Pop Culture Slash History
University of Auckland Master of Arts (History) Thesis
There has been an ever-growing body of scholarship, particularly since the late 1980s, that looks at how the medium of film is used as a legitimate technique for relaying the dimensions of history. The issue has been divisive and controversial in academic circles, but it is fair to say that the acceptance of what Hayden White refers to as ‘historiophoty’ has indeed risen, and has attained a more respected standing in the discipline of history. Despite this, the scholarship on specific case studies still lacks in certain areas. There is a diverse body of literature on this topic, but the most famous studies predominantly still look at Hollywood drama films. Studies of documentaries, particularly from outside of the USA, are underrepresented, even as the genre itself has undergone a renaissance of sorts in the twenty-first century.This thesis adds a fresh perspective to this field by looking at a series of documentaries by New Zealand filmmaker and academic, Annie Goldson. Goldson is a prolific documentary feature filmmaker, and the three documentaries examined here, all contribute uniquely to the historical debates that have arisen in the countries in which they are set. Other scholars have studied these films, but nobody has looked at them from a purely historical perspective. By tackling the films from this angle then, we not only get a multi-faceted view of the way that historiophoty can address the past, but we also get another perspective to add to the current literature on Goldson’s excellent portfolio of work.