Documentary as Social Practice
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Media Studies
Course Number: NMDS 5225
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
- Civic Engagement
- Documentary Filmmaking
- Media Studies
Documentary, as it has taken form in film, television, videos, literature, photography, theater, and new media, has a long and rich tradition of both theory and practice. The documentary method and debates surrounding it engage with complex philosophical dilemmas about the relation between reality, representation, and ways of knowing. Documentary forms of representation constantly trouble easy distinctions between fiction and nonfiction, rationality and emotion, objectivity and subjectivity, cognition and aesthetic pleasure. They blur socially constructed lines between neutrality and point-of-view, knowledge and creative drama. As a way of making sense of the world and acting within it, documentary raises key questions about the aesthetics, politics, and ethics of representation, knowledge construction, and social action. Documentary media are credited with having immense impact on social and cultural meanings; how groups resist colonization and marginalization; and how issues and events make it into public debate and onto policy agendas. This class will focus on 1) issues that documentary raises concerning ontology and epistemology, 2) issues that documentary raises about the aesthetics, politics, and ethics of representation, and 3) opportunities that documentary media present for innovating new forms of social practice.
Course Open to: Degree Students
Open to Graduate students.