Instructor: Professor Vatulescu
What do we mean by document, documentary, and fiction? How have these concepts and their relationships changed through time? This course starts by considering the beginnings of documentary in literature, film, and the visual arts, from the controversial coining of the term in 1926. We will explore representative works from foundational moments in the evolution of documentary—the beginnings of the newsreel, Soviet and Nazi propaganda, American depression era documentary books, the cinéma-vérité movement, and the rise of autobiographical/personal documentary films, poetry, and archival art. How has the emergence of this new term and its development affected our other key concepts—document and fiction? What is the relationship between documentary modes and particular media and technologies—print, photography, cinema, video, and digital? Other topics include the role of the artist, indexicality and representation, literature as historical document, “fiction in the archives,” false documents and forgery, collage, illustration, and other uses of the document in twentieth century art. Critical and theoretical readings by Paula Amad, Eric Barnouw, Roland Barthes, Stella Bruzzi, Michel Foucault, Jane Gaines, Carlo Ginzburg, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, Barbara Johnson, Bill Nichols, Philip Rosen, Vivian Sobchack, Gayatri Spivak, Susan Sontag, Edward Said, Alan Sekula, Sven Spieker, Ann Stoler, Diana Taylor, and others.