Backpack Mini-Documentaries

Backpack Mini-Documentaries are short, 5-7 minute documentaries that promote humanities scholarship by giving a narrative voice to the research process. Each mini-doc covers an individual scholar’s or student’s work or depicts an event put on by a student organization or department affiliated with the humanities.

Producing short, easy-to-watch films that are accessible to students and the larger public will hopefully, in turn, promote the value of humanities research to as large an audience as possible. Making these activities more visible and less mysterious will also encourage students to engage in the same scholarly activities that are depicted in the films. In essence, these documentaries bring the “human” back to the humanities by showing real people engaging in scholarly activities and entertainingly answering the question: What do humanists do?

Backpack Mini-Documentaries are a project of the 4Humanites@CSUN local chapter of 4Humanities. All MiniDocs are shot on the Sony 96GB HXR-NX30 Palm Size camera and edited in iMovie. The camera was purchased with the help of Associated Students at CSUN (California State University, Northridge) and a few generous individual donors

4Humanities MiniDoc #4: Telling Our Stories: A First-Year Students’ Panel on Literacy Narratives


Telling Our Stories: A First-Year Students’ Panel on Literacy Narratives from Kristin Cornelius on Vimeo

4Humanities@CSUN proudly announces their new MiniDoc project: “Telling Our Stories: A First-Year Students’ Panel on Literacy Narratives.” This MiniDoc features a session from the 2013 Associate Graduate Students of English conference (AGSE), comprised of four first-year students’ who each share their literacy narrative in a conference-style panel. (Read more)

4Humanities MiniDoc #3: #toofew: THATCamp Feminisms Wikipedia Edit-a-thon


#toofew: THATCamp Feminisms West Wikipedia Edit-a-thaon from Kristin Cornelius on Vimeo

4Humanities@CSUN is pleased to showcase the event #toofew: THATcamp Feminisms Wikipedia Edit-a-thon in its newest MiniDoc production. The film features Dr. Jacque Wernimont, an Assistant Professor of English at Scripps College, who describes the mission behind this event as educating and training users to transform Wikipedia into an encyclopedia that “represents people of color, women, and people with other gender or sex identities;” currently, she states, “the majority of editors are men between their twenties and thirties.” (Read more)

4Humanities MiniDoc #2: “Books for Africa”

4Humanities@CSUN is pleased to introduce graduate student Naomi Carrington in its second MiniDoc presentation. In this short video, Carrington’s passion for literacy, diversity, and charity are exhibited as she discusses her project Books for Africa. Part of the charitable offerings of the organization Better World Books, this project allows a participant to send books to an underprivileged place of their choosing completely free of cost. Carrington describes how a trip to Africa in 2009 provided the impetus for her desire to dedicate some of her time and effort while in graduate school to their cause. Thus, in fall 2012, she reached out to Better World Books and asked for the materials to gather and send books to Africa. Her project ultimately brought in over four hundred pounds of books that were shipped overseas in December. (Read more)

4Humanities Backpack Mini-Documentary #1: “A Harry Potter Cross-Generational Discussion”

4Humanities today debuts the first of the videos produced by its Mini-Documentary Backpack Project (produced by the local chapter of 4Humanities at California State University, Northridge: 4Humanities@CSUN). Mini-doc #1 features the humanities in action in Professor Ranita Chatterjee’s classroom, where senior English majors hosted ten-year-old children as their guests. (Read more)