Doc Dynasty: Great Documentaries Past and Present
What film won the first Oscar for Best Documentary? Which documentary author also pioneered film criticism? Do color photographs of the Great Depression exist? Where is the largest collection of American documentary photos and films housed?
The 1930s kicked off a foundational period in American documentary media. Artists from various backgrounds employed their technical skills and creativity to represent the social conditions they witnessed in communities around them. Since that time, presenting documentary work has expanded from books, magazines, dance, drama, radio and films to reality television and YouTube videos. Although documentary work varies in its mode of presentation, its content consistently tells the story of socially or individually contentious issues. Beginning with the Depression era and moving to new media examples, this course will analyze the social, generic and aesthetic facets of specific works as well as debate the relationship between documentary and the ideas of truth and reality. Doc Dynasty will also help deepen your library-based research skills through an investigation of a social or individual conflict raised by the assigned documentaries, and over the duration of the semester you will collaborate in small groups and develop basic productions skills in order to create a short documentary.