Race, Gender, and Representation in Documentary Film

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Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

How do documentaries tell stories? How do they tell the truth? Why do we believe in the truth that they tell?

Our study of the theory and practice of documentary will focus on how construction of documentary “truth” can be a double-edged sword for people marginalized by race, gender, and other markers of difference. We will examine ways that documentaries can exploit, exalt, or support their subjects, consider the role of ethics in documentary film practice, and pay careful attention to the responsibilities that documentary film directors have to the communities that they represent. Our examination will include careful attention to the formal tools used in documentary filmmaking, while placing documentary films into broader social and historical context. We will consider limits and possibilities of representing race and gender on screen by considering the power the documentarians hold, and the critical importance of wielding that power with thought and care.

In this introductory program, students will learn to use a variety of creative and critical strategies to make documentaries, including video production, video editing, and documentary writing/scripting techniques. Students will read historical and theoretical texts about documentary film, and screen a wide variety of films from the U.S. and abroad. Class work will include weekly seminar papers and screening exercises, analytical essays, research projects, video, audio and editing workshops, observation assignments, and micro-documentary projects.

This program is designed to be an introduction to Evergreen media studies. It is ideal for those interested in pursuing yearlong media programs in the future, as well as for those wishing to integrate media into a broad liberal arts curriculum.

Program Details

Fields of Study

african american studies gender and women's studies media arts media studies

Preparatory For

education, media, visual arts, gender studies, ethnic studies, and African American studies.


Spring Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Tuesday, April 4 at 10am (Lib 1326)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$95 for overnight field trip and museum entries.