Making Things Visible: Adventures in Documentary Work
Cross-listed as AMST236 / ENGL237 / ARTH237 / SOC236
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: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: full participation in discussions, weekly photographic assignments, a research journal, field materials, and an independent final project
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Enrollment Preference: Anthropology and Sociology majors
Department Notes: In addition to substantial readings, students should be prepared to spend a significant time out of the classroom doing field work.
Distributions: Division I;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST or SOC; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARTH or ENGL
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses; FMST Related Courses
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- ENGL 237 - 01 (S) SEM Adventures in Documentary Work