CDS Announces Undergraduate Duke Summer School Courses for Session I: May 13 to June 25, 2020

A photo of a microphone.

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is offering undergraduate credit courses as part of Duke University’s Summer School Session I, providing an opportunity for students to engage with some of our most popular courses. These discounted remote learning courses are open to undergraduates from any university or college. Current Duke students have an exclusive window to register for Duke Summer Session I courses through April 28 before open spaces are made available to the general public.

A number of additional courses cross-listed with DOCST or of potential interest to DOCST students are also available for registration; see below.

Email CDS undergraduate director Chris Sims at with questions.


Documentary Studies 101: Traditions in Documentary Studies
Monday, 12:30­–2:30 p.m.
Instructor: Chris Sims
Codes: CCI, ALP (Crosslist: ICS, VMS)
Traditions of documentary work seen through an interdisciplinary perspective, with an emphasis on contemporary practice. Introduces students to a range of documentary idioms and voices, including the work of photographers, filmmakers, oral historians, folklorists, musicologists, radio documentarians, and writers. Stresses aesthetic, scholarly, and ethical considerations involved in representing other people and cultures.

Documentary Studies 110S: Introduction to Oral History
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Instructor: Mary Williams
Codes: CZ, R (Crosslist: HST)
Introductory oral history fieldwork seminar. Oral history theory and methodology, including debates within the discipline. Components and problems of oral history interviewing as well as different kinds of oral history writing.

Documentary Studies 354S: Web Design & Narrative
Monday, 3:30–5:30 p.m.
Instructor: Chris Sims
Codes: ALP, R (Crosslists: ISS, ARTVIS, VMS)
Professional practices course for students in creative fields without a computer science background: for artists and documentarians to create robust web-based portfolios; for art historians to showcase curatorial and scholarly projects; for entrepreneurs to demonstrate ideas, concepts, and products to the public. Develop customized, individual websites using CMS platforms. Hone and workshop artistic/curatorial/product statements. Develop teaching philosophies, exhibition imagery, and video documentation of artistic, curatorial, or product talks. Guest speakers visit the course on a regular basis to review the students’ work.

NOTE: These online courses will feature both synchronous and asynchronous sessions.


Duke Summer School Complete Course Listings

The full list of Summer Session II courses (June 29 to August 9, 2020) will be online in early May 2020.


Courses Cross-listed with DOCST:

DOCST 119S: Intro to Digital Photography (Katelyn Auger)

DOCST 268S: Religion and Film (Larissa Carneiro)

DOCST 270: Contemporary Documentary Films (Alexander Morelli)

DOCST 274: The Middle East Through Film (Tamar Rachkovsky)

DOCST 288S: Editing for Film and Video (Alexander Morelli)

DOCST 290S.01: Special Topics: Educational Impact of COVID-19 (Heather Stone)

DOCST 303: History of Photography, 1839–Present (Will Warasila)

Additional Courses of Interest to DOCST Students:

AMI 301S: Moving Image Practice (Colleen Pesci)

AMI 323L: Interactive Graphics (Sarah Riazati)

ARTSVIS 290S.01: Special Topics: The Photographic Story (Julie Platner)

ARTVIS 290S.02: Special Topics: Documenting the Family (Alanna Styer)

CULANTH 290S.01: Current Issues: Anthropology of Food and Film (Kelly Alexander)

VMS 290S.02 Topics in Visual Studies: Photography and the Internet (Cassandra Klos)


Chris Sims
Chris Sims has worked as a photo archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and is currently the Undergraduate Education Director at the Center for Documentary Studies. He was selected as the recipient of the Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers in 2010, named one of the "New Superstars of Southern Art" by the Oxford American magazine in 2012, was awarded the Arte Laguna Prize in Photographic Art in 2015, and was named an Archie Green Fellow at the U.S. Library of Congress in 2017. At Duke he also teaches in the Duke-in-Berlin summer program and in the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts graduate program, and he is a Visiting Associate Professor of the Practice Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

Mary Williams
Mary Williams is a performer and scholar of African American musical traditions and has performed all over the United States as well as in Paris. Williams has co-instructed “The South in Black and White” and taught other community-based courses for more than seven years. Working in feature films and documentary theater, she is a frequent collaborator with fellow CDS instructors Tim Tyson and Mike Wiley. She is currently working on a Mahalia Jackson stage play.