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Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?Children's Television and Globalized Multicultural Education$
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Naomi A. Moland

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190903954

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190903954.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?

Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?

(p.159) 6 Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?
Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?

Naomi A. Moland

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6, “Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism?,” examines some creators’ hopes that messages on Sesame Square—particularly messages about school attendance, gender equality, and tolerance—could counter Boko Haram’s messages. This chapter addresses both of the book’s overarching arguments. First, as creators decided what messages northern children needed to hear to make them less susceptible to extremist ideologies, they sometimes stereotyped northerners as all being connected to Boko Haram—supporting the book’s first argument that multicultural efforts can reproduce stereotypes. Second, the public curriculum in Nigeria undermined Sesame Square’s antiterrorist messages. Moreover, some creators seemed skeptical that an iconically American educational television program could be a match for an extremist group whose name means “Western education is forbidden.” The current conflict is further eroding intergroup trust and reinforcing stereotypes between groups, making Sesame Square’s messages seem increasingly unrealistic. This chapter explores the particular challenges that terrorism poses to educational soft power efforts.

Keywords:   soft power, terrorism, Boko Haram, Nigeria, Sesame Street, state fragility, US government, USAID, peace education, peacebuilding

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