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Documentary History (CIST 1104)

Total Credits: 3
Lecture Credits: 2
Lab Credits: 1

Description: This course explores the history, theory, and practices of documentary film and video, tracking the genre from the actuality films of the early 1900's through the present-day resurgence in documentary film and video. You will study a diverse body of documentary work that explores traditions and values of different social and cultural groups and classes in the United States. You will examine what constitutes a documentary, analyze the fundamental aesthetic tools of documentary filmmaking (camera, sound, structure, and interviewing), and examine the role of technology in the current democratization of the genre.

Topical Outline:
1. Major documentary film movements from 1900 to present day
2. Documentary modes and genres
3. Influence of political, social and cultural circumstances on film content
4. Philosophical concepts such as truth, reality and ethics
5. Evolution of the cinematic language and grammar of documentary film
6. Essential skills involved in the interpretation of films through analysis and critique

Learning Outcomes:
1. Summarize the major documentary film movements
2. Distinguish between various documentary modes
3. Evaluate the impact of cultural, social and political circumstances on the content of specific documentary films
4. Discuss philosophical concepts such as truth, reality and ethics as the relate to the documentary
5. Critically analyze a documentary for its use of aesthetic techniques
6. Identify the evolution of the language and grammar of cinema

Prerequisites:  Placement into READ 1300 or completion of READ 0200 or ESOL 0052

  • Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Goal 7: Human Diversity