Tag Archives: Social history

Film Treatment Done – Thu January 22, 2015

The big accomplishment for this week was getting the Film Treatment completed and submitted for review.  It’s an important step, since it is the guide that will drive the whole editing process.

I still need to complete three interviews, and portions of the transcripts from those will need to be inserted into the Treatment, but they will not materially alter the flow of the film.  And each of the three interviewees remaining has seen the Concept Proposal, so they know the general arguments for the film.  I had some feedback from Adrienne Shadd to that end, and have included her input in the Treatment.

I have also done a bit of reading this past week that seems relevant to my project, concerning the Cultural Turn.  While already I’ve mentioned the emergence of Social History in the 1970s, the Cultural Turn also emerged at that time, examining the individual over the collective, and ideas of self-understanding.  This idea seems to complement some of the things that Judith Butler wrote about gender as a construct, and my expansion of that notion to include race as a construct.  Clifford Geertz’s writing on the subject of “culture as text” is instructive, regarding the problematization of culture as we would problematize text.  He also examines the use of symbols as a way of understanding cultures with limited or no archival presence – something I talk about in the film.  Perhaps this is something for me to consider in my Reflection paper about cultural symbols, archival gaps, and the problematizing of cultures as texts.

My plan to meet with Rose-Gabrielle about her role as voice actor for the Mary Ann Shadd character didn’t take place.  RG was sick and we have yet to reschedule, but that is on my to-do list for the coming week.

I don’t yet have the final versions of the music, but that is not urgent, and I’ve told Jenna, the pianist as much.

And I didn’t hear back regarding the request that I put in with LAC, but I think with my own research and also some very nicely offered input from Dr. Miller’s wife, Mary Margaret, who is an LAC archivist, I have what I need.

So this coming week I plan to reschedule with Rose Gabrielle, confirm my interview plans in Toronto, and go through the Treatment to find any images and sound clips that I am going to need and don’t already have.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

From Concept Onwards – Thu November 6, 2014

As planned, I finished my Concept Proposal this week and submitted it today to Drs. Walsh and Miller.  It seems like a document with so few words, and yet it consolidates much of what I have been thinking of and researching over the past weeks.

Over the past week I’ve been thinking about subaltern histories, histories of everyday life, oral histories and what John Brewer calls “Microhistories” and the silences in these histories.  According to Brewer, in his “Microhistory and the Histories of Everyday Life”, academic writing about “everyday life” stems from 17th century antiquarian writing, and was followed in the early 20th century by Marxist writing.  But according to Brewer both were founded in nostalgia and romanticism.  As well, these histories may have been about everyday life, but were not necessarily first-hand accounts.  According to David Kyvig in his book Nearby Histories: Exploring the Past Around You, the writing of oral histories and first-hand accounts has also been around for hundreds of years, but it was not until the 1940s that Allan Nevins formulated the recognized oral history method, in his Columbia Oral History Project.

It is not entirely surprising, therefore, that Benjamin Drew would collect and publish “slave narratives” in 1856, nor that the Federal Writers Project (FWP) would do the same in the 1930s.  These were not written for nostalgic purposes, but rather were likely politically motivated in Drew’s case, and possibly in the FWP case as well.  Whatever the motivation behind their collection, the narratives and the photographs that sometimes accompanied them, represent a valuable archive of primary source information about a group of people that might never otherwise have recorded their own histories.  And even had they recorded their histories, they would have needed to preserve them until the 1960s or 1970s when these sorts of narratives began to be of interest to professional historians and archivists.

So with my Concept Proposal in place, I need to start thinking about the next tasks and the next main building block for the film – The Treatment.  Assuming that the Concept is acceptable to Drs. Walsh and Miller, I need to begin compiling more archival images and accompanying sound effects.  I need to get outside with the video camera again to get any remaining outdoor footage before winter sets in.  I also need to start to consider sources of music and make sure that I have permissions for all my images.  As well, if I am going to need any original art, I need to think about how to make that happen.  So this coming week will be devoted to at least starting some of these tasks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized