Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Hunter Hargraves

Berkeley Film and Media Series Presents Hunter Hargraves

Thu, May 04, 2023, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

142 Dwinelle

Hunter Hargraves

The Woke Spectator: Misrecognizing Discomfort in the Era of “Peak TV”

My talk will contextualize and expand upon the final chapter of my recent book, Uncomfortable Television, which examines how spectatorial discomfort has accompanied major transformations in television form, genre, industry, and technology in the service of neoliberal governmentality. I chart the shift from an acculturating function of discomfort present in the 2000s and early 2010s to a more politicized function of discomfort seen in formations of “Woke TV” in the mid-to-late 2010s, formations related to characterizations of “Peak TV” enabled by the proliferation of streaming platforms. I then analyze a number of examples from 21st century television and their attending affective constructions of wokeness to explore the emergence and limitations of woke spectatorship as a form of political and social resistance, especially against a backdrop of right-wing attempts to regulate and control educational curricula.

Hunter Hargraves is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Television Arts at California State University, Fullerton. His research traverses the intersection of spectatorial affect and popular television cultures and can be found in journals such as Camera Obscura, Television & New Media, and JCMS. His first book, Uncomfortable Television, was just published by Duke University Press in January.

This event is free and open to the public