Uncovering the Real
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NHUM 3034
Course Format: Lecture
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
Simple questions of subjectivity and bias and complex philosophical questions about the nature of reality make any attempt to identify truth problematic. The current fascination with the real---reality television, political nonfiction and documentary, memorial making, memoir---reflects not merely our voyeurism and craving for gossip but our deeper longing for clarity, our need to make sense of our world and of ourselves. We investigate the ways writers (Truman Capote, Alice Sebold, Philip Roth, Dave Eggers, James Bradley, Lauren Slater), photographers (Weegee, Robert Adams, Robert Capa, August Sander), journalists (Janet Malcolm, Anthony Lewis, A.M. Rosenthal, Anna Quindlen), filmmakers (Michael Moore, Ken Burns), and architects (Maya Lin, James Ingo Freed) attempt to order and re-order their worlds. We evaluate their methodologies and their crafting skills, uncovering, finally, how they have represented and how they have altered the reality they set out to reveal.