Lab

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