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C LIT 240 A: Writing In Comparative Literature

Documentary Truths: Voice, History, and Memory in Post-1960s Global Non-Fiction Film

Summer Term: 
A-term
Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 10:20am - 12:30pm
Location: 
THO 231
SLN: 
10600
Instructor:
Katherine Morrow

Syllabus Description:

Documentary Truths: Voice, History, and Memory in Post-1960s Global Non-Fiction Film

This course will focus on developing students’ writing skills through critical analysis of documentary films from the 1960s to the present. Beginning with the cinema vérité and direct cinema movements in the mid-20th century, filmmakers and scholars have continually questioned methods of documentary filmmaking and their implications. How do non-fiction films present the world? Who has the authority to narrate history? What about someone else’s personal life? What relationship is there between how a film was made and the kind of narrative it presents? Through close formal and rhetorical analysis of films from various countries, students will reflect on the films’ style and argumentation while honing their own textual craft. In addition to discussing the films, much of the in-class time will be devoted to working on each step of the writing process, with particular attention to peer review and editing. Students will learn to develop compelling, analytic arguments with specific, arguable claims supported by detailed evidence drawn from the filmic texts. Films may include Chronicle of a Summer (Morin/Rouch, 1961), The Thin Blue Line (Morris, 1988), and Waltz with Bashir (Folman, 2008) among others. Students who would like to begin viewing the films in advance may contact the instructor for a complete list.

Additional Details:

This course will focus on developing students’ writing skills through critical analysis of documentary films from the 1960s to the present. Beginning with the cinema vérité and direct cinema movements in the mid-20th century, filmmakers and scholars have continually questioned methods of documentary filmmaking and their implications. How do non-fiction films present the world? Who has the authority to narrate history? What about someone else’s personal life? What relationship is there between how a film was made and the kind of narrative it presents? Through close formal and rhetorical analysis of films from various countries, students will reflect on the films’ style and argumentation while honing their own textual craft. In addition to discussing the films, much of the in-class time will be devoted to working on each step of the writing process, with particular attention to peer review and editing. Students will learn to develop compelling, analytic arguments with specific, arguable claims supported by detailed evidence drawn from the filmic texts. Films may include Chronicle of a Summer (Morin/Rouch, 1961), The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (Hara, 1987), The Thin Blue Line (Morris, 1988), Meishi Street (Ou, 2006), and Waltz with Bashir (Folman, 2008) among others. Students who would like to begin viewing the films in advance may contact the instructor for a complete list.

Catalog Description: 
Comparative approach to literature and a workshop in writing comparative papers in English. Emphasis on cross-cultural comparison of literary works. Readings in English with an option to read selected texts in the original languages Offered: AWSp.
GE Requirements Met: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
April 28, 2016 - 9:20am
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