Course Texts: :  Wolff and Resnick, Contending Economic Theories (The MIT Press, 2012)

  Course Calendar:


September 7:  Introduction to Economics in Popular Film: Economics, Epistemology, Consciousness, & Exploitation (film: The Matrix, will be shown at 1:30PM on Saturday, September 10th.)

Discussion Questions

Reading from Economics in Popular Film

Read Chapter 1 of Boundary.

Read chapters 1 and 2 of Knowledge and Class (complete chapter 1 prior to the 12 September meeting, complete first 62 pages before 14 September meeting, and complete entire assignment prior to the 19 September meeting)

Part I:  Identifying Economic Processes in Film

September 12-14:  Comparative Economic Systems (taxonomies of economic systems based on dominant class processes -- Matewan demonstrates some fundamental differences between feudal economic relationships and capitalist economic relationships): (film:  Matewan, will be shown at 1:30PM, Saturday, 17 September)

Read chapters 2, 3, and 4 of Boundary
The Battle of Matewan

Read chapter 3 of Resnick and Wolff, Knowledge and Class. Read the entire chapter prior to the 21 September meeting (without taking notes), then reread with notes and questions for the 26 September meeting.

Matewan Essay by Bernice Clark

Matewan and Norma Rae---Feudalism and Capitalism: Examined
by Heather Warner

List of Past Student Essays on Matewan

September 28-October 5:  The Wages of Sin: Identifying the political, cultural, and economic conditions shaping the capitalist enterprise (film:  Norma Rae, will be shown at 7PM, Monday, 3 October -- attendance is mandatory.)

Read chapter 4 of Resnick and Wolff, Knowledge and Class. Read to page 192 prior to the 28 September meeting and complete chapter prior to the 3 October meeting.

Racism and Capitalist Accumulation

From Hierarchical Dualism to Integrative Liberation: Thoughts on a Possible Non-Racist Non-Classist Feminist Future by Julie Matthaei and Barbara Brant

Norma Rae Essay by Sarah Cumbie

First Paper Due on Thursday, 6 October by 1PM. No time extensions will be granted.

Part II:  Free Market Slavery, Primitive Accumulation of Capital, and Economic Hit Men

12 October-26 October (film:  The Mission will be shown at 7PM, Monday, 17 October and Men with Guns or Missing will be shown at 7PM, Monday, 24 October -- attendance at both films is mandatory) 
Read Parts I and II (pages 1-98) in John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
Chronology of Slavery and Racism
PBS Website on Race: The Power of an Illusion
American Slave Narratives
Boundary, chapter 5

Read Marx's chapter on The Modern Theory of Colonisation

Men with Guns Essay by Kate Flewelling

Learning Guide to The Mission

Study Guide to The Mission

Second Paper Due on Thursday, October 27th by 1PM.

Part III:  The Anti-Capitalist Roots of American Culture: The Tradition of Self-employment

November 7-14:  Self-employment and the Outsider : (films:  Milagro Beanfield War will be shown at 7PM, Monday, 7 November and Mississippi Masala will be shown at 7PM, Monday, 14 November -- attendance at both films is mandatory).

Re-read chapter 3 of Resnick and Wolff, Knowledge and Class, and think about how one would need to alter the argument to fit self-employment, instead of capitalist class processes, as internal organizing relationship of the enterprise. Think about the self-employed characters in the films and what would be required in surplus product and surplus value flows to reproduce their positions as self-employed producers.

Third Essay Due on November 28th, start of class.

Part IV:  The Rationality of Environmental Destruction: Why Externalities are Integral to the Internal Dynamics of Capitalism

November 28-December 14:  Profit Maximization and Externalities  (films:  Erin Brockovich and A Civil Action)

Introduction to a Post-structuralist View of the Firm

Profile of Erin Brockovich from the Law Offices of Masry & Vititoe
Erin Brockovich Speech to Commonwealth Club


Please note that the professor reserves the right to alter the above film schedule, upon discussion with the students in the course.



Cultural Theory and Cinema --- An ezine on Understanding Cinema

Coming Soon: Bread and Roses and Real Women Have Curves

Copyright 1999-2005 Satya J. Gabriel, Mt. Holyoke College