The "Creative Treatment of Actuality" with Camera,
Microphone, Computer, and Pen
[Honors Section]

Course Syllabus and On-Line Resource Links
Fall 2008

Prof. Gerald Zahavi
Dept. of History, University at Albany-SUNY
Classroom: SS 145 (History Conference Room)
Course Schedule: Tu 2:45-5:35
Office: SS 060R
Phone: 518-442-5427
Office Hrs: Tu/W 10:00-12:00 and by appointment
[I am also available to meet with individual students or groups over lunch --
formally or informally --
at the Indian at the Commons dining room in the Campus Center.]
E-mail: [email protected]


Nonfiction, research-based films, radio programs, hypermedia presentations, photographs, and long-form analytical narratives shed light on our world. They portray real people, events, and situations--but with an aesthetic sensibility that transforms these depictions into compelling statements about all aspects of our social, cultural, political, and economic lives. As John Grierson, a pioneer of the documentary form, noted, “Documentary is the creative treatment of actuality.” It is that special combination of fealty to the real and authentic and attention to artistry and personal vision that defines this distinctive genre and that invites such a broad variety of humanists and technophiles into its fold.

This is a gateway course for all students majoring in Documentary Studies and those seeking an understanding of its myriad forms. It is also an excellent opportunity for all students to obtain a general introduction to the theoretical and practical approaches to documentary work in radio/audio, video/film, hypermedia/multimedia, photography, and long-form nonfiction writing. The course will cover both the history and rudimentary skills involved in the production of each documentary mode, placing a strong emphasis on linking the research methods of the social sciences and the humanistic concerns of the arts. Among the subjects covered in Doc 251/His 251 are: media archives and archival research, ethical and legal issues associated with documentary research and production, the history and theory of documentary photography, film, radio, long-form non-fiction prose and documentary editing—as well as the newest documentary genre, hypermedia.


The following statement of policy is required by the University at Albany: It is assumed that your intellectual labor is your own. If there is any evidence of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, the minimum penalty will be an automatic failing grade for that piece of work. Plagiarism is taking (which includes purchasing) the words and ideas of another and passing them off as oneís own work. If another personís work is quoted directly in a formal paper, this must be indicated with quotation marks and a citation. Paraphrased or borrowed ideas are to be identified by proper citations.


Grades will be based on:

* Short documentary projects (25%) -- Three documentary projects are listed below -- in the course schedule. You must complete any TWO OF THEM. All focus on the Hudson River and Hudson River communities, in anticipation of the 2009 quadricentennial of Hudson's exploration of the Hudson River. I'll have more details about the projects in class.
* Class attendance and participation (10%).
* Course Journal/Log (20%; S/U graded only). A course journal in the form of a "documentary" log is a natural choice of assignment in an introductory class in documentary studies; in it you will record your reactions to what you see, hear, and read for class, as well as your reaction to speakers, exhibits, films, and radio productions you might listen to outside of class, or ideas you might generate about possible documentary projects. Your journal should be as detailed and specific as possible -- recording locations, dates, exhibition titles, descriptions, and so on -- and it should include both "factual" information as well as what you think and feel about what you are seeing, hearing, and reading. It is a place where you can put into practice some of the basic lessons and skills of documentary work: honesty, acute observation, precise and detailed description and analysis., and informed judgment. Your journal should contain both guided and unguided content entries. "Guided" journal entries are those specified in the syllabus below -- assignments that begin with Guided Journal Entry and that are usually about assigned readings, Web sites, photograph and film viewings, or listening exercises; unguided entries are regular and less formal writings reflecting your views on class discussions, assigned readings, documentary writings, films, radio pieces, photographic exhibits (on line and in museums/exhibition halls), and so on. Journals will be collected three or four times over the course of the semester, so make sure you are keeping up with them and discipline yourself to write something every day! If you're serious about documentary work and documentary studies, than you should get into the habit of writing . . . writing . . . writing. Even if you are really "only" interested in, and sharply focused on, film, photography, or radio -- writing is where all great projects begin.
    Unlike the project assignments -- including the final project -- which you are required to submit electronically, your course journals need not be kept in digital form. In the past many students preferred to submit them electronically. Others set up on-line blogs, and still others utilized traditional hand-written notebooks. The journal will be evaluated S/U and an S will be awarded if you 1) you are keeping up with journal entries and turning it in when asked and 2) you make substantive entries for both "guided" and unguided entry assignments -- reflecting your own thinking about your subject, and NOT merely going through the motions with minimal entries. Please DO NOT plagiarize in your journals (yes, believe it or not, students have occasionally done this); keep them your journals! Although the journals will be graded S/U, if you submit exceptional journals, I will raise your final grade at least one step [for example, if you have a B+ average at the end of the semester and your journal entries were substantive, well-written, and well thought out, I will raise your grade to an A-.]
* Quizzes (20%).
Three quizzes/exams on reading, viewing, listening assignments, class discussions, and lectures will be given over the course of the semester. I will count your best two scores toward your final grade. Tests will be announced one week in advance.
* Final project: documentary prospectus (25%): documentary prospectus. The prospectus should be a detailed narrative, approx. 10 pages in length, that offers a comprehensive description of a documentary project you might wish to undertake. This might be a photography exhibit, a documentary radio or film production, a documentary Web site, or a narrative nonfiction book or extended writing project. You might expand one of your projects (treating it as a pilot) and making it the focus of a more ambitious undertaking described in your prospectus. Your prospectus should include:
1) a comprehensive narrative describing your project, including its rationale (why this topic; why this format; why this approach),
2) a discussion of intended audience,
3) a review of related projects (and how yours will differ from them),
4) a full discussion of research strategies and sources,
5) an overview of production tasks, and
6) a detailed exhibition/book/film/radio production outline (depending on what sort of documentary project you are planning).
7) a comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
The prospectus should be submitted electronically, either as a Word or Wordperfect document. If this is a problem, talk to me.


