ENGL-247 Political Documentary
Fall for 2013-2014
In an age of simulation and virtuality, documentary has curiously emerged as a privileged genre in the contemporary culture industry based on the claim that it can present the most accurate and authentic view of our increasingly unstable world. Once a minor genre, documentary now enjoys an unprecedented popularity, commercial viability, and political impact by using evidence from the world to legitimate its usage as a source of “real” knowledge. This course will explore the fundamentals of style, form, and structure, of documentary film , video, photo-journalism, as well as other forms such as animation that are not commonly associated with the representation of “reality.” Questions we will ponder include: what is the nature of “the political” in political documentary? what relation between knowledge and pleasure does the documentary propose that differs from narrative fiction? how do our own beliefs determine what we see? As a Level I elective, the class will emphasize close reading, textual analysis and writing in the form of several short papers. No prior knowledge of film is necessary. Films will include: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear, Standard Operating Procedure, Thin Blue Line, The Weather Underground, The Murder of Fred Hampton, When the Levies Broke, Control Room, What Farocki Taught, Road to Guantanamo, Redacted, Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11 Waltz With Bashir Chicago 10.
This course satisfies the College's Humanities & Writing II requirement.
Prerequisites: HUMW 011 (or equivalent course or AP credit)
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