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Documentary Media: Forms, Histories, Futures - MMCS260

This unit examines the historical development of documentary and its current relationship to rapidly proliferating digital technologies across a range of formats – including radio, television, cinema and online. From its first gestures in the early twentieth century in radio and film to current multimedia experiments online, the documentary has proved to be a resilient and compelling form. The unit considers the implication of documentary's aesthetic and rhetorical strategies in fashioning our relationship to the real and its corresponding status as a way of knowing and of experiencing the world. It exposes students to this large body of work and the critical writing surrounding it. A range of works, authors and forms are considered with critical attention given to the discussions, dialogues and debates that have surrounded their production, reception and broader influence within societies and within media cultures. Themes covered include questions of style/form, auteurship and notions of authenticity; development of the documentary idea within film/video culture and public service radio; changing concepts and notions of the real and the intersection of creative ideas, industry, new technologies and the hybridisation of forms on the documentary text as it now moves into a post broadcast or convergent and online future.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S2 Day - Session 2, North Ryde, Day

Staff Contact(s): Dr Virginia Madsen

15cp at 100 level or above Prerequisite Information


Unit Designation(s):
Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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