ENGL 237
Making Things Visible: Adventures in Documentary Work
Last Offered Spring 2019
Division II
Cross-listed SOC 236 / AMST 236 / ARTH 237 / ENGL 237
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Photography, like ethnography, is an art of looking carefully and taking notice. This course will explore the overlaps between documentary photography and field methods of social science, concentrating particularly on the genre in which the two intersect: the photo essay. The students will learn methods of visual narrative and storytelling, using techniques of interviewing, still photography, and video. Concurrently, we will explore a number of examples of investigative work that blend word and image. We will ask questions about the changing practices and expectations associated with the documentarian’s role, and the evolving media in which such work can be presented. Lastly, we will discuss ethical questions that haunt documentary work, including issues of responsibility and politics of representation, as well as the perennial question of whether “objective representation” is even possible or desirable. Experience in photography and/or video is not required, but students will be expected to master basic technical skills in image acquisition and audio editing taught in a separate lab section. Students should also be prepared to interact extensively with people in the community and spend a significant time off campus doing fieldwork.
The Class: Format: seminar/laboratory
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 3098
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: full participation in discussions, weekly photographic assignments, a research journal, field materials, and an independent final project; in addition to substantial readings, students should be prepared to spend a significant time out of the classroom doing field work
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
SOC 236 Division II AMST 236 Division II ARTH 237 Division I ENGL 237 Division II
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
FMST Related Courses

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