HIST 301 Fall 2012 Approaching the Past: Documentary Studies and African American History

Comprised of non-traditional sources--photographs, oral history, narratives, folklore, films, fiction, music, poetry, art and other forms--documentary served historically to engender a progressive agenda by projecting the voices of the voiceless in order to illuminate the need for social change. Some examples include Jacob Riis' photographs of the Lower East Side, Louis Lomax's efforts to record folk music, Stud Terkel's interviews with ordinary Americans. But what documentarians have produced also provides a way to access information about the past, especially the stories of people whose lives have not been preserved through archival materials. This course examines the historical development of documentary forms and reviews the work of specific documentarians. It will focus in particular on the uses of various types of documentary as primary sources for research in African American history. Familiar formats, from Frederick Douglass' autobiographies to Henry Hampton's "Eyes on the Prize" series, recorded AND told histories that still remain mostly veiled. But in its unprocessed or raw form--collected work songs, sermons, tall tales, blues lyrics, family snapshots, oral history, and the like--documentary provides a store of rich primary sources that access the voices less often heard. This course will explore that material and what historians do with it.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, weekly written critiques, and a final paper/project
Additional Info: not available for the Gaudino option and cannot be taken Pass/Fail
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: restricted to History majors
Enrollment Preference: senior, then junior, History majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 15-19
Class Number: 1412
HIST301-B1(F) SEM Documentary Studies Division 2: Social Studies Leslie Brown
TR 09:55 AM-11:10 AM Schapiro Hall 241 1412
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