March 7: 5:30pm HeLa Biolabor: Race and Class and Gender

Job Talk for Culture and Media Studies

Eugene Lang College invites you to attend a job talk by David Bering-Porte
When: Monday, March 7, 2016
Time: 5:30-7pm,
Where: Orozco Room, RM 712, 66 W 12th St

Title: Cellular Labor: HeLa, The Blob, and Excessive Life
Abstract: And here is the abstract: This talk looks at the cult-classic film, The Blob (1958), which depicts the eponymous blob as an amorphous alien organism that was seemingly immortal and endlessly growing, which terrorized a small American town. This talk reads the fascination of The Blob as a symptom of larger anxieties of the mid-century within the popular and scientific imagination about excessive life, specifically around the “immortal” cell line, HeLa, developed from the cancerous tissue of Henrietta Lacks. Reading across science and society, this talk explores the intimate relations between labor and life and the way that this is made literal by reframing labor at the cellular level. Drawing on concepts on race, biopolitics, and screen studies, this talk looks at both HeLa and The Blob as a nexus point of race, labor and value, which illustrates the excessive life and an excessive mode of production located within the mediated body of the mid-twentieth century.