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The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetic of Labor

Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky, University of Chicago; with Steven Chung, East Asian Studies

April 13, 2022 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · Zoom

Committee for Film Studies

Join the Committee for Film Studies for the third and final lecture in our spring 2022 series, “On the Boundaries of Cinema,” which features prominent film scholars in conversation with members of the Princeton community. This virtual discussion with Salomé Aguilera Skvirsky, associate professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, will be moderated by Steven Chung (East Asian Studies), executive member of the Committee for Film Studies.

Talk title
“The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetic of Labor”

This talk is based on my recently published book, The Process Genre: Cinema and the Aesthetic of Labor (Duke UP, 2020). From IKEA assembly guides and “hands and pans” cooking videos on social media to Mister Roger’s classic factory tours, representations of the step-by-step fabrications of objects and food are ubiquitous in popular media. The book sets out to introduce and systematically theorize an unrecognized transmedial genre: the process genre. The process genre is characterized by the special, often mesmerizing way it organizes the representation of processes. The represented processes are typically processes of production—both artisanal and industrial— and, crucially, they are represented as having a chronologically ordered series of steps with a clearly identifiable beginning, middle, and end. The Process Genre proposes that the broader cultural significance of the process genre is in its formal approach to the representation of labor, which—regardless of the actual kind of labor depicted (often industrial production)—it casts as skilled and artisanal. The centrality of work and labor to the process genre means that its exemplars are often staking out ideological positions—from across the political spectrum—on the meaning of labor in human life.

This event is open to the public and will take place online via Zoom. Attendees must register in advance.

The spring 2022 lecture series is sponsored by the Humanities Council’s Committee for Film Studies.

Please email program manager Margo Bresnen at mbresnen@princeton.edu with any questions.

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