May 3, 2004
Community studies announces new masters
program in social documentation
By Jennifer McNulty
A new masters program in social documentation will teach students
to translate academic knowledge into visual, audio, and print media
that will have an impact on the world outside academia.
"We want to prepare students to produce the highest-quality
documentaries by emphasizing rigorous social and historical analysis.
--Mary Beth Pudup, chair of the UCSC Community Studies Department
The program, approved by UC President Robert C. Dynes, is a first
in the University of California system. UCSC will begin enrolling students
for fall 2005.
Unlike other graduate programs in communications and visual arts,
the UCSC program will integrate rigorous social scientific analysis
of peoples lives and cultures with the development of tools that
will enable students to reach nonacademic audiences.
Social documentation, in all its forms, can be a powerful tool
for social change, said Mary Beth Pudup, chair of the UCSC Community
Studies Department, which will offer the new masters program.
We want to prepare students to produce the highest-quality documentaries
by emphasizing rigorous social and historical analysis. This program
is a way to bridge the gap between the ivory tower and social activism
by recognizing the power of documentary media to integrate the two.
Specifically, students on the path to a master of arts degree in social
documentation will engage in critical thinking about social problems
and prepare documentaries suitable for presentation to broad audiences.
In addition to documentary films and videos, students will produce oral
histories; audio productions; photographic essays; historic presentations;
Internet; CDV and CD-ROM programs and digital archives; and written
In an April 1 letter to UC President Dynes recommending approval of
the new program, former UCSC Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood referred to
media trends that rely heavily on social documentation.
Media has consistently become a part of education, politics,
public policy arenas, and community services, wrote Greenwood,
now UC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs.
Among the acclaimed documentarians students in the program will be
working with are award-winning filmmaker Renee
Tajima-Peña and historian Paul
Ortiz. In addition to department faculty, the program will feature
visiting faculty who are luminary professional documentarians.
Enrollment is expected to peak at 24-30 students in the programs
sixth year, said Pudup.
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