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Intelligence Work


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Introduction. The Intelligence Work of Documentary: Publics, Politics, Intellectuals Part I. The Sentiment of Trust: The Documentary Front and the New Deal 1. National Fabric: Authorship, Textuality, and the Documentary Front 2. Voice-Over, Allegory, and the Pastoral in New Deal Documentary Part II. Lyrical Tirades: New Documentary and the New Left 3. Revolutionary Sounds: Listening to Radical Documentary 4. Documentary Counterpublics: Filming Prison Part III. The Public Sphere of Suspicion: Documentary in the New Obscurity 5. The Vision Thing: Documentary, Television, and the Accidental Power of the President 6. Tense Times: Documentary Aporias; Or, the Public Sphere of Suspicion Notes Filmography Index

Promotional Information

" Intelligence Work convincingly makes the case that the social or political documentary is a form of abstraction in its own right: it mediates between particular and local experiences, 'fragments of social reality,' and broader publics. Through nuanced and elegant readings of non-fiction films from the New Deal to present-day documentary successes, Kahana brings the phantom realities of American public life into light, showing how 'intelligence work' is done by both the cinema and the state in the exercise and contestation of power. A serious study of how the emancipatory energies of social documentary might inspire formal and technological innovation, and vice versa." -- Amy Villarejo, Cornell University

About the Author

Jonathan Kahana is assistant professor of cinema studies at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.


[A] sobering reappraisal of documentary film. -- Lyell Davies AfterImage [Kahana] illuminates many documentaries that deserve to be much better known... Recommended. Choice the author's impressive grasp of documentary history and insightful discussion of cinematic form make Intelligence Work a significant contribution to the literature on documentary. -- Susan Ryan Cineaste Kahana's approach navigates what might be called the interstices of political critique, revealing documentary's multiplicity while marking its relative successes and limits. -- Jeffrey Geiger New Formations [Kahana provides] a much-needed survey of a century-long development in cultural history that is nonetheless tightly focused on the crucial political issue of how art enables the production of publics. -- Jeff Allred American Literature Kahana is often intensely insightful about form and style in the films he considers, such as a sophisticated analysis of sound particularly in radical documentaries of the 60s on. -- Chuck Kleinhans Jump Cut

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