2008 Student Research Conference:
21st Annual Student Research Conference

On Films Characterized by Argument: A Generic Criticism of Partisan Documentaries
Laine A. Nickl
Dr. Jay W. Self, Faculty Mentor

Films such as Super Size Me, Bowling for Columbine, and Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism have been marketed as documentaries. Despite their classification as documentaries, however, the intentionally argumentative nature of films such as these does not seem well-suited to the genre. Furthermore, while these films do not satisfactorily participate in the documentary genre, they do form another genre. As this paper will demonstrate, these films form a new genre I will label as partisan documentaries. Films of this genre fulfill the following characteristics: Partisan documentaries (1) contain certain elements common to the documentary genre; (2) center on a current social and political issue; (3) support a partisan stance on that social and political issue; (4) only include content selected and arranged in support of the stance; and (5) end with a call for action in support of the stance.

Keywords: generic criticism, genre, rhetoric, documentary, argumentative, partisan, Super Size Me, Bowling for Columbine

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 45-1
Location: OP 2115
Time: 2:45

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