Moving Images and Documentary Forms
In this writing-intensive reading and literature course, we will be looking at forms of literary art made with documentary techniques. Working with documentary poems,
documentary films, and other forms of documentary art, we will be looking at how documents (in art and in everyday life) construct ways of imagining the world. In looking at
multiple forms of documentary, we will be looking at how documentary makers in different media work with “moving images.” With the filmmakers, poets, and other artists whose
works we will be encountering, we will be thinking about how literary images relate to visual images, about how images move in the world through different media, and about how
images move us emotionally and kinesthetically.
Over the quarter, we will study the history of documentary forms while we closely engage specific documentary works. Assigned readings include four books of text and images, a
brief history of documentary film, and some essays presenting differing views on documentary and the circulation of images.
As part of a “W” course, the course materials and assignments will provide an opportunity for you to develop your writing capacities. Short writing responses to course
readings and screenings will be due each class. The writing responses will prepare you to write a 5-page response paper in the middle of the quarter (revised over the rest of
the quarter) and a final 5-page research paper.
Class time will be used for film screenings, introductions of (and short quizzes on) key terms and history, discussions of assigned readings, and demonstrations of writing and
research techniques useful for the two papers.
1. Patricia Aufderheide, Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007), 9780195182705
2. Bhanu Kapil, Humanimal, a Project for Future Children (Kelsey Street Press, 2009), 9780932716705
3. Miné Okubo, Citizen 13660 (University of Washington Press, 1983), 9780295959894
4. Jena Osman, Public Figures (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), 9780819573117
5. Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004), 9781555974077