Fachbereich 7

Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft

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True Crime Documentaries in the Digital Era [TUE]

DozentIn: Liana Paznikova

Veranstaltungstyp: Seminar

Ort: 41/E02

Zeiten: Di. 16:00 - 18:00 (wöchentlich)

Beschreibung: In Introduction to Documentary (2001) Bill Nichols writes: “[t]here is a specificity to documentary film and video that revolves around the phenomenon of moving sounds and images recorded in media that allow for a remarkably high degree of fidelity between a representation and what it refers to” (xvi). Nichols continues: “[d]igitally based media remind us even more forcefully than film or video how much our belief in the authenticity of the image is a matter of trust to begin with” (xvi).

Roughly over the last two decades, documentaries have experienced a surge in popularity, with the true crime documentary subgenre being among the fastest-growing in the industry. Taking into account the documentary genre’s claims of truthfulness and its tendency to take on contemporary social issues, the importance of critically examining the documentary genre cannot be understated.

In this course, we will explore the documentary genre through an analysis of (American) true crime documentaries. We will discuss the history and generic characteristics of the documentary, interrogate the relationship between image, representation, and reality, and explore the socio-cultural contexts of true crime documentaries in the digital era.

Please note that in addition to watching assigned documentaries, you will need to read scholarly texts, and engage with the material through a critical lens.

Please also note that some of the material watched, read, and discussed in the course deals with different types and degrees of violence. If you feel unable to engage with any particular topic, you can let me know outside of the classroom and we will find a way to work around it.

This course is open only for the ANG-V-LK/ANG-V1 module, and as part of the examination requirements, you will need to hand in a term paper by September 15, 2023!

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