Documentary Film and the City

This urban studies seminar in history and documentary filmmaking focuses on Trenton’s unrest of April 1968, when a black college student, Harlan Joseph, was shot and killed by a white police officer. The course works outward from these events to examine the 1960s, race, region, economy, memory, and media representation. Students work with archival sources and produce their own films, culminating in research papers and a related documentary short. Collaborative assignments will contribute to works of scholarship and documentary produced by the professors. Includes public screening of student work. See

Sample reading list:
Katz, Michael, Why Don’t American Cities Burn?
Krasovic, Mark, The Newark Frontier
Richtin, Fred, Bending the Frame
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Grades will be based on: participation (20%), short response papers to films and readings (10%), final research paper (30%), other: a final short video (40%).

Paper in lieu of Final – 30%
Papers – 10%
Class/Precept Participation – 20%
Other (See Instructor) – 40%

Other Requirements:
United States Travel Required
Open to Sophomores and Juniors Only.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
Students should be prepared to conduct fieldwork with documentary subjects, collaborate with fellow students, shoot and edit video. This course teaches the fundamentals of video editing; prior experience is not required. Seniors by permission; please contact instructor(s).

Other information:
Selected feature and short documentaries will also be a part of the reading list. This course participates in the Community-Based Learning Initiative and involves a commitment to fieldwork in Trenton outside of class.




Tuesdays, 1:30-4:20 pm