AAAS 90 – The Black Male, Invented or Engineered?

Course: AAAS 90 – The Black Male, Invented or Engineered?
Instructor: Antonio Tillis
Assignment: Documentary Video Project

In small groups of three, students are expected to create a short documentary film between 5-7 minutes in length. Group members are to select a topic that has a direct association to a topic matter presented in the course. The objective is to explore a topic introduced in the class that is of interest to your group within the framework of a 21st century epistemological understanding of the “Black Male.” As examples, you may choose to explore the theme of contemporary engineering of the Black male subject in 21st century film (selecting one film as text for analysis), Black male sexuality in the media or visual arts, Black male – Black female social dynamics around desirability, etc.

Through the development of this documentary, you are expected to engage the issues presented in the class. All groups are to have a minimum of 5 bibliographic entries or works that are not texts used in the class. (You may use works presented in class, however they are not a part of the minimum 5 outside readings/sources/references.) Additionally, you may choose to conduct interviews, use video footage pertinent to the selected topic. You are required to make a compelling argument about your topic using the chosen media (voice-over narration, video footage from interviews, audio, etc.)

In preparation, students will meet with Susan Simon (Jones Media Center) and with Prof. Tillis. Additionally, groups will meet Professor Tillis outside of class for developmental updates. The final cut of the documentary will be presented in class. At such time, a copy of the script and documentary are due.

This assignment is developed with the following learning outcomes in mind:
1. Discuss how the construct of the “Black Male” has been developed within the Americas and beyond as a racial-gendered group
2. Discuss the social, economic, political designed for the construction of the “Black Male” as a typology
3. Discuss the above mentioned and beyond in a cogent argument using film as the medium to critically engage the chosen topic of the group.

Group members will receive a grade for the written treatment, storyboard, script and bibliography. Additionally, the group will receive a grade based on teh final product. (see Sample Grade Rubric) Finally, each student will submit an additional written reflection (no more than 3typed pages) commenting on the film making process and other critical thoughts.

Professor Tillis

Susan Simon, Media Learning Technologist, Jones Media Center

Amy Witzel, AAAS and WGST Reference Librarian

Example of Student Final Project
[youtube SADBUKL9mws]

AAAS 7: Women, Gender and Sexuality in the Caribbean

WGST: Women in the CaribbeanCourse: AAAS 7: Women, Gender and Sexuality in the Caribbean
Instructor: Reena Goldthree

For this project, you will work in small groups of three to create a short documentary film. You and your group members will select the specific topic of the documentary; however, your film must critically examine some aspect of women’s lives in the Caribbean before 1960. For your film, you can choose to analyze the life of a specific Caribbean woman, investigate a social movement led by women (i.e., the campaign for women’s suffrage), or examine major topics such as slavery and indentureship with a focus on women’s lived experiences.

By creating an original documentary, you will have the opportunity to explore the issues that we have discussed in class through the visual medium of film. You will also be able to research a topic that interests you and communicate your findings to your peers and the broader public. Rather than simply telling a story about the past, your documentary should make a compelling argument—using voice-over narration, audio, and relevant historical images and film—about the topic you choose to explore. Your argument should be informed by relevant primary and secondary sources beyond the assigned course readings. Each documentary should be 5-6 minutes and must include a bibliography. The final cut of your documentary will be due on March 1, 2011. We will screen and discuss the documentaries in class on March 2, 2011.
To help you create your documentary, you will attend two special workshops. The first workshop, led by librarian Amy Witzel, will explore how to find relevant primary and secondary sources for your film. The second workshop, led by Susan Simon at Jones Media Center, will review multimedia composition techniques and provide basic training in iMovie and Photoshop. In addition, you will complete several mini-assignments in the process of creating the documentary, including an oral “pitch” of your topic, a written film treatment, and a draft script and storyboard.

Learning Outcomes
After completing this project, students will be able to:

    1. Discuss how race, class, sexuality, and nationality have shaped the opportunities available for various groups of Caribbean women


    1. Identify some of the major social, political, and cultural institutions that have sought to define women’s roles in Caribbean society


    Produce polished multimedia compositions that have an original perspective, clear argument, supporting evidence, and proper citations

Since this is a collaborative project, your group will receive a grade for the written treatment, storyboard, script, and bibliography. Your group will also receive a grade for the final documentary film. As a class, we will work together to develop a rubric to assess the documentaries.
You will receive an individual grade for your written reflection on the filmmaking process.
Reena Goldthree, Instructor for AAAS 7

Susan Simon, Media Learning Technologist, Jones Media Center

Amy Witzel, Reference Librarian for African and African American Studies (AAAS) & Women and Gender Studies

Kay Yi, Writing Assistant for AAAS 7
AAAS 7 Library Resources Guide (prepared by Amy Witzel)

AAAS 7 Blackboard Page (see “Video Project Resources” link)
Student Center for Researching, Writing, and Information Technology (RWIT)