  • Required Readings (these are our core texts; they will be supplemented by on-line and reserve readings and resources):
    • Patricia Aufderheide, Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007).
    • Robert S. Boynton, The New New Journalism (Vintage Books, 2005).
    • Robert Coles, Doing Documentary Work (Oxford, 1997).
    • Ken Light, Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000).
    • Liz Stubbs, Documentary Filmmakers Speak (Allworth Press, 2002).

  • Recommended Readings:

    • Jonathan Kern, Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2008).

Additional readings are available on the World Wide Web through links on this syllabus and on electronic reserve. Some items, due to copyright/fair use restrictions are ONLY available to enrolled class members on electronic reserve.


Course Outline

Class 1 (Tuesday, Aug. 26): Course Introduction and Introduction to the Range of Documentary Work

Class 2 (Tuesday, Sept. 2): Ethics and Ideology in Documentary Work

Films: Selections from To Render a Life: "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" and the Documentary Vision (1993) and Stranger with a Camera (2000).

Required Readings:

  • Robert Coles, Doing Documentary Work, 1-86.
  • Selection (pp. 7-16 & 319-348) from James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941). [Electronic reserve]
  • Recommended Readings:

    • Calvin Pryluck, "Ultimately We Are All Outsiders: The Ethics of Documentary Filming," Appeared originally in: Journal of the University Film Association, vol. 33 (1976): 21-29. [On electronic reserve].

    Assignment: (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to the films shown last week in class and to this week's reading assignments.

    Class 3 (Tuesday, Sept 9): Documentary Reportage, Documentary Writing / I

    Documentary writing merges techniques of participant or close observation, oral history, field and archival research, and literary interpretation of non-fiction subjects - social, economic, political, scientific, cultural. The documentary writer accurately and creatively narrates and interprets the details of everyday life or the technical and imaginative work of experts, the course of large and small events, and the lives of the obscure or the prominent.
    In this segment of the course, students will be introduced to the tradition of documentary writing and editing, the relationship between fiction and nonfiction writing and reportage, the various research methodologies employed by documentary writers, and the broad range of narrative structures and editing strategies available to the documentarian. We’ll look at selections from some past classics as well as some more modern works.

    Required Readings:

  • Robert Coles, Doing Documentary Work, 87-145.
  • Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle (1839): [preface and chapter 17]. There are other copies widely available on the WWW.
  • Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives (1890): Read preface, introduction, and chapters 20-21.
  • George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933): [chapters 1, 14, 37, 38].
  • John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World (1919), read preface and chapter 4 ("The Fall of the Provisional Government"):
  • Recommended Resource:

  • Henry David Thoreuu, Walden (1854):
  • Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities (1904). Selection, at:
  • Howard Zinn on Reds and John Reed:
  • John Hersey, Hiroshima (1946).
  • Steve Rothman, "The Publication of "Hiroshima" in the New Yorker," (on-line; 1997), (
  • "John Hersey's Hiroshima: A Dramatic Reading."Real Media | MP3. Time: 51:50.
    Here is long selection from a 2003 dramatic reading of John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece "Hiroshima" written following his journey to Japan in the months following the U.S. atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945. Produced by Brian DeShazor and Mark Torres, in association with Artists United and The Feminist Majority. Adapted for radio by John Valentine. Directed by Michael Haney. Music by Mark Snow." Readings by Tyne Daly, Ruby Dee and Roscoe Lee Brown, Daniel Benzali, Roscoe Lee Browne, Esther K. Chae, Michael Chinyamurindi, Tony Plana, Jeanne Sakata, Chris Toshima and John Valentine.
  • Assignment: (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to this week's readings and last week's films.

