Documentary films have often taken a pivotal role in strategies to internationalize (geography) curricula and classrooms, being used as a method of bringing the world to the classroom. These documentaries overwhelmingly take ethnographic form. Problematically, the documentary gaze is characteristically that of an outside film crew and narrator mediating relationships between the “subjects” of the documentary and the ways they are heard and seen. Yet other forms of documentary also exist, including those offering autoethnographic perspectives to viewers. Autoethnographic documentaries offer a highly promising resource for internationalization of the geography curriculum, providing careful, analytic, theoretically-informed understandings of documentarians’ own worlds–which may be in the next neighbourhood or on the other side of the planet. This paper reviews documentaries as curriculum-internationalizing learning-and-teaching resources before going on to examine the flaws of “traditional” ethnographic documentary in this endeavour. It makes the case for greater–though not necessarily exclusive–use of autoethnographic films in our work to educate global citizens and provides some preliminary resources for locating and evaluating this form of film. As such it contributes not only to critical pedagogy surrounding internationalization of the geography curriculum but also to filmic geography.
- filmic geography