Fall 2018 - LBST 330 D100

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (3)

Studying Labour Through Film

Class Number: 2058

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    TASC2 8500, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    John Irwin
    Office: AQ 6218
    Office Hours: WE 13:00-14:00
  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly Recommended: LBST 101 and/or 301.



Selected topics in areas not currently offered within the undergraduate course offerings. Students may take more than one offering of LBST Selected Topics courses for credit, as long as the topic for each offering is different.


This is a seminar course devoted to an in-depth and global scale examination of labour as portrayed on film and emerging media. Studying Labour Through Film analyzes the nature of contemporary labour issues and how they are portrayed in film and emerging media. The field of labour studies provides interdisciplinary tools that can help analyze the complexities of current forms of media, which portray the world of work in various ways. Many global cultural influences, such as old and new media (Hollywood, television and internet-based activity) shape the mental, and, at times, the actual maps, that people hold which guide their perspectives of labour and ecological issues. What is the role of both old and new forms of media in shaping the context of labour in the contemporary world? The course explores explanations of this core question.

The first section of the course introduces the different forms of media and the various approaches for studying the media’s role. The second section lays out the economic geography of labour as presented on film (with some specific attention paid to film and media industries). The concluding section covers the cultural influence of film and media. The course draws on global examples; therefore, prior knowledge of the international labour issues is recommended. There will be various films (both fictional and documentary) selected for both screening and analysis.

By drawing on lectures, media analysis, seminar-style participation, and hands on assignments, this course will increase students’ understanding of both media effects and how geographical imaginaries and responses to labour issues are framed by various types of media.

After completing the course, students will have a firm grounding in labour studies as portrayed on film, and other forms of media. Students will be prepared to study labour studies, geography, or media in higher level courses, or to apply their increased knowledge in their future employment.


Critical evaluation of films (other media) texts and sources, strategies for articulating and validating your findings, the application of quantitative and qualitative reasoning, the use of various research tools, a grounding in global labour and film studies, and the strengthening of written, oral, and process communication skills.

You will have the tools to analyze the emerging models of global labour and film studies. You will attain substantive knowledge of the role of film and emerging media; and global labour movements, markets, and class dynamics.


  • Seminar 25%
  • Term project 30%
  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Final exam 25%


All assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade to be assigned.  The Morgan Centre for Labour Studies follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic honesty and misconducted procedures (S10.01-S10.04).  It is the responsibility of the students to inform themselves of the content of these policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Stead, P. (2015). Film and the Working Class: The Feature Film in British and American Society. London, New York: Routledge.
ISBN: 978-1-138969759

There will be numerous on-line readings from peer reviewed academic literature, government, non-government, business, and international organization reports.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html