Muhlenberg College Spring 2019

Week 4

Tuesday, February 5

In class, we will discuss Barret’s film, Stranger with a Camera, as well as the article by Calvin Trillin. Our discussion will help each student begin to develop some building blocks for the first essay assignment (detailed below).

Thursday, February 7

Read, before class on Thursday, the chapter by Bill Nichols, from his book Introduction to Documentary.  This chapter is in Canvas, under Files, titled “Nichols.” We’re going to bring this text, by one of the contemporary leading scholars of documentary film, into conversation with Barret’s film and Coles. In doing so, you’ll be developing further building blocks for your first essay assignment.

First Essay Assignment

Explore issues of location in Elizabeth Barret’s film, Stranger with a Camera.  In your exploration of this concept, consider how the film illustrates location as a component of doing documentary work.  After at least one close viewing of the film (and ideally two), respond to this essay prompt:

What are the implications of location in Stranger with a Camera?

In this essay, include the following:

  • A clear thesis statement that you develop and support throughout the essay.
  • A discussion of Coles’ theory of location and its impact on documentary work.
  • Connection to at least one of Nichols’ ideas about ethical issues related to Barret’s location.
  • A close analysis of how Barret’s location (and to some extent the locations of key figures in the film) shapes the story she tells. 

 Save your essay exactly as follows: as a .doc or .docx file, with your last name, first initial, and the phrase EssayOne.  For example: TaubLEssayOne. Submit your essay via Canvas/Assignments no later than Monday, February 18, 11:59 p.m.

Essay Rubric

The rubric for this and all essays for this course is in Canvas, under Files, titled DocEssayRubric. Please review it prior to Thursday’s class so we can discuss any questions you might have about the assignment and expectations for completion.

css.php