    Class 4 (Tuesday, Sept. 16): Documentary Reportage / Documentary Writing, II

    Guest Presenter: Prof. William Rainbolt, Journalism

    Required Readings:

  • Robert S. Boynton, The New New Journalism (Vintage Books, 2005), read: introduction and preface (xi-xxxiv); Ted Conover (3-30); Richard Ben Cramer (31-52), Leon Dash (53-72); Jane Kramer (183-205); Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (227-247); Susan Orlean (271-292); Gay Talese ( 361-378); Lawrence Wright (434-456).
  • "The Yellow Bus" in Lillian Ross, Reporting (NY, 1961). [Electronic reserve] Consider the following questions in reading "The Yellow Bus" and be ready to discuss them in class:
    1) Where did Lillian Ross get the idea for this story? 2) How did she gather the information, quotes, descriptions, and so on? 3) How was she able to represent two things occurring at the same time but in different places? 4) What is this article "about"? 5) How would you describe the "teller" of this story -- the reporter?
  • Selections from Ted Conover's writings:
    1) Coyotes: A Journey Across Borders with America's Illegal Migrants [xvii-xix; 3-64; 261-264] and 2) Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing [3-56]. [Electronic reserve]
  • Warren Lehrer & Judith Sloan, Crossing the Blvd: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America (New York, 2003) (selections). See also their Web site:]. We'll revisit it when we discuss hypermedia compostion.
  • David Isay and Stacy Abramson (text) and Harvey Wang (photographs), Flophouse: Life on the Bowery (New York: Random House, 2000), pp. 105-148. We'll revisit this documentary project in another form -- as a radio documentary -- later this semester. [Electronic reserve]
  • Recommended Resource:

  • Narrative Digest [Nieman Foundation for Journalism,Harvard Univerisity]:
  • Assignment: (Guided Journal Entry) Write an entry in your journal discussing the the readings -- particularly "The Yellow Bus" and Ted Conover's work. Make sure to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Conover's approach to documentary writing/reportage.

    Project 1: Utilizing 17th through19th century newspapers and magazines, find three or four articles that focus on an interesting facet of life along the Hudson River and in Hudson River communities. Scan or copy the articles and write a short 2-3 page introductory essay about them, suggesting what surprising insights they offer us about life along the Hudson in past centuries. You might explore culture, work, trade and business, education, war, personal relations, indian-white relations, and so on. Hand in the articles and your essay.

    Class 5 (Tuesday, Sept. 23): Visual Documentary Work: Documentary Photography, I

    Documentary photography and cinematography combine science and art, reality and deception. In this segment of the course students will first be introduced to how photography has been used to observe and comment on various aspects of the human and natural world. We’ll begin by surveying the 19th century roots of documentary photography, and examine some of the key theoretical “manifestoes” related to the social and transformative impact of photographs. We’ll view the work of past and present documentary photographers -- and explore the range of subjects and approaches that are represented in their works. From still photography, we'll move into an exploration of different documentary motion picture genres. We'll explore some basic questions about authenticity, representation, voice, authorship, form, and politics and examine the broad range of documentary work produced from Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922) to such recent work as Errol Morris' The Fog of War (2004) and Davis Guggenheim's An Inconvenient Truth (2006).

    Guest Presenter: Prof. Ray Sapirstein, Dept. of History

    Required Readings:

  • Alan Trachthenberg, Reading American Photographs : Images As History-Mathew Brady to Walker Evans. Hill & Wang, 1990, chapter 4 (pp. 164-230). [electronic reserve].
  • Lincoln Kirstein, "Photographs of America: Walker Evans," in Walker Evans American Photographs (Museum of Modern Art, 1938; 1988). [Electronic reserve].
  • Web Site: “Making Sense of Documentary Photography” at:; also available as a downloadable PDF file at:
  • Look throught the following Web exhibits:
    1) Roger Fenton's Documentary Photographs of the Crimean War: [];
    2) Matthew Brady Documenting the Civil War:;
    3) Photographs of Lewis Hine [];
    4) Photographs of Walker Evans [];
    5) Photographs of Dorothea Lange [];
    6) Photographs of Jacob Riis []
  • Assignment: (Guided Journal Entry) Analyze the work of any one of the photographers listed below and compare it to that of any of the photographers listed above. Discuss subject matter; point-of-view; composition/pose; perspective; light, color, and contrast; and any other elements that strike you as important. Use some of the pointers suggested in the Web site "Making Sense of Documentary Photography" above to analyze the photographs. [Note: I have linked to some useful Web site for SOME of the below photographs, but not all. Search on Google or look them up in the library. Some are poorly represented on on-line sources -- or their work is widely scattered among multiple sites -- and you may have much better luck in the library].

    * Berenice Abbott: [];
    * Ansel Adams: [<];
    * Robert Adams: [;
    * Manuel Alvarez Bravo: [];
    * Eugene Atget:;
    * E. J. Bellocq;
    * Karl Blossfeldt;
    * Margaret Bourke-White;
    * Bill Brandt;
    * Roy DeCarava [];
    * Robert Doisneau;
    * William Eggleston;
    * Emmet Gowin;
    * John Gutmann;
    * Theodore Horydczak[];
    * William Klein;
    * Josef Koudelka;
    * Jacques-Henri Lartigue;
    * Clarence John Laughlin;
    * Russell Lee;
    * Helen Levitt;
    * Lisette Model;
    * Tina Modotti;
    * Eadweard Muybridge [];
    * Arnold Newman;
    * Timothy O'Sullivan [Sample some of his photographs at: and]
    * Gordon Parks;
    * Alexander Rodchenko;
    * Milton Rogovin [];
    * Edward Rothstein;
    * Sebastiao Salgado;
    * Ben Shahn [];
    * W. Eugene Smith
    * Edward Steichen [];
    * Alfred Stieglitz;
    * Paul Strand [];
    * William Henry Fox Talbot;
    * Doris Ullman,
    * Marion Post Walcott [],
    * Carleton E. Watkins [];
    * Minor White.

    Recommended Readings:

  • Robert Coles, Doing Documentary Work, 146-252.
  • Guide to the Dorothea Lange collection - Online Archive of California. [Repository: Oakland Museum of California]:
  • Dorothea Lange Oral History:
  • Thomas W. Kavanagh, Reading Historic Photographs.
  • "Historic photographs of American Indians, long used simply as images or as illustrations, can be sources of ethnographic and historical information . . ."
  • Notes on Photoanalysis:
  • Maren Stange, Symbols of Ideal Life: Social Documentary Photography in America 1890-1950 (Cambridge University Press reprint Edition, 1992).
  • An Interview with Photographer William Henry Jackson. (1941).
    Real Media | MP3. Time: 23:58. This sound recording comes from the Records of the Department of the Interior, Office of the Secretary of the Interior. It is an interview with William Henry Jackson (April 4, 1843-June 30,1942), photographer and painter of the pioneer West, conducted a day before his 98th birthday. It offers -- to borrow NARA's catalog summary: "a general review of Jackson's career as a landscape photographer and artist, with special attention to the frontier period and his work with the great geological surveys of the 1870s." The interview was conducted by Shannon Allen, director of the Interior Department's radio station. The Department of Interior records contain additional interviews with Jackson, though their audio quality is poor. For more information about Jackson, see:
  • Out of One, Many: Regionalism in FSA Photography [An excellent U. of Virginia on-line project]:
  • (Tuesday, Sept. 30): NO CLASS

    Class 6 (Tuesday, Oct. 7): Visual Documentary Work: Documentary Photography, II

    Guest Presenter: Prof. Phyllis Galembo, Art Department [3-4 PM]

    Required Readings/Viewings:

    • Ken Light, Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000).

    Recommended Readings:

    Assignment: (Guided Journal Entry). Write about your reactions to this week's reading assignment -- and the various ethical, political, technical, and aesthetic issues discussed by the various inviduals profiled in Light's book.

    Class 7 (Tuesday, Oct. 14): Visual Documentary Work: An Introduction to Visual Anthropology and Visual Sociology

    Guest Presenter: Prof. Ronald Helfrich, History and Communication


    Recommended Readings/Viewings:

    • Nanook of the North (1922) and Nanook Revisited (1990) [IMA Productions and La Sept ; written by Claude Massot and Sebastien Regnier; directed by Claude Massot].
    • Jean Rouch, Cine-Ethnography, Ed. and trans. Steven Feld (Minneapolis: Minnesota UP, 2003), selections; 29-46; 229-265; 275-329.
    Class 8 (Tuesday, Oct. 21): Visual Documentary Work: History and Range of Documentary Filmmaking, IRequired Readings/Viewings:

  • Patricia Aufderheide, Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2007), 56-106; 117-end.
  • Liz Stubbs, Documentary Filmmakers Speak (New York, 2002), pp. 3-67.
  • Recommended Readings/Viewings:

    • Ford Motor Company's Motion Picture Department (full collection now at the National Archives). Selections available at
    • Erik Barnouw, Documentary: A History of the Non-fiction Film, 2nd revised edition (Oxford University Press, 1993).
    • Richard Meran Barsam, Nonfiction Film: A Critical History (Indiana University Press, 1992).
    • Sheila Curran Bernard, Documentary Storytelling for Video and Filmmakers (Focal Press, 2004).
    • Genevieve Jolliffe and Andrew Zinnes, The Documentary Filmmakers Handbook (Continuum, 2006).
    • Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary (Indiana University Press, 2001).
    • Bill Nichols, Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary (Indiana University Press, 1991).
    • Brian Winston, Claiming The Real: The Documentary Film Revisited (British Film Institute, 1995).

    Project 2: Here you have a choice of one of the following:
    1) Utilizing paintings, graphical images, photographs, and motion pictures produced over the past 400 years (don't go beyond the 1930s), find a series of images that document any aspect of life and labor along the Hudson. Prepare reproductions of them -- scans, photocopies, digital copies -- and write a one page introduction to your collection, explaining what insights they offer us about past life and experience of men and women who lived along and interacted with the Hudson River. Make sure you document your sources carefully. Who produced them? When? Where did they first appear? Where are they held (for example, in which museum or private collection?).
    2) Prepare a series of 2-3 dozen photographs, along with a short 2-3 page introduction on any aspect of contemporary life and labor along the Hudson -- or produce a SHORT documentary film. For example: film an old abandoned factory, research and and tell its story; document recreational activities along the Hudson; prepare a series of photographs of a small town or community along the Hudson -- illustrating how its residents interact with the River).

    Class 9 (Tuesday, Oct. 28):Visual Documentary Work: History and Range of Documentary Filmmaking, II

    Guest Presenter: Prof. Sheila Curran Bernard, History and Documentary Studies

    Required Readings [NOTE CHANGES; some items added and others moved]:


    * (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to this week's readings/Web assignments.

    Class 10 (Tuesday, Nov. 4):Visual Documentary Work: History and Range of Documentary Filmmaking, III

    Required Readings:

    • The Endurance /
      An examination of the achievements of Frank Hurley, the photographer who documented Sir Ernest Shackleton's famous 1914-1916 Antarctic expedition.
    • An interview with D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. RealMedia  MP3. Recorded on 9-25-1998 and broadcast on Talking History on 10-1-98. Interviewed by Julian Zelizer; recorded and edited by Gerald Zahavi.
    • An interview with George Stoney, Part 1: Real Media. | MP3. Time: 30:04.
      Part 2: Real Media. | MP3. Time: 18:40. Gerald Zahavi interviews George Stoney about his life and career as a documentary filmmaker and pioneer in community media. The interview focuses on Stoney's various projects, including field work under Howard University's Ralph Bunch for Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, and collaborations on over 50 films, including the historical documentary, "The Uprising of '34." Stoney has taught filmmaking at NYU for more than three decades.

    Films: Selections from: War Photographer; Vietnam's Unseen War; National Geographic: The Photographers, and several other films. Film excerpts will be viewed and discussed in class.


    * (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to any one of the films discussed in the assigned readings for last week (from Liz Stubbs's book) -- one you can obtain locally or on campus. If possible, bring the film to class and be prepared to play a section of it for the class (also be prepared to explain why you chose the section that you did).

    Web site resources:

  • Web site for An Inconventient Truth:
  • Web site for Fog of War:
  • Class 11 (Tuesday, Nov. 11: Aural Documentary Work, I

    This segment of the course introduces students to the history of audio/radio documentaries and the use of digital technologies in contemporary audio documentary production. It will survey the earliest history of sound recording, the theory and practice of acoustic ecology and its relationship to documentary work, the basic theory and practice of sound recording and editing, and the use of modern digital technologies in the telling of "sound stories" in the form of finished radio documentaries (exploring various formats and styles that have proven successful).

    Required Listening/Readings:

    • Charles Hardy, "Authoring in Sound" (unpublished essay, 1999). [On electronic reserve].
    • Black and African []
    • Listen to the following documentary: "Remembering Kent State, 1970." Part 1: Real Media. MP3. Time: 26:40. Part 2: Real Media. MP3. Time: 29:20. "When thirteen students were shot by Ohio National Guard Troops during a war demonstration on the Kent State University Campus on the first week of May 1970, four young lives were ended and a nation was stunned. More than 30 years later, the world at war is a different place. However, those thirteen seconds in May, 1970 still remain scorched into an Ohio hillside. Through archival tape and interviews, Remembering Kent State tracks the events that led up to the shootings. Produced by Mark Urycki and first aired on WKSU-FM on May 5, 2002."
    • Oral history and Aural History ~ Case studies from the Cold War:
      1) Toshi Higuchi interview of Ronald Benoit." (10-31-2004): Real Media. MP3. Time: 13:14. This is an edited selection from an interview with Robert Benoit conducted on October 31, 2004 by former University at Albany graduate student Toshi Higuchi as part of his final project for "Readings and Practicum in Oral History," an oral history course.
      2) Gerald Zahavi interview of Roger Ray ~ Castle Bravo." (May 2004): Real Media. MP3. Time: 14:37. This is a selection from an extended interview conducted by Gerald Zahavi with Roger Ray. Between 1948 and 1958, the U.S. tested 66 nuclear devices in the Marshall Islands -- in the Bikini and Enewetak atolls. Ray played a key role in supervising many aspects of the latter series of tests, and later in attempts to clean up Enewetak Atoll and repatriate the Enewetakese (they had been relocated to a distant atoll before the tests began). In this segment, Ray recalls one of the hydrogen bomb tests that went wrong, Castle Bravo. For more information about Castle Bravo and other tests, see: and
      3) "Roger Ray on the Enewetak Clean-up and Repatriation of the Enewetakese" (2004).
      Real Media. MP3. Time: 6:11
      . In this selection from the above interview, Ray talks about the clean up of Enewetak Atoll and his involvement in the repatriation of the Enewetakese.
      4) "Linus Pauling" (1958). Real Media. MP3. Time: 14:10
      On February of 1958, noted physicists and Noble Prize winners Edward Teller (the "father" of the H-bomb) and Linus Pauling sat down to debate the effects of continuing nuclear testing and fallout on humans. This is Pauling's initial comments during the debate. For more information about Pauling's career and anti-nuclear activism, see:
      5) "The Enewetak Clean-Up." (1977). Real Media. MP3. Time: 10:48. This is the sound track from a Department of Defense film titled "Preparation Clean Up, Enewetak Atoll" (1977). It was produced by the Defense Nuclear Agency and shows "the actions being taken to cleanup the islands comprising Enewetak Atoll so that the previous inhabitants could return to live on some of them. The inhabitants were forced to relocate to other islands in 1948 when the United States began atmospheric testing of nuclear devices at the Pacific Proving Ground. Over the 1948-1958 time period, 43 tests were conducted on or near Enewetak Atoll. Numerous decaying, abandoned buildings are shown that had to be demolished, while others were still suitable for use by the returning people. Homes, schools and government buildings had to be built. The film details the radiation studies conducted to determine the extent of contamination and the uptake of radioactive particles by plants. Some parts of the Atoll would never be suitable for habitation because of the extent of contamination. One of the decontamination activities planned was removing the contaminated soil, transporting it to craters on one of the highly contaminated islands, and encasing it in concrete. Those organizations cooperating in the cleanup effort included the Atomic Energy Commission, the Coast Guard, the Defense Nuclear Agency, and a marine biology firm."


    * (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to Mark Urycki's Remembering Kent State.

    Class 12 (Tuesday, Nov. 18): Aural Documentary Work, II

    Required Readings:

    • Marcus Rosenbaum and John Dinges, Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Radio Journalism and Production [Selections on electronic reserve. Read the following sections: "Conceiving Features," "Delivery," "Interviewing," and "Producing Features"; A newer version of this book, by a different author (Jonathan Kern), is available at the bookstore.
    • Linda Wertheimer, Listening to America (selection). [On electronic reserve].
    • Read script for segments 13 of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," available through the following link: Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
    • Listen to and read script of David Isay's "Sunshine Hotel." Be ready to discuss the following in class: research, story structure, sound elements, transitions, and more.

    Recommended Reading/Listening:

    DNA Files radio series. "Hosted by John Hockenberry and guided by an outstanding panel of advisors, the documentaries and features explore the science of genetics and its ethical, social and legal implications. Produced by SoundVision Productions and distributed by National Public Radio, the series has met with wide acclaim across the country." To listen to some of their productions, go to:


    * (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to two of the following documentaries -- available through direct links on this page -- and compare them.

    • "The Sonic Memorial Project" (2002). Listen at: This is a Peabody-award winning documentary that chronicles the sounds and voices of the World Trade Center and its surrounding neighborhood. The program was produced for NPR on the first anniversary of the destruction of the Center by The Kitchen Sisters and a nationwide collaboration. See also the Sonic Memorial Project Web site which continues to document the memories of the Trade Center and its destruction:
    • "Ghetto Life 101." (1993). Listen at: "In March, 1993, LeAlan Jones, thirteen, and Lloyd Newman, fourteen, collaborated with public radio producer David Isay to create the radio documentary Ghetto Life 101, their audio diaries of life on Chicago's South Side. The boys taped for ten days, walking listeners through their daily lives: to school, to an overpass to throw rocks at cars, to a bus ride that takes them out of the ghetto, and to friends and family members in the community."
    • Accidents Will Happen; Three Mile Island." (1979)
      Real Media | MP3 Time: 29:18.
      This documentary on the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident of March 1979 was produced by Alan Snitow and Aileen Alfandary for Pacifica Radio and was broadcast in April of that year on many of Pacifica's affiliates.
    • Thembi's Diary. Joe Richman is an award-winning independent producer and reporter for public radio and an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the senior producer and founder of Radio Diaries. He often works closely and in collaboration with the individuals whose lives he wants to document. Here is one of Radio Diary's more recent productions, about Thembi, a 19 year-old South African who was given a tape recorder and sent out to make an audio diary of her struggle to live with AIDS:
    • "Passaic On Strike." (2006)
      Part 1: Real Media. | MP3. Time: 29:36.
      Part 2: Real Media. | MP3. Time: 24:22.
      In 1926, 16 thousand woolworkers in Passaic, New Jersey, walked out after their meager wages were cut 10%. It was a long strike - nearly a year - and it caught the attention of intellectuals and activists nationwide. Over the harsh winter of 1926, Passaic became a battleground, not just between workers and bosses, but between the traditional trade unions and a renegade organizer in the American Communist Party, who envisioned a militant, industrial union for all workers. The program has ten parts, but was broadcast in two long segemnts -- Part I: The Battleground; Part II: Vera and Albert; Part III: Strike! Strike!; Part IV: The Strike Bulletin; Part V: Workers' Relief; Part VI: The Silent Movie; Part VII: Strike Strategy; Part VIII: The Riot Act; Part IX: Enter the AFL; Part X: The Final Chapter. This documentary was produced by Talking History contributing producers David S. Cohen & Marty Goldensohn for the New Jersey Historical Commission and NJN Public Radio in April of 2006. [For a copy of the script to this production, go to: this link: Script: Passaic on Strike. Be prepared to discuss both in class.
    • Dan Collison's "Port Chicago 50."
      28.8 | 56. Dan Collison produced The Port Chicago 50: An Oral History in 1994. It aired on dozens of public radio stations around the country. It's the story of the worst homefront disaster of World War II and its aftermath -- an act of resistance by fifty African American munitions loaders. In late March of 1999, a docu-drama based on the Port Chicago incident -- titled The Mutiny -- was aired by NBC. 
    • Curtis Fox's "Sacco and Vanzetti.""
      28.8 | 56. This documentary, produced by Curtis Fox, is the second in his new history documentary series titled The Past Present. Here is his summary of the program: "Almost everyone has heard of [Nicola] Sacco and [Bartolomeo] Vanzetti, two Italian-born anarchists who were executed in 1927 for a crime they probably didn't commit--a payroll robbery and double murder in South Braintree, Massachusetts. What most people don't know, however, is that Nicola Sacco and Bartholomeo Vanzetti were part of a group of revolutionaries that conducted a bombing campaign against government officials, including Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Historian Nunzio Pernicone discusses the anarchist background of Sacco and Vanzetti. Then Pernicone, joined by historian Richard Polenberg, examine the world-famous case that tore this country apart in the 1920s. The program includes historical audio of men involved in the case, Italian anarchist songs, Woody Guthrie ballads, and actors Joe Grifasi and Spiro Malas reading from Sacco and Vanzetti's Moving prison letters.
    Class 13 (Tuesday, Nov. 25): Aural Documentary Fieldwork

