Spring 2015 - LBST 330 D300

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (3)

Class Number: 4055

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 13, 2015: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 15, 2015
    Wed, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly recommended: LBST 101 and/or 301.



The study of issues related to work and/or trade unions not offered in regular courses. Students who have completed special temporary topics course LBST 389 cannot complete this course for further credit when it is offered as "Studying Labour Through Film."


LBST 330 D300 - Studying Labour Through Film

This course is concerned with the depiction of the working class and labour in film. With a particular emphasis on class, we will focus on film practices and some of the theoretical perspectives that have emerged to account for them.  We will examine Hollywood films as well as independent films and documentaries to see how our ideas about labour, trade unions, and employment have been informed and misinformed by film and film practices.


This course will allow students to learn how to deconstruct film in order to understand some of the techniques and methods it uses to construct meaning. In addition, students will come away with an understanding of how class is framed in film. Since filmmaking is a major industry, we will explore the consequences of having mass, popular, and working class culture turned into something you buy, rather than something you do. This course will also provide students with the basic vocabulary for understanding concepts in the field of film study (questions of narration, realism, and spectatorship). At the same time, the course examines specific themes in labour studies, through the movies themselves and through the issues, incidents, and events they portray.


  • Seminar Participation 20%
  • Film Critique (5 pages on one film) 10%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Film Critique #2 (8 pages on 2 or more films) 20%
  • Research Essay (15-page paper) 30%


Class Participation/Seminar Discussion: Regular attendance, regular participation and evidence of regular reading and understanding the basic issues are the criteria for the seminar grade.  You must come to class to participate.


All students are expected to read SFU’s policies concerning academic honesty and student conduct [S 10.01 and S10.04]. The policies can be read at this website: www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html .



John Storey, Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction 6th edition (Pearson Longman 2009).

James J. Lorence , The Suppression of Salt of the Earth: How Hollywood, Big Labor, and Politicians Blacklisted a Movie in the American Cold War  (Albuquerque : University of New Mexico Press, 1999).


Timothy Corrigan, A Short Guide to Writing About Film  8th edition (New York: Pearson Longman, 2011).

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