FILM 2001 - Persuasion and Propaganda: Documentary Cinema
North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020
General Course Information
Course Code FILM 2001 Course Persuasion and Propaganda: Documentary Cinema Coordinating Unit School of Humanities Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s North Terrace Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 4 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange N Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study Restrictions Students must be 18 years of age at the commencement of course due to the discussion of R-rated themes and materials. Course Description What different types of documentary are there? What are the differences between persuasion and propaganda? How does the form of non-fiction film affect the way viewers access reality? What ethical problems does the representation of real events trigger? What are the boundaries between fact and fiction? Is film advertising a form of persuasion or propaganda? These, and many more, are the questions that this course will explore through a combination of lectures, screenings, interactive seminars and readings. In the first half of the course we will examine five types of documentary as defined by Bill Nichols: expository, observational, participatory, reflexive and performative. Analysis of different types of documentary film will show how the seemingly distinct qualities of persuasion and propaganda are often significantly blurred. In the second half of the course we will focus on more specific documentary genres. Firstly, we will address questions raised by the cinematic representation of historical events, especially events that are considered 'unrepresentable' . Using the Holocaust as a case study, we will consider different effects use to inform and shock audiences . Secondly , we will examine the wildlife film, and consider the techniques that it uses in order to render its subject matter interesting and pleasurable for audiences. Thirdly, we will focus on the work of Werner Herzog, who has made a series of documentaries that deal with subjects that might be thought impossible to represent, such as the joy of a ski-jumper, the experience of religious ecstasy, and the inner lives of those who are born deaf and blind. Finally, we turn our attention to advertising in cinema, and in particular the role of the film trailer in 'persuading' audiences.
Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Ben McCann
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning OutcomesOn successful completion of this course students will be able to:
1. identify different forms of documentary and non-fiction film and their role as instruments of conveying persuasion and propaganda
2. understand the theoretical debates and issues involved in the representation of historical events on screen
3. evaluate the ethical and persuasive implications of films that refer to the real world
4. demonstrate an appreciation of the rhetorical strategies used in documentary and non-fiction films
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s) Deep discipline knowledge
- informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
- acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
- accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
1, 2 Critical thinking and problem solving
- steeped in research methods and rigor
- based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
- demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
1, 2, 3, 4 Teamwork and communication skills
- developed from, with, and via the SGDE
- honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
- encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
2, 3, 4 Career and leadership readiness
- technology savvy
- professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
- forward thinking and well informed
- tested and validated by work based experiences
3, 4 Intercultural and ethical competency
- adept at operating in other cultures
- comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
- able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
- demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
1, 2, 3, 4 Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
- open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
- able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
1, 2, 3, 4
Required ResourcesFILMS TO BE STUDIED: to be confirmed in January 2020
All reading material will be provided through Canvas.
All films will be screened in the allocated screening class.
Recommended ResourcesAitken, Ian (ed.) (2005), Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film. New York: Routledge
Nichols, Bill (2017), Introduction to Documentary, 3rd edition. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press
Online LearningThis course will use MyUni, Echo360 and other resources to be announced.
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching Modes
No information currently available.
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
Workload - structured learning Total hours 12 x 2 hour screenings 24 12 x 2 hour seminars 24 TOTAL 48 Workload - self-directed learning Total hours 5 hours reading per week 60 2 hours research / lecture preparation per week 24 2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 TOTAL 108 GRAND TOTAL 156
Learning Activities SummaryClasses will comprise a mixture of screenings, mini-lectures, small group activities and writing workshops.
For the detailed work schedule, see the Course Booklet (available on MyUni to enrolled students).
Specific Course RequirementsStudents are expected to read the texts set for the given weeks in advance and prepare their answers to any set questions, as required.
Small Group Discovery Experiencen/a
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment task Task type Weighting Course Learning Outcomes Research portfolio Summative
25% 1, 2, 3, 4 Mini research essay Summative
25% 1, 2, 3, 4 Major research essay Formative 50% 1, 2, 3, 4
Due to the current COVID-19 situation modified arrangements have been made to assessments to facilitate remote learning and teaching. Assessment details provided here reflect recent updates.
There are no changes to the assessment arrangements. All essays and the research portfolio will be submitted online.
An online test will be available in Week 13 for students who have decided to complete an exam instead of an essay.
All responses to the weekly discussion board postings will count towards the final 10% of the final grade.
Assessment Related Requirementsn/a
Assessment Description Weighting Research portfolio Students will develop a portfolio of bibliographic material, images and stills, and critical analysis on 4 chosen films in the course (c. 1500 words) 25% Mini
Students will write a 1000-word essay on a specific topic in the course 25% Major
Students will write a 2000-word essay on a specific topic in the cours 50%
SubmissionAll assignments will be submitted electronically on or before the due date.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
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