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Jeanne Dielman: Sex, Work, and the Everyday (The One Series)

ENGL 4516.401
also offered as: CIMS 4516
Monday 5:15-8:14pm

Recently named the “Greatest Film of All Time,” Chantal Akerman's “Jeanne Dielman” (1975) closely follows a Jewish widow and mother through three consecutive days of her routine. Paying homage to the often unrecognized, everyday activities of a mother working—which in this instance include cooking, cleaning, and performing sex work—Akerman’s film asks us to consider the home as a political space. Through an in-depth engagement with Jeanne Dielman over the course of the semester, we will learn to draw connections between cinematic form and critical issues surrounding gender, sexuality, and labor. What does the film have to teach us about typically feminized kinds of work and their relationship to race and capitalism? Why do everyday gestures continue to capture our attention, whether in the domestic routines that saturate our TikTok feeds or in the slow and careful framing of Akerman’s film? This class is open to all movie lovers—no previous knowledge of film theory is required. Students will have the option to complete assignments in the format of critical writing projects or as creative film/video projects.

English Major Requirements
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes