Course Description

Course Name

Documentary Film And Television

Session: VGSS3120

Hours & Credits

20 SCQF Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level


This course will begin by covering some of the significant historical landmarks of documentary filmmaking. The course will begin in a national context but will become progressively international in focus as the course progresses. The early weeks will provide the ground for the discussion of the construction of documentary and the key terms and concepts which have informed the framework for understanding documentary - such as truth, realism, objectivity, witness and testimony, history and knowledge. The second half of the course will be concerned with the scrutiny of texts, genres and criticism that pose a challenge to the received meaning and value of documentary film and television.
The course will also include a session dedicated to an invited local practitioner and this will provide students with the opportunity to gain an insight into the practicalities of production and the process of documentary filmmaking. For those students who select a practical pathway through the degree programme this will supplement their particular experience of filmmaking.
This new course aims
1. Introduce the key concepts that underlie the historical understanding of the form and function of documentary.
2. Identify and evaluate recent developments in and challenges to
documentary that are posed by recent television genres.
3. Examine how and why recent developments and innovations in documentary
problematize the critical terms that are traditionally deployed to evaluate
On successful completion of the course, students will be able to
1. Demonstrate an understanding of key terms and debates that define the field of
documentary studies.
2. Relate the received meaning and understanding of documentary to students' own experience and positions upon recent challenges to the status of documentary across film and television.
3. Demonstrate an awareness of how the changing production contexts of film and television affect the practice of documentary filmmaking.
One 3,000 word essay and 1 x 90 minute exam.

*Course content subject to change