Stephen Charbonneau


Stephen Charbonneau
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007

Email: scharbo1@fau.edu
Phone: (561) 297-3856
Areas of Expertise: Film Theory/History, Documentary Theory/History, Youth Media, Participatory Media

My work in film and media studies centers on the history and theory of pedagogical or educational uses of film, video, and digital media.  The spark for this direction came from an NYU undergraduate course with the late documentarian George Stoney, which featured a visit from a New York-based youth media organization, the Global Action Project.  This organization deployed autobiographical and autoethnographic video production as way for young people to cope with traumatic social and political issues and inspired my article, “Global and Local Selves: (Dis)Placed Youth and Fraught Articulations of Home in the Global Action Project’s Peace of Mind” (Spectator 27.2).  This led to a broader interest in the histories, theories, and practices of other NGOs whose work on youth media production had similar pedagogical goals. 
In 2012-2013, I received a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research on state-sponsored uses of educational documentary film to mediate and mitigate social conflict fueled by race and class.  The result is my first book-length study, entitled Projecting Race: Postwar America, Civil Rights, and Educational Documentary, which will be published in the spring of 2016 by Wallflower Press.  Projecting Race presents a history of educational documentary filmmaking in the postwar era in light of race relations and the fight for Civil Rights.  Drawing on extensive archival research and textual analyses, this book tracks the evolution of race-based, nontheatrical cinema from its neorealist roots (The Quiet One,Palmour Street, and All My Babies) to its incorporation of new documentary techniques intent on recording reality in real time (With No One to Help UsAnother WayThe Man in the MiddleThe Farmersville Project, and The Hartford Project). 
I am endlessly fascinated by the imbrication of the past and the present, by how new trends in digital media compel us to view film history in a new light. New projects will highlight this interest in the past, present, and future of film, video, and digital media.  These include an anthology on media activism (edited with Chris Robé) as well as a study on the convergence of autobiographical and other documentary impulses in the world of indie video games.  My students at Florida Atlantic University always inspire me to be adventurous in my classes and in my research.  Students who take my classes will learn solid expository writing skills while also having the opportunity to experiment with new forms of essayistic expressivity using video and digital media applications. 

Recent Publications

“John Grierson and the United States,” The Grierson Effect: The Worldwide Influence of John Grierson on the Development and Deployment of Educational and Documentary Cinema. Edited by Deane Williams & Zoë Druick. London: BFI Press. Forthcoming, Fall 2014.

“Going Places: The Pleasures of Production and Imperial Visual Culture in the Stratemeyer Syndicate’s TheMoving Picture Boys,” Journal of Popular Culture 45.4, August 2012.

“Claims to Be Heard: Young Self-Expressivity, Social Justice, and the Educational Video Center,” Jump Cut. Summer, 2011.

“Bonnie Klein, Saul Alinsky, and the American Dream,” Challenge for Change / Société nouvelle: The Collection. Edited by Thomas Waugh, Michael Brendan Baker, & Ezra Winton. Queen’s McGill University Press, 2010.

“Branching Out: Young Appalachian Selves, Auto-Ethnographic Aesthetics and the Founding of Appalshop,” Journal of Popular Film & Television 37.3, Fall 2009.

Recent Exhibitions and Performances

“15 Years Later, Global Activism in the Wake of Seattle: Remixing History” Northwest Film Forum, Seattle WA (Co-Organizer) March 19, 2014

“Public Media 2.0: A Conversation on the Future of Urban Documentary and Social Change with Allan Siegel, Steve James, and Gordon Quinn” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago IL (Co-Organizer) March 2013


FIL 3803: Film Theory

FIL 6807: Film Theory and Criticism

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 Last Modified 9/17/15