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Mothers of Invention

Film, Media, and Caregiving Labor

edited by So Mayer and Corinn Columpar

Film Theory and Criticism, Labor Studies, Gender

Published: April 2022
ISBN: 9780814348529
Pages: 368 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 33 b&w illus.
Published: April 2022
ISBN: 9780814348536
Pages: 368 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 33 b&w illus.
Published: April 2022
ISBN: 9780814348543
Pages: 368 Size: EPUB
Illustrations: 33 b&w illus.

Mothers of Invention: Film, Media, and Caregiving Laborconstructs a feminist genealogy that foregrounds the relationship between acts of production on the one hand and reproduction on the other. In this interdisciplinary collection, editors So Mayer and Corinn Columpar bring together film and media studies with parenting studies to stake out a field, or at least a conversation, that is thick with historical and theoretical dimension and invested in cultural and methodological plurality.

In four sections and sixteen contributions, the manuscript reflects on how caregiving shapes the work of filmmakers, how parenting is portrayed on screen, and how media contributes to radical new forms of care and expansive definitions of mothering. Featuring an exciting array of approaches—including textual analysis, industry studies, ethnographic research, production histories, and personal reflection—Mothers of Invention is a multifaceted collection of feminist work that draws on the methods of both the humanities and the social sciences, as well as the insights borne of both scholarship and lived experience. Grounding this inquiry is analysis of a broad range of texts with global reach—from
the films Bashu, The Little Stranger (Bahram Beyzai, 1989), Prevenge (Alice Lowe, 2016), and A
Deal with the Universe (Jason Barker, 2018) to the television series Top of the Lake (2013–2017)
and Jane the Virgin (2014–2019), among others—as well as discussion of the creative practices,
be they related to production, pedagogy, curation, or critique, employed by a wide variety of film
and media artists and/or scholars.

Mothers of Invention demonstrates how the discourse of parenting and caregiving allows the discipline to
expand its discursive frameworks to address, and redress, current theoretical, political, and social debates about the interlinked futures of work and the world. This collection belongs on the bookshelves of students and scholars of cinema and media studies, feminist and queer media studies, labor studies, filmmaking and production, and cultural studies.

So Mayer is a writer, bookseller, film curator, and organizer.Corinn Columpar is associate professor of cinema studies at the University of Toronto.

Contributors Include:
Susan Berridge, Alice Haylett Bryan, Maria Cabrera, Elinor Cleghorn, Corinn Columpar, Tamsyn Dent, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Jules Arita Koostachin, Irene Lusztig, So Mayer, Kristi McKim, Missy Molloy, Tessa Ashlin Nunn, Claire Perkins, Elissa Rashkin, Rashna Wadia Richards, Sara Saljoughi

Never has the media industry been in greater need of attention. In Mothers of Invention, Mayer and Columpar approach this challenge—with care. They propose a refocused media scholarship that turns the spotlight from longstanding discourses of innovation to reveal the foundational underpinnings of the industry, labours of caregiving. This wide-ranging collection of essays effortlessly models what it means to care and the manifold benefits of caring about care, carers, and caregiving in global audiovisual industries.

– Deb Verhoeven, Canada 150 Research Chair, University of Alberta

This gathering of outstanding film and media scholars and makers demonstrates how becoming and recognizing mothers—quite literally the oldest job in the world—has changed and challenged their work. Here the fusion of their personal experience, art-making, and scholarship breathes new life into disciplinary methods.

– Amelie Hastie, author of Cupboards of Curiosity: Women, Recollection, and Film History

What a timely collection on parenting, caregiving—and especially mothering—in film and media cultures. Contributors examine not just representations of motherhood and maternity onscreen, but working conditions for mothers and caregivers in media industries, mothering as a form of media labor and media consumption, and the radical possibilities of feminized caregiving on set, in the classroom, and at home.

– Shelley Stamp, author of Movie-Struck Girls and Lois Weber in Early Hollywood