Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Hodges

Second Advisor

Dr. Marcel Cornis-Pope

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy Bajkiewicz

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Laura Browder

Fifth Advisor

Allan Rosenbaum, MFA


Nonfiction, Documentary, and Family Narrative:
 An Intersection of Representational Discourses and Creative Practices explores the role of personal memory, family history, and inter-generational storytelling as the basis for making a nonfiction film. The film, American Boy, tells the story of my mother’s immigration to the United States after the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956, opening a discussion of four generations of my family life in the context of historical events, exile, self re-invention, and identity formation. As a media producer and nonfiction author, I narrate my understanding of these events to my infant son, as a way of communicating my grandfather’s role in the revolution, my mother’s childhood, and my own mediation of my family’s trauma. Through the use of archival footage including newsreels and commercials, as well as my own archive of family photos and documents, I re-construct the existing materials to build my own associations concerning time, memory, and place. The film, as my creative practice, leads to a theoretical analysis of representational discourses which inform the work. This deconstruction of nonfiction and meta-analysis includes my study of several practitioners in the craft of non-fiction: Kati Marton, Robert Root, Primo Levi, Eva Hoffman, Patricia Hampl, Dinty W. Moore, Peter Balakian and others.


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Date of Submission