Visual History and Filmmaking

August 30, 2018

Students become both historians and filmmakers in Visual History and Filmmaking, a service-learning course taught by Justin Wolfe, the William Arceneaux Professor of Latin American History. Challenging students to conduct archival research and then create short documentary films showcasing their findings, the class is centered on collaboration and the ethics of representation.
As the groups are composed of two to three students, Wolfe emphasized the importance of both the product and the process. “I wanted students to think theoretically about how we tell historical stories in written and visual forms and then put those theories into practice,” said Wolfe.;

Film topics in the spring 2018 course ranged from the evolution of the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club from its civil rights origins, to a documentary about the history of Preservation Hall and its struggle with gentrification in New Orleans. One of the spring 2017 documentaries, “Camp of Innocents,” uncovers stories behind the U.S. internment of Latin American “enemy aliens” during World War II in New Orleans and across the Southern U.S. Directed by graduate students Mira Kohl, Joe Hiller, and Jack Collins, “Camp of Innocents” was selected for inclusion in the 2017 New Orleans Film Festival.

View the students’ work here:

Holt Cemetery: Memorial Misunderstood

The Brotherhood of Kings

Camp of the Innocents

[Reprinted from School of Liberal Arts Reflections: A Year in Review, Fall 2017-Spring 2018.]