    Required Readings:

    • Alan Lomax, The Land Where the Blues Began (New York, 1993). Read the preface and ch. 1 [On electronic reserve].
    • Erika Brady, A Spiral Way: How the Phonograph Changed Ethnography (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1999), 1-9; 52-88. [On electronic reserve].
    • R. Murray Schafer, "Soundscape and Earwitnesses," in Mark Smith, ed., Hearing History (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2004): 3-9. [On electronic reserve].
    • Mark M. Smith, Mitchell Snay, and Bruce R. Smith, "Talking Sound History," in Mark Smith, ed., Hearing History (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2004): 365-404. [On electronic reserve].
    • Alessandro Portelli and Charles Hardy III, "I Can Almost See the Lights of Home," in The Journal for MultiMedia History 2 (1999). Available on-line at: JMMH. Go to "Past Issues" and select volume 2.
    • Listen to Charles Hardy, "Prodigal Son" (1985) and read his essay via this link: Hardy Essay on Prodigal Son. Be prepared to discuss both in class.
      PRODIGAL SON: 28.8 | 56 | ISDN [all in RealMedia]. This 8-minute lyrical audio piece was first featured in Hardy's 1985 series, "Mordecai Mordant's Celebrated Audio Ephemera," a collection of audio art sound montages broadcast on public radio in 1985. Composed of excerpts from oral history interviews, archival recordings, and James Weldon Johnson's recording of his poem, "The Prodigal Son, " it explores how black migrants from the American South made sense of their ncounters with the "bright lights" of northern industrial metropolises in the early decades of the twentieth century. In this highly creative and imaginative work, Hardy was interested in unraveling the origins of a series of folk tales and personal narratives that elderly African Americans used to encode their own youthful experiences with the pleasures and dangers of the red light districts of industrial Philadelphia. For Hardy's essay on Produgal Son, go to: Hardy Essay on Prodigal Son.

    On-line Guides to Collecting and Conducting Oral Interviews:

    * Step-by-Step Guide to Oral History, by Judith Moyer
    * Tips for Interviewers, by Willa K. Baum
    * Oral History Workshop on the Web (Baylor University Insitute for Oral History)
    * Making Sense of Oral History, by Linda Shopes
    * Technical/hardware advice: see "Tools" at

    Project 3: Research, prepare for, and record an interview (in broadcast quality audio) with an individual who lives and interracts with the Hudson River in some way (boat captain, ecologist studying the river, fisherman, PCB cleanup worker, and so on). Index the interview and submit a digital copy on CD/DVD.

    Class 14 (Tuesday, Dec. 2): Documentary Work in Hypermedia (Historical Projects)

    In this class, students will be introduced to on-line and CD/DVD digital hypermedia documentary production. They will examine some outstanding and not-so-outstanding examples, and learn how to evaluate content, style, and impact.

    Guest Presenter: To be announced.

    Required Readings:

    • Michael O'Malley and Roy Rosenzweig, "Brave New World or Blind Alley?
      American History on the World Wide Web," Journal of American History (June 1997), available on line through the University library; go to the Journal of American History and locate the June 1997 issue.
    • Edward L. Ayers, "The Pasts and Futures of Digital History" (1999), available at:
    • Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History be Open Source?: Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” Journal of American History 93 (June 2006), available at:

    Recommended Readings:

    Assignment: (Guided Journal Entry) Write about your reactions to this week's reading assignment and the Web sites you have visited.

    Required Web Site Resources:

    Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War

    MediaStorm (Sponsored by In-depth documentaries and personal essays; multimedia site: photography, sound, animation, film/video).

    Attica Revisited

    September 11 Digital Archive

    History Wired: A Few of Our Favorite Things

    The Triangle Factory Fire

    U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum


    Crossing the Blvd.


    Recommended Web Site Resources: -- HotWired's outstanding site for learning Web building. -- CNET's excellent site for people learning how to build Web sites.
    Selections from: Martha G. Sammons. The Internet Writer's Handbook, 2nd ed. ; Jay Bolter et al., Remediation: Understanding New Media; Roland De Wolk, Introduction to On-Line Journalism. []


    I'll be in my office all day to receive your final papers/projects.

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