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Visual Culture Seminar

Tuesday, May 30, 2023
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Dabney Hall 110 (Treasure Room)
A24's Academic Style; or, Coming of Age in an Era of Student Debt
Jordan Brower, Assistant Professor of English, University of Kentucky,

A24 is one of the most successful producer-distributors of the 21st century, with myriad hits including recent Academy Award winners Moonlight and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Since its founding in 2012, A24 has staked its corporate persona on movies about frustrated youth, disenchanted with and resistant to formal education, but which are nonetheless depicted in a rarefied style. As such, they belong to a lineage of self-consciously formally inventive works beginning with the modernist narratives of stalled development (e.g. James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, per literary scholar Jed Esty