Media & Communication Department

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STORY MAPPING PROJECT

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In text and photography, place figures prominently in documentary studies. Documentary is itself a way of seeing and making meaning of a particular cultural landscape. In this project, documentary theory and practice are integrated with emerging digital mapping technologies to create a narrative map that shares stories about places in Allentown.

For the last two semesters, students in COM 231: Documentary Research have been exploring the theory and practice of documentary research in the context of Allentown. The course examines what Robert Coles identifies as the “moral dilemmas and ethical tensions” inherent in doing documentary work, including the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity in representing the lives of others, doing justice to the human particularity of documentary subjects, responsibility to the community, and their own location as documentarians within the community.

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This ongoing project is informed by the StoryMapping initiative of: The Center for Digital Storytelling and a NITLE seminar “Teaching With Mobile Devices: Mapwalks,” based on the work of Prof. Lloyd Benson and Mike Winiski at Furman University.