“Change the story, change the world”: Gendered Magic and Educational Ideology in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
L. Kaitlin Williams (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Susan Staub

Abstract: This thesis explores educational ideology in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series with a continued focus on the ways gendered magic results in gendered knowledge and education. Pratchett’s witches and wizards demonstrate and even consciously uphold distinct gender separation regarding magical practice, methodology, knowledge, and responsibility, ultimately creating an ideological rift between the two factions. Analysis of the wizards and Unseen University traces their associations with the history of the British educational system, male privilege, elitism, and tradition, reading their order as indicative of Discworld’s “norm” and a repressive dominant educational ideology. Contrastingly, the witches’ and Tiffany Aching’s status as Other and insistence on writing their own stories give rise to an ethics of selfless social responsibility and an educational ideology contingent upon recognizing the constructedness of reality, challenging the repressive realities imposed by a hegemonic society, and instead purveying a reality that liberates and empowers the individual. In light of recent scholarship on the fantasy genre, this thesis concludes suggesting Pratchett’s complex interplay between the “real” and “unreal” enables readers to recognize and question ideological superstructures, ultimately epitomizing Daniel Baker’s notion of fantasy’s “progressive potential.”

Additional Information

Williams, L.K. (2015). “Change the story, change the world”: Gendered Magic and Educational Ideology in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Terry Pratchett, Discworld, Tiffany Aching, Ideology, Fantasy,

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