Courses / Undergraduate

Fall 2019

  • Special Topics in Film – The Image of Labor: Work, Film, Media and Resistance!

    140-003 | CCN: 24843

    Jeffrey Skoller

    4 Units

    M/W 1:00pm-2:30pm, Dwinelle 188; Screening Tues. 5:00pm-7:00pm, Dwinelle 188 ///

    The film as a mass medium emerged simultaneously with mass industrialization, making Cinema the first art form of the industrial era. Since those beginnings, the representation of workers' resistance to dehumanizing exploitation and of their struggles for decent working conditions and fair wages has been deeply intertwined with the history of cinema. From the early silent classics such as Lang’s Metropolis and Chaplin’s Modern Times to today with Cuaròn’s Roma and Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, filmmakers all over the world have attempted to create an image of worker’s struggles for economic justice. At the same time, cinema has explored labor as visual spectacle; showing the dynamism, and poetry of work as a source of meaning, creativity and personal fulfillment. 

    In this course we will look at a range of film and media works from classical cinema and photography to today’s new media platforms, in a range of genres from popular dramatic fiction and documentary film to activist and experimental media. The class will look at the ways film and media have been used as organizing tools to mobilize and educate working people. By focusing on the relationship between form and content in these politically charged works, we explore how film and media have shaped the ways we understand the meaning of work in modern life and how labor struggles have defined social relations including race, class and gender.  

    In addition to required viewing, reading and class discussion, students will create an image-based research project that engages contemporary issues around labor in their own lives and community.