Documentary: The Real Returns

Please note: this is archived course information from 2022 for MEDIA 704.


In this course, we will examine some of the major documentaries to emerge since film began, from the actualities of the Lumière’s in the 1890s to the ‘true crime’ documentaries proliferating on Netflix and our streaming services today. The class will engage with a range of theories that reflect on genre’s definitions and its relation to “reality”.

There are usually two documentaries assigned for screening each week.

At the commencement of each class, I will ask students to make connections between the week’s reading and screening/s as it is essential that both activities are carried out.

Note: A number of the documentaries contain disturbing material, so be prepared. 

Availability 2022

Not taught in 2022


Coordinator(s) Professor Annie Goldson


Grant, B. and Jeanette Sloniowski, eds. Documenting the Documentary: Close Readings of Documentary Film and Video, Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1998.

Chanan, M. The Politics of Documentary, London : British Film Institute, 2007.

All readings are available through Talis, either as digital copies or through the short loan desk at the General Library.


MEDIA 704: 30 points