Volume 1 

The Documentary Camera

An exploration of what documentary is,
with an eye toward what it might become.

Published by UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art, World Records brings together the voices of scholars, critics, makers, and curators who offer new and complex perspectives on documentary to challenge and extend its margins.

An expanding nonfiction media culture finds itself in a number of new spaces, from the proliferation of documentary in film festivals, galleries, and activism, to other forms of social, mobile, and emerging media, yet there is as of yet no critical journal dedicated to exploring the implications and the possibilities of this shifting terrain. The objective of the journal, mirroring the spirit of UnionDocs more broadly, is to frame the idea of documentary media as expansively and inclusively as possible.

World Records adopts an ecological view of non-fiction, one that investigates the conditional as well as the expressive forms of relation in the images that constitute our shared worlds. The journal approaches criticism not as the study of finished products, but as a rigorous space of engagement with a variety of image-based forms that are always contestable.

Published semi-annually, individual peer-reviewed volumes are organized around broad yet well-defined themes that engage the intellectual, technical, and formal strategies that are at the heart of an engaged contemporary nonfiction media practice, as well as the cultures that frame it.

Call For Submissions

Vol. 3



Documentary, Blackness
and the National
Museum of African American
History and Culture

Edited by Jason Fox & Mia Mask

Anchored by an exploration of the role of photography and film in the staging of visitor interaction within the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., this volume aims to enrich and expand scholarship on historical traditions of non-fiction media practices by black artists and filmmakers.  Looking beyond visibility politics, we seek to trace historical negotiations by black media makers. What terms of, and access to, the means of representation situate black visualities within and against larger historical structures of power?

We solicit abstracts that explore these themes through approaches that include, but are not limited to:

  • Intersections of the vectors of form, race, and social and political conditions in black documentary practice.
  • Explorations of films and filmmakers that move between or elide conventional boundaries between fiction and documentary filmmaking practices and between film and contemporary art practices.
  • The social uptake of particular films and traditions, 1950’s to present.
  • Political economies of production and exhibition.
  • Studies of particular films in relation to objective social conditions.
  • Practices of formal abstraction in nonfiction film, photography, drawing and painting, 1950’s to present.
  • Documentary as a practice that amends or upholds dominant discourses of representation.
  • Mapping race onto documentary moments and movements.
  • Archival activism and the Great Migration Project at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • The role of film, video, and photography-based installations in visitor interaction with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Deadline for electronic submissions of 500 word abstract, brief bio, and sample bibliography is April 15th, 2018.