Haunting inquiry: A linguistic conceptual framework for meeting the *Other in classic National Film Board of Canada documentaries and the curriculum
Robert Christopher Nellis, University of Alberta , Canada
University of Alberta . Awarded
This thesis develops an approach for the curricular use of classic NFB documentaries. The research explores hauntings in and around the films to open toward Others neither fully present nor absent within the Canadian imagination. They remain somewhat illicit, as is the character of haunting.
The Alberta Information and Communication Technology (Alberta Learning, 2003), English Language Arts (2000), and Social Studies (2005) curricula all call for media integration and/or media literacy development. Classic NFB documentaries are useful media for these purposes. The films continue the tradition of John Grierson's legacy to promote a "progressive" idea of Canada. However, changing historical circumstances and a hauntingly ambivalent conservatism in the films call educators to rethink Griersonianism. Much thinking informing Media Education reveals paradox and impossibility, which Haunting Inquiry, as developed through Derrida's notion of hauntology (1994) and psychoanalytic views of mourning, mobilizes as learning opportunities. Haunting opens toward the elusive, indeterminate, yet hopeful Otherwise.
The thesis undertakes readings of classic NFB documentaries to explore and develop the contours, limitations, and implications of Haunting Inquiry. The films include: Farewell Oak Street (McLean, Burwash, & Glover, 1953), Churchill's Island (Legg, 1941), Neighbours (McLaren, 1952), Paul Tomkowicz: Street Railway Switchman (Kroiter & Daly, 1954), Shyness (Jackson & Daly, 1953), Windbreaks on the Prairies (Cherry, 1943), Lonely Boy (Koenig & Kroiter, 1962), Keep Your Mouth Shut (McLaren, 1944), City of Gold (Low & Koenig, 1957), and Where is Here? (Gunnarsson, et al., 1987).
The thesis "closes" by reflecting upon Haunting Inquiry's character as a language tool or heuristic, its limitations, relevant terms, and implications for practice. As is the tendency of haunting, the thesis concludes without concluding...
Nellis, R.C. Haunting inquiry: A linguistic conceptual framework for meeting the *Other in classic National Film Board of Canada documentaries and the curriculum. Ph.D. thesis, University of Alberta.
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