Films and Readings

Required Books

[Barnouw] = Buy at Amazon Barnouw, Eric. Documentary: A History of the Non-fiction Film. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 1993. ISBN: 9780195078985. [Preview with Google Books]

[Ascher & Pincus] = Buy at Amazon Ascher, Steven, and Edward Pincus. The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: 2013 Edition. Plume Publishers/Penguin, 2012. ISBN: 9780452297289.

[Brenneis & Wohl] = Buy at Amazon Brenneis, Lisa, and M. Wohl. Final Cut Pro X: Visual QuickStart Guide. Peachpit Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780321774668. [Preview with Google Books]

SES # TOPICS FILMS READINGS
LEC 1 Introduction: Doing science and making documentary-film

The Documentary Form

Early Film

  • Lumiere Brothers and Kinetoscope shorts
  • Charles Urban's "Cheese Mites" (1903)
  • Science films of the early 20th century

Background

Buy at Amazon Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. "Introduction." In Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780195314403.

Recommended For Graduate Students

Landecker, Hannah. "Microcinematography and the History of Science and Film." Isis 97, no. 1: (2006): 121–32.

LAB 1 Introduction to the camera with in-class exercise  

Optional Background

[Ascher & Pincus] Chapter 1 in "Introduction to Video and Film Systems" and chapter 3 in "The Video Camcorder."

LEC 2 Documentary and ways of seeing

Nanook of the North. Directed by Robert Flaherty. Black & white, 79 min. 1922. [Full length video at Archive.org]

The Man with a Movie Camera. Directed by Dziga Vertov. Black & white, 68 min. 1929. [Full length video at Archive.org]

Optional Clips

Nanook Revisited. Directed by Claude Massot. Color, 60 min. Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 1990. [Clip]

Buy at Amazon Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner). Directed by Zacharias Kunuk. Color, 172 min. Sony, 2001.

Required

[Barnouw] Chapter 1 in "Glimpse of Wonders" and chapter 2 in "Images at Work."

Additional Reading Required for Graduate students, and Background for Essay Assignment

Buy at Amazon Vertov, Dziga. "We: Variant of a Manifesto." Chapter 1 in Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov. Edited by Annette Michaelson. University of California Press, 1984. ISBN: 9780520056305. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Grimshaw, Anna. "The Innocent Eye: Flaherty, Malinowski and the Romantic Quest." Chapter 3 in The Ethnographer's Eye: Ways of Seeing in Anthropology. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780521774758. [Preview with Google Books]

Bordwell, David. "The Idea of Montage in Soviet Art and Film." Cinema Journal 11, no. 2 (1972): 9–17.

Buy at Amazon Feldman, Seth. "'Peace between Man and Machine': Dziga Vertov's The Man with a Movie Camera." Chapter 2 in Documenting the Documentary. Edited by Barry Grant and Jeanette Sloniowski. Wayne State University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780814326398. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Rony, Fatimah. "Taxidermy and Romantic Ethnography: Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North." Chapter 4 in The Third Eye: Race, Cinema, and Ethnographic Spectacle. Duke University Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780822318408. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 2

Screen camera exercises

Introduction to sound with in-class exercise

 

Optional Background

[Ascher & Pincus] Chapter 10 in "Sound Recording Systems" and chapter 11 in "Sound Recording Techniques."

LEC 3 Science and seeing

Excerpt from "The Trigger Effect." Episode 1 in Connections. Directed by Mick Jackson, narrated by James Burke. 10 volumes, 5 DVDs. BBC/Time-Life, 1978. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjbtLbHn1zQ)

Frames of Reference. Directed by Richard Leacock. Black & white, 26 min. 1960. [Full length video at Archive.org]

Selected clips from films by Harold "Doc" Edgerton, drawn from collections in Edgerton Digital Archives and MIT TechTV

  • "How a High-Speed Camera Works"
  • "A Drop of Milk Falls on a Flat Surface then in a Pool"
  • "Milk Dropped in Coffee, Milk, and on a Red Plate"
  • "Hummingbird Flight"
  • "Pigeon Flying Out of Man's Hands in Slow Motion"
  • "Science Reporter - Underwater Photography"
  • "Nuclear Explosions"

Required

Buy at Amazon Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. "Scientific Looking, Looking at Science." Chapter 9 in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780195314403.

Buy at Amazon Traweek, Sharon. "Iconic Devices: Towards an Ethnography of Physics Images." In Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies. Edited by Gary Downey and Joe Dumit. School for Advanced Research Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780933452961. [Preprint manuscript (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF)]

Recommended for Graduate Students

Haraway, Donna. "This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective." (PDF) Feminist Studies 14, no. 3 (1988): 575–99.

Buy at Amazon Roosth, Sophia, and Susan Silbey. "Science and Technology Studies: From Controversies to Post-Humanist Social Theory." In The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory. John Wiley & Sons, 2008. ISBN: 9781405169004. [This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Preprint manuscript (PDF)]

LAB 3 Exercise: Infinite Corridor walk    
LEC 4 Ethnographic film as science and beyond: from narration to dialogue

Bathing Baby in Three Cultures. Directed by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Black & white, 10 min. 1951.

Under the Men's Tree. Directed by David and Judith MacDougall. Black & white, 15 min. Berkeley Media, 1970.

Joe Leahy's Neighbors. Directed by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson. Color, 1988. 90 min.

Required

Buy at Amazon Mead, Margaret. "Visual Anthropology in a Discipline of Words." In Principles of Visual Anthropology. Edited by Paul Hockings. Walter de Gruyter, 1995. ISBN: 9783110126273. [Preview with Google Books]

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon MacDougall, David. "Visual Anthropology and Ways of Knowing." Chapter 2 in Transcultural Cinema. Edited by Lucien Taylor. Princeton University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780691012346. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 4 Production exercise: shoot a scene with sound and picture  

Optional Background

[Brenneis and Wohl] Chapter 1 in "Welcome to Final Cut Pro."

[Ascher & Pincus] Chapter 14 in "Editing Video."

LEC 5 Ethnographic film: the work of Jean Rouch

Jaguar. Directed by Jean Rouch. Color, 93 min. 1967.

Chronicle of a Summer. Directed by Jean Rouch. Black and White, 85 min. 1961.

Required

Taylor, Lucien. "A Conversation with Jean Rouch." Visual Anthropology Review 7, no. 1 (1991): 92–102.

Feld, Steve. "Themes in the Cinema of Jean Rouch." Visual Anthropology 2, no.3-4 (1989): 223–47.

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon Henley, Paul. Chapters 8, and 9 in The Adventure of the Real: Jean Rouch and the Craft of Ethnographic Cinema. University of Chicago Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780226327150. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 5 Introduction to editing    
LEC 6 Filmmaking as process; Direct Cinema

Primary. Directed by Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, Terence McCartney-Filgate and Albert Maysles. Black & white, 60 min. 1960.

Titicut Follies. Directed by Frederick Wiseman. Black & white, 75 min. Zipporah Films, 1968.

Buy at Amazon The Beatles: The First US Visit. Directed by David and Albert Maysles. 83 mins. Capitol, 1964. [Link includes short clip]

Required

Direct Cinema filmmaker kin chart (PDF)

[Barnouw] "Observer" and "Catalyst", pp. 231–62.

Buy at Amazon Drew, Robert. "An Independent with the Networks." In New Challenges for Documentary. Edited by Alan Rosenthal. University of California Press, 1988. ISBN: 9780520057241. [Preview with Google Books]

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon Winston, Brian. "The Documentary Film as Scientific Inscription." Chapter 3 in Theorizing Documentary. Edited by Michael Renov. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 9780415903820.

Leacock, Richard. "For an Uncontrolled Cinema." Film Culture no. 22/23 (1961): 23–5.

