Course Description & Schedule - Spring 2015

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Course Information:

Course Title:
Documentary, New Media and Society - CINE 19 Onl

Course Number: 36329

Section: 831

Prerequisite(s): None

Office Hours and Location: by email appointment:

* CINE 19 is a 3 unit lecture course. Students should expect to dedicate 6-8 hours per week to the course. We will be working over a total of 18 weeks (January 12th - May 17th).

* The class is fully online and does not require any face-to-face campus visits. I can be reached at (Monday-Friday). I will respond within 48 hours.

Course Description:
Examine some of the best current political documentaries and explore how emerging technologies have revolutionized documentary cinema practice and reception. Using the films, critical writings, and original projects, students will investigate the relevance and impact of documentary filmmaking in the context of social networks, blogs, games, cell phones, and 3D virtual communities.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course a student will:

1.     Evaluate the significance of the effects of digital technology on the creation, distribution and uses of contemporary cinema in the context of film history.
2.     Evaluate the significance of mobile cinema and the impact of multi-platform technologies on film form and aesthetics.
3.     Analyze in depth a diverse collection of non-fiction media, including, but not limited to full-length political documentary, short form film, and mobile cinema content.                                                                                 

Required Reading and Viewing Materials:                    
All required reading materials for this course are available in each weekly assignment in Insight. I highly recommend (although not required for the course):

* Introduction to Documentary (2nd Edition) by Bill Nichols

All films are available to view in the Media Center on the Ocean Campus. Most are also widely available to rent from Netflix or Amazon Instant Video.

Technical Requirements:
Use of the Insight online learning system: If you have a question regarding how to use the Insight system, please visit the Online Course Support Center at:

Student Readiness Questionnaire:
Are you wondering if online learning is right for you? Please visit this website and take the online survey to see if this class may be a good fit for you:

Course Content & Schedule: 
(Remember, our schedule is subject to change - please check the weekly assignments on Insight for updates to the course schedule). A more detailed syllabus and course description will be available on Insight on January 12th.


Week One: January 12 - January 18 - Course Introduction

Participate in online meet and greet. Introduce yourself and post a photo of yourself.

Week Two:
January 19 - January 25 - Introduction to Documentary Form
Read: “Defining Documentary Film” by Henrik Juel

Screening: The Murder of Emmett Till (Stanley Nelson Jr., 2003)

Week Three:
January 26 - February 1 - Political Documentary and Social Media
Read: “Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement” by Howard Rheingold

Screening: Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004)

Week Four:
February 2 - February 8 - New Modes of Political Storytelling
Read: “Waiting for Gandhi” by Nicholas D. Kristof & “Listen as Your Story Talks to the Internet” by Lance Weiler

Screening: Budrus (Julia Bacha, 2009)


Week Five:
February 9 - February 15 - The Politics of Identity

Read: “Lessons of Documentary: Reality, Representation, and Cinematic Expressivity” by Jonathan Walley, “Top Five Digital Strategies for Social Issue Filmmakers” by Scott Kirsner & review of The Celluloid Closet by Christopher Bryant in Polari M
Screening: The Celluloid Closet (Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, 1995)                                                       

Week Six:
February 16 - February 22 - Religious Politics and the Social Network
Read: “Jesus Camp Shuts Down Due to Negative Response” by Gretta Curtis & “Is Jesus Camp Objective? Or Unfair?” by Jeffrey Overstreet
Screening: Jesus Camp (Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing, 2006)

Week Seven:
February 23 - March 1 - New Media and the Politics of the Environment
Read: “8 Tips for Effectively Using Social Media for Social Change” by Jennifer James,
"An Inconvenient Truth for Al Gore" by Michael Dobbs & “An Inconvenient Truth: Team Gore Responds” by Kalee Kreider

Screening: An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006)

Week Eight:
March 2 - March 8 - Citizen Journalism and the New Documentary
Read: “Spike Lee’s New Orleans” by Zac Crain, “When the Levees Broke: Spike Lee’s Sonogram of an American Stillbirth” by Barry Michael Cooper, & “When the Levees Broke: Spike Lee’s Tales From a Broken City” by Stephen Holden

Screening: When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Spike Lee, 2006)

Week Nine:
March 9 - March 15 - MIDTERM PROJECT


Week Ten:
March 16 - March 22 - Personal is Political: Personal Narrative and the Birth of User-Generated Content
Read: “Next-Generation Content: User-Generated Content and Social Networks” The Aspen Institute

Screening: Deliver Us from Evil (Amy J. Berg, 2006)

Week Eleven:
March 23 - March 29 - Innovation Week

Week Twelve:
March 30 - April 5 - Spring Break - FINAL PROJECT GUIDELINES

Week Thirteen: April 6 - April 12 - Piece By Piece: The Use of Appropriation in Documentary and the Laws of "Fair Use"

Read: “On Film, at Least, a Rap Star Defies Death” by A.O. Scott, "Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video" by Patricia Aufderheide & Peter Jaszi,  & “Tupac: Resurrection” by Stephanie Zacharek

Screening: Tupac: Resurrection (Lauren Lazin, 2003)

Fourteen: April 13 - April 19 - Avatars or Activists: Political Storytelling in Virtual Worlds

Read: “Watching the Watchers: Power and Politics in Second Life (Part One)"
 by Henry Jenkins
Screening: Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties (Nonny de la Peña, 2004)

Fifteen: April 20 - April 26 - Documentary/Politics/History: Next Generation Tools for Tolerance
Read: “When Life Was No ‘Cabaret’” by Michael Sragow, “Homosexuals” Holocaust Teacher Resource Center, Paragraph 175 Study Guide & “Mobile Phone Technology Activism”

Screening: Paragraph 175 (Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, 2000)

Week Sixteen:
April 27 - May 3 - Documentary, Journalism, and the Search For Truth
Read: "What Makes Journalism 'Innovative?' Lessons from This Year's Scripps Howard Awards" by Mark Briggs, “Enron: Patron Saint of Bush’s Fake News” by Frank Rich & “As Blogs and Citizen Journalism Grow, Where’s the News?” by Rick Edmonds

Screening: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (Alex Gibney, 2005)

Week Seventeen: May
4 - May 10 - Truth to Power: Documenting Democracy

“Facing Voters, Georgia Congresswoman Gets an Assist from Documentary” by Brenda Goodman

Screening: American Blackout (Ian Inaba, 2006)

Week Eighteen: FINAL PROJECT DUE MAY 17th