Labor and Film

The Labor and Film Working Group presents an opportunity to consider film and moving image genres explicitly thematizing or operationalized within the workplace or forms of labor. The depiction of the laboring subject on screen is fraught with myriad socio-historical concerns, and the working group aims to explore these intersections between the depicted work and themes such as the classification of labor and the question of “domestic work”; filmmaking practice as work or the labor surrounding cinematic production; the cinematic forging of, and investigation into, postcolonial identity; issues of modernizing technology and the development of the city; unemployment; gendered, racialized, and sexualized workplace dynamics; migration; and, indeed, the historical development of the very concept of who is considered a “worker” and what is considered “work.” These questions also help to outline labor as a throughline in longstanding discussions of aesthetic and theoretical questions about film’s representational and social capacities as a medium.

This working group meets twice a month to discuss scholarship, a relevant film, or participants’ works-in-progress; readings and media are made available and circulated a week before scheduled meetings, or arranged to be viewed on a planned day and time. Each meeting consists of a short presentation of the reading or screening of the media followed by open discussion. The group also plans to host public film screenings related to or in conversation with readings. The Labor and Film working group welcomes members from any and all disciplines.