Buy at Amazon Anderson, Carolyn, and Thomas Benson. "Direct Cinema and the Myth of Informed Consent: The Case of Titicut Follies." In Image Ethics: The Moral Rights of Subjects in Photographs, Film, and Television. Edited by Larry Gross, John Katz and Jay Ruby. Oxford University Press, 1991. ISBN: 9780195067804. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 6 Screen Lab 5 editing homework    
LEC 7 The Interview: Errol Morris' window onto science

A Brief History of Time. Directed by Errol Morris. Color, 50 min. DVD. The Science Channel, 1991. [Link includes short clip]

  • Supporting material—interview with Errol Morris about this film

Buy at Amazon Fast, Cheap and Out of Control. Directed by Errol Morris. Color, 80 min. Sony, 1997. [Link includes short clip]

Required

Buy at Amazon Goldsmith, David A. "Errol Morris (Paris, January 9 and 16, 2003)." In The Documentary Makers: Interviews with 15 of the Best in the Business. Rotovision, 2003. ISBN: 9782880467302. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Baker, Maxine. "Errol Morris: American Iconoclast." In Documentary in the Digital Age. Focal Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780240156882.

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon McEnteer, James. "Errol Morris: The Politics of Personality." In Shooting the Truth: The Rise of American Political Documentaries. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. ISBN: 9780275987604. [Preview with Google Books]

Grundmann, Roy, and Cynthia Rockwell. "Truth is Not Subjective: An Interview with Errol Morris." Cineaste 25, no. 3 (2000): 4.

LAB 7

Screen Lab 6 Direct Cinema homework

Interviewing techniques

   
LEC 8 New directions in ethnographic film: Sensory ethnographic approaches

Buy at Amazon Sweetgrass. Directed by Lucien Taylor and Ilisa Barbash. Color, 100 min. Cinema Guild, 2010. [Filmmaker's website with synopsis, trailers, festival program notes].

  • PBS POV: expanded synopsis, filmmaker interview, clip, and other learning materials.

Foreign Parts. Directed by Verena Paravel and J. P. Sniadecki. Color, 80 min. 2010. [Filmaker's website with synopsis]

  • Five trailers at foreignpartsfilm's YouTube Channel.
  • Interview with J. P. Sniadecki, 6:15. produzionidik. "J. P. Sniadecki FOREIGN PARTS." November 15, 2010. YouTube. Accessed July 26, 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eh5bdsN0pwI

Required

Buy at Amazon MacDougall, David. "Introduction: Meaning and Being." In The Corporeal Image: Film, Ethnography and the Senses. Princeton University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780691121567. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Balázs, Béla. "Selections." In Bela Balazs: Early Film Theory: 'Visible Man' and 'The Spirit of Film'. Edited by Erica Carter. Berghahn Press, 2010, pp. 3–87. ISBN: 9781845456603. [Preview with Google Books]

Recommended for Graduate Students

Carter, Erica. "Introduction." In Bela Balazs: Early Film Theory: 'Visible Man' and 'The Spirit of Film'. Berghahn Press, 2010. ISBN: 9781845456603. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon MacDougall, David. "Unprivileged Camera Style." Chapter 9 In Transcultural Cinema. Edited by Lucien Taylor. Princeton University Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780691012346. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 8

Screen Lab 7 interview homework

Present 3 ideas for final projects

   
LEC 9 Reflecting (on) Nature: The power of documentary narrative

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom

Buy at Amazon Grizzly Man. Directed by Werner Herzog. Color, 103 min. Lions Gate Films, 2005. [IMDB page with trailer, clip and featurette]

Planet Earth. BBC, Directed by Alastair Fothergill. Color, 44 min. 2006.

Required

Buy at Amazon Mitman, Greg. Reel Nature: America's Romance with Wildlife on Film. University of Washington Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780295988863.

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon Haraway, Donna. "Teddy Bear Patriarchy." Chapter 3 in Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science. Routledge, 1989. ISBN: 9780415901147.

