ARTH 367 Fall 2014 Documentary Fictions

Cross Listed as COMP367, ENGL367
The first movies excited viewers not by telling stories, but by reproducing the world. A dancer's billowing skirts, the sight of Niagara Falls, the arrival of a train at the station -- such vignettes felt viscerally real. Our fascination with documentaries derives, in large part, from the way such seemingly transparent images are woven into narratives full of hidden assumptions. Every viewer of the Zapruder film sees the same thing: President Kennedy, struck by a bullet, lurches forward. But what that might mean -- whether it points toward a lone gunman or a conspiracy, toward the Soviet Union or the CIA -- still remains uncertain. We'll explore the tensions between image and story, evidence and context, in films ranging from Fred Ott's Sneeze (1894) to Josh Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing, (2012), concluding with a look at the effects of contemporary image technologies on our sense of both personal and national identity. Readings for the course will be drawn from narrative theory, epistemology, and cultural theory, as framed by writers including Trinh Minh-ha, Vivian Sobchak, Christian Metz, and Bill Nichols.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: five written and multimedia exercises; two essays (eight and twelve pages); a willingness to experiment with formats and argumentation; active participation
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: English majors; Art and Comparative Literature majors; students with experience making video
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ENGL Criticism Courses,ENGL Literary Histories C
Enrollment Limit: 25
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1638
ARTH 367 - 01 (F) SEM Documentary Fictions Division 1: Languages and the Arts Shawn J. Rosenheim
MWF 11:00 AM-12:15 PM Schapiro Hall 241 1638
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