Crime Film Documentaries

|| spring.2015 ||

Instructor: James R. Elkins


Course Evaluation

Your grade in the course will be based on two papers, or a single paper composed of two part: one paper should focuse on a particular film, a second paper should focus on the course more generally by placing the course films in a larger context than found in any single film. Each paper, or segments of a single paper (the film paper and the course paper) constitute 50% of the grade for the course.

▪ For the "focus on a film" paper, you should, in preparation to write the paper, consider the following:

▫ the narrative told in the film

▫ critical, academic, and scholarly commentary on the film (and the legal issues presented in the film)

▫ film critics commentary on the film

▫ books written by or about the defendant(s), and books written about the film

▫ legal issues raised in the film (including significant West Virginia cases the pertain to these issues)

▫ significant web-based material on the film (much of this material will be identifed in the Instructor's Notes).

▪ On the "course paper": The idea is to address the course films (and the course) from a perspective that places the individual films in a broader context: What kind of prosecutors do we find in these films? What kind of defense lawyers? What do the films tell us about the justice to be found in the criminal justice system?

For the "film paper" you may elect to work with one or two colleagues in the course. If you elect to work with a colleague, the grade you receive for the "film paper" will be based on your collective effort—both members of the team will receive the same score. Obviously, if you pursue the "film paper" as a team project, the resulting paper should reflect the additional work that extends well beyond what would be expected of a single individual. You may, of course, chose to work on the "film paper"alone. I have no preference whether you work alone or with colleagues.

If you want to pursue a writing project for the course that does not follow the general outlines of the "film paper" and "course paper, outlined here I am willing to consider proposed alternative projects.. Alternative projects must be approved by the instructor.