OU’s College of Liberal Studies hosted the 2013 Feaver-MacMinn Seminar March 9 – 15. This was the seminar’s 28th year. The class featured award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker Dayton Duncan.
Most recently, Duncan worked with Ken Burns on The Dust Bowl, a documentary bringing to life one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in United States history. The film brought together little-known footage, numerous rare photographs and recollections of people who lived through the catastrophe. Duncan and Burns have also worked together on some of the most popular PBS films in history, including Lewis & Clark and The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.
The seminar was entitled “The Fabric of History: Understanding the American Imaginary through Documentary Film” and focused on how people put together an image of the world on which they can act. The seminar discussed how documentaries help this process and especially help viewers understand the past. Duncan offered a public lecture on Thursday, March 14, at 4:30 p.m. at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Duncan spoke on the making of the film with behind-the-scenes commentary. He also showed excerpts and engaged in questions and answers with the audience.
In addition to Duncan, Professor Marco Williams of the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University presented. Williams is a filmmaker and film educator and has been a full-time professor for eight years. Williams is a writer, director and producer of several successful, acclaimed documentaries at various times during his career. During the seminar, Williams screened his film Banished, which deals with the ethnic cleansing of several towns.
This year the seminar was hosted by Ralph Beliveau, associate professor in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Beliveau has done extensive research on documentary literacy and learning and has written on documentary rhetoric and several other pop culture topics. The Feaver-MacMinn Seminar was open to all OU students.
Update: The College of Liberal Studies was renamed the College of Professional and Continuing Studies in 2017.