Revising Documentary Modes: a Critical Study of American Iraq and Afghanistan War Documentaries, 2003 – present
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This thesis identifies and examines a corpus of American documentary films, released between 2003 and 2014, that concern themselves with the US’ recent concurrent land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Employing Bill Nichols six-mode model of documentary classification as a theoretical baseline, the thesis argues that such traditional means of documentary classification are insufficiently capable of accounting for the dynamism and diversity of the aforementioned body of films. This thesis then proceeds, based on case-studies of existing Iraq and Afghanistan war documentaries, and on Nichols’ conception of “Social Issue and Personal Portraiture” film, to a propose a new three-mode model of documentary classification, better suited to accommodating and elucidating this corpus of films as it currently exists.