Campus Units

History

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date

2014

Journal or Book Title

Agricultural History

Volume

88

Issue

2

First Page

262

Last Page

288

DOI

10.3098/ah.2014.88.2.262

Abstract

Historical documentaries have a wider audience and often a greater visceral impact than written histories. They frequently resonate deeply with viewers through the use of images, first-person narratives, and evocative filming. To wield such emotional power responsibly demands great attention to accuracy and nuance. In the fall of 2013 these four historians met at the Northern Great Plains History Conference to discuss Ken Burns's latest work on the Dust Bowl. Each of the panelists presents a different critique of the documentary. By looking at the piece's sources, its music, its narration, and, most importantly, its message, they concluded that the film presents a one-dimensional, often inaccurate, over dramatization of the hardships experienced on the Great Plains in the depths of the Great Depression. Moreover, Burns ignores much of the recent scholarship on the Dust Bowl in the documentary, actively choosing a simplified narrative over a more realistic, complex account.

Comments

This article is published as Riney-Kehrberg, Pamela, Geoff Cunfer, R. Douglas Hurt, and Julie Courtwright. "Historians' reaction to the documentary, The Dust Bowl." Agricultural History 88, no. 2 (2014): 262-288. 10.3098/ah.2014.88.2.262. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

JSTOR

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Published Version

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