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ILR School

Labor and Film (LS214)

Available dates

Apr 6—Jun 21, 2020
Online
USD 625

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About the course

Labor and Film examines the history of unions and workers in the United States through the use of film. Students will explore the various social issues and problems raised by each film and examine how these issues are shaped by important social factors including social class, race/ethnicity and gender. We will pay particular attention to whether workers and their unions are depicted as passive victims of larger social forces or whether they are portrayed as participants in their own destinies. We will also explore how the films depict the relationship between the labor movement and other movements for social change.

KEY TOPICS

The historical context of each film

How movies shape society's perception of workers and unions

When, why and how filmakers changed history to make a "better" story

How the perspective of the filmakers shapes the presentation of the narrative

APPROACH AND FEATURES

Each week we will watch a film, analyze it and its historical context, and discuss our reactions. The short weekly reading will be available as pdf files for download. A list of DVDs and a link to where they can be purchased will be included in the syllabus.

BENEFITS TO YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION

You and your organization will have a small library of DVDs that can provide labor history education to community organizations sympathetic to labor and as an internal organizing tool.

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