Courses / Undergraduate

Summer 2015

  • Documentary Film

    128 | Session A | CCN: 48265

    Jennifer Blaylock

    4 Units

    The primary purpose of this course is to give an overview of the history and theory of documentary film. Yet, recognizing that documentary is one of many non-fiction filmmaking practices, our course will seek to understand and define documentary within a larger constellation of non-fiction media forms like home movies, science and ethnographic films, and reality television. Central to our examination of documentary will be to ask: In what ways do non-fiction media construct objectivity, claim truth, and promote social change? And how have these strategies changed overtime? In order to explore historical changes, this course is divided into several sections roughly relating to key historical periods in the documentary tradition: Documentary Origins (1890s to 1920s), Documentary Traditions (1920s to 1950s), Technologies of Truth: Cinema Vérité and Direct Cinema (1960s to 1970s), New Subjectivities (1980s to 2000s), Those “Other” Non-fiction Forms (1950s to 2010s), and finally, Contemporary Documentary Strategies (2010s).
    Required Texts:
    • Nichols, Bill. Introduction to Documentary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.
    • Course Reader
    Recommended Texts:
    • Gaines, Jane M. and Michael Renov. Collecting Visible Evidence. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
    • Barnouw, Erik. Documentary: A History of the Non-fiction Film. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.