ANTH 330
The Documentary Project: Ethnography and the Visual Narrative Fall 2019
Division II

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The goals of ethnography and documentary work overlap. Both strive to communicate a compelling sense of people’s lives, and to connect them to broader struggles and issues faced by others. Further, ethnography as a method emphasizes a close and sustained interaction, or “engagement” between the practitioner and her subjects. In this class, students will have the opportunity to practice both engagement and compelling presentation, by working throughout the semester on planning and executing a documentary project. The course will emphasize the use of visual narratives accompanied by text and audio drawn from interviews. Students will practice different types of documentation, and consider techniques for approaching, imaging and interviewing subjects. The practical aspects of developing a project, gaining access, working in unfamiliar environments and editing both visual and audio material will be reviewed. Conceptual topics will include myths about “truth” and “objectivity” in visual media, tensions between the goals of the documentarian and her responsibilities to her subjects, and differences between the documentary and ethnographic point of view. Acceptance into the class requires technical competence in photography or videography (as evidenced by prior coursework or portfolio), and a demonstrated ability to work independently and to commit to a long-term project. Participants should expect to spend significant time working off campus.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 10
Expected: 8
Class#: 1065
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: develop and execute a semester length documentary project under instructor guidance; produce and edit weekly visual and audio content; participate in class critiques
Prerequisites: SOC 236 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: FMST Core Courses

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