Buy at Amazon Cronon, William, ed. "The Trouble with Wilderness, or Getting Back to the Wrong Nature." In Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. W. W. Norton & Co., 1996. ISBN: 9780393315110. (This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.PDF)

LAB 9 Present final film project ideas    
LEC 10 Science and the environment: alternative ways of knowing

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change. Directed by Zack Kunuk. 2010. [Full length film in streaming and download formats]

Gasland. Directed by Josh Fox. Color, 107 min. 2010.

Required

Buy at Amazon Wohlforth, Charles. "The Whale." Chapter 1 in The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change. North Point Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780865477148.

Excerpts from Wylie, S. A. "Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds : An STS Analysis of Natural Gas Development in the United States." Ph.D. thesis, MIT, 2011.

Recommended for Graduate Students

Callison, Candis. "Only on CNN": Climate Change, Media and Inuit Traditional Knowledge." Chapter 2 in unpublished dissertation, MIT HASTS Program, 2010.

Buy at Amazon Wohlforth, Charles. "The Inupiat." Chapter 2 in The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change. North Point Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780865477148. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 10 Introduction to lighting (with guest instructor David Tames)    
LEC 11 Picturing science: The personal, the political and the virtual

A Healthy Baby Girl. Directed by Judith Helfand. Color, 57 min. 1997.

Lumumba: Death of a Prophet. Directed by Raoul Peck. 69 min. Velvet Film, 1992.

Life 2.0. Directed by Jason Spingarn-Koff. Color, 100 min. 2010.

Required

[Barnouw] Chapter 3 in "Advocate", and Chapter 5 in "Guerilla."

Buy at Amazon Boellstorff, T. Selections from Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human. Princeton University Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780691146270. [Preview with Google Books]

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon Diawara, Manthia."The "I" Narrator in Black Diaspora Cinema." In Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality, and Transnational Media. Rutgers University Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780813532356. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Citron, Michelle. "Fleeing from Documentary: Autobiographical Film/Video and the Ethics of Responsibility." In Feminism and Documentary. Edited by Diane Waldman and Janet Walker. University of Minnesota Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780816630066. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 11 New online interactive documentary formats    
LEC 12 Documentary filmmaking as process Screening of work-in-progress film Exit Zero, produced and written by Christine Walley and Chris Boebel; directed and edited by Chris Boebel.

Required

Buy at Amazon Walley, Christine J. "Deindustrializing Chicago: A Daughter's Story." In The Insecure American. Edited by Hugh Gusterson and Catherine Besteman. University of Minesota Press, 2010. ISBN: 9780520259713. [Preview with Google Books]

Buy at Amazon Ishizuka, Karen, and Patricia Zimmerman, eds. "Introduction: The Home Movie Movement." In Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories. University of California Press, 2008.

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon Hirsch, Marianne. Selections from Family Frames: Photography, Memory and Postnarrative. Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780674292659. [Preview with Google Books]

LEC 13 Other worlds: From science fact to science fiction and back again

In the Shadow of the Moon. Directed by David Sington. Color, 100 min. Discovery Films/ThinkFilm, 2007.

Buy at Amazon Death by Design. Directed by Peter Friedman and Jean-Francois Brunet. Color, 70 min. First Run Features, 1995.

Selections from Star Trek, the original TV series.

Required

Buy at Amazon Sobchack, Vivian. Selections from Screening Space: The American Science Fiction Film. Rutgers University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780813524924. pp. 89–107 [Preview with Google Books], and pp. 292–9 [Preview with Google Books]

Recommended for Graduate Students

Buy at Amazon Helmreich, Stefan. "Extraterrestrial Seas: Astrobiology and the Nature of Alien Life." Chapter 7 in Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas. University of California Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780520250628. [Preview with Google Books]

LAB 12 Screen rough cuts of final projects (1/2 class); continue editing in the MIT New Media Center    
LEC 14 Editing of final projects; individual meetings    
LAB 13 Editing of final projects; individual meetings (cont.)    
LEC 15 Screen final projects