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Documentary Testimonies: Global Archives of Sufferingby Bhaskar Sarkar
Synopses & Reviews
Documentary Testimonies examines documentary films that compel us to bear witness, move us to anger or tears, and possibly mobilize us to action.
Comprising ten new essays and a substantive introduction, this interdisciplinary volume examines audiovisual testimonial practices, forms, and institutions. Topics include: technologies of capture, storage and circulation; problems of historical veracity/frail memory; generation of video archives--official, renegade, and ephemeral; limits and potentialities of documentary as public record; architectonics of memory; ethics of witnessing and commemoration; human rights and activist publics.
The essays provide in-depth analysis of archives of social suffering tied to particular locales: Cambodia, Chiapas, Darfur, India, Indonesia, Korea, New Orleans, Norway, Rwanda, South Africa, and Washington, DC. The contributors focus on the generation and use of testimony by public administrators and institutions, human rights activists, documentary filmmakers, and others with interest in environmental justice, human rights, social advocacy, and the commemoration/prevention of genocide. Thus, this volume aims to investigate, from a critical and translocal perspective, testimony as social practice.
This volume examines documentary films that compel us to bear witness, move us to anger or tears, and possibly mobilize us to action. Documentary testimonies take various forms from unedited video recordings to documentary films, from one-on-one reminiscence to site-specific public presentations and perambulations. The ten new essays gathered here analyze questions regarding the usefulness and legitimacy of documentary testimony: What is the value of the historical archive the televised public hearings or activist online videos constitute? Is it made part of the official record, or dismissed as renegade or ephemeral? To what extent can documentary bring about social change? How do the documentary testimonies compensate for or account for the frailty of memory?
Each chapter provides an in-depth study of an archive of social suffering tied to a particular locale: Rwanda, Louisiana, Korea, South Africa, Chiapas, India, Cambodia, Poland, Norway, and Washington, D.C. The contributors focus on the production and use of documentary testimony by public administrators and institutions, human rights activists and organizations, documentary and ethnographic filmmakers, and/or other individuals and groups with interest in environmental justice, human rights, social advocacy, and/or the commemoration and prevention of genocide.
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