The Documentary Across Media


Lisa Spiro
Electronic Text Center
Fondren Library
(713) 348-2594

Office Hours: Wednesday, 4-5 &
Thursday, 10-11

Course Description

"Documentary: the creative interpretation of actuality" (John Grierson)

This course examines how the documentary works in different media: radio, print, film, photography, graphic arts, and the web. It asks how we should think about the web, given that it is a medium that can bring together text, still and moving images, and sound, and that it can allow both linear and "hypertextual" navigation. We will look at the documentary as a form of storytelling and consider the technological developments that contributed to changes in documentary representation. By focusing on the documentary in different forms of media, this course offers a comparative perspective that will lead to a greater understanding of the genre as well as of communications media. This course will be divided between seminars, which will stimulate in-depth analysis of particular documentaries as well as of larger questions about representation and form, and labs, which will furnish hands-on experience in working with digital media.


The HANS 320 course packet (henceforth known as CP) and the following books are available at the Rice Campus Store. Items in the course packet are also on e-reserve in Fondren Library.

Course Requirements

Note: Specific assignments for the following papers and projects will be given at least 3 weeks before the due date. You are always welcome to turn in any assignments early, or to have me look at a draft before officially submitting an essay or project.

Course Resources

Course Policies


Last updated August 28, 2001 by Lisa Spiro.
Hanszen 320: The Documentary Across Media