Leadership in Documentary Film - The Tower Road Bus

Michael Streissguth
September 28, 2021
Strategy & General Management
10 pages
leadership, Documentary, documentary analysis, leadership principles, business, academia, politics, religion, American Film, ethical leadership, ethics, African-American leaders, African-American thinkers
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Students will analyze portrayals of general leadership in documentary films according to leadership principles set forth by prominent African-American figures from business, academia, politics and religion.  The course endeavors to help students engage with the documentary tradition in American film and move students toward an understanding of ethical leadership.  Leadership in Documentary Film also encourages conversance with a broad, yet often overlooked, body of literature on leadership written by African-American leaders and thinkers.


Learning Outcomes: 
  1. To analyze examples of general leadership in a wide variety of settings (education, business, politics, religion) as portrayed in documentary film by applying leadership principles articulated in the writings of African-American leaders and thinkers from academia, business, politics, and religion.  These writings as a collective body of work merit special attention as they represent unique perspectives tempered by racism, economic hardship, and efforts to achieve basic civil rights.  They are also often rooted in the Black church tradition which “can serve as a strategic resource in the formation of ethical leaders for national and international communities” (Fluker, 1997).   
  2. To become conversant in often-overlooked principles of leadership set forth by African-American scholars, business leaders, clergy and political figures.  Such principles may be drawn from Dr. Walter Earl Fluker’s (Boston University) writings on African-American moral leadership and Dr. Ronald Crutcher’s  (University of Richmond) practical observations on leadership—having to do with notions of service, listening and understanding of one’s past— as articulated in his I Had No Idea You Were Black: Navigating Race on the Road to Leadership (2021).
  3. To understand the documentary film tradition and styles of documentary storytelling as well as the role of documentary film in promoting general understanding of various aspects of culture and society.