Documentary Film and History - ARTS3289

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School: School of Humanities and Languages

Course Outline: School of Humanities & Languages

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3

Enrolment Requirements:

Prerequisite: 24 units of credit in the History stream

Excluded: ARTS3277

CSS Contribution Charge: 1 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

View course information for previous years.


Subject Area: History

Documentary film is a dominant form of historical knowledge in today's world. This course explores the ways in which documentary films represent, remember, imagine and find meaning in the past, and their function as "History" in the public sphere. Students will analyse documentary's traditional status as a "truth telling device" in light of similar debates over the nature of history and truth, and explore the tensions between documentary and written histories. The course also addresses the possibilities of the audiovisual archive as a source of historical research, and how the historian-as-documentarian might approach the non-print text as a primary source of historical evidence. Students are encouraged to consider both the limitations and the potential for documentary as a mode of historical production, and what the future holds for history on the screen. What films get made about the past, and when, is an important question for consideration in this course. Topics addressed in this course include the construction of historical memory; ethnography and race; testimony and the historical witness; television histories; historical re-enactment; myth; the audio-visual archive; home movies; found footage; web-based histories, and 'reality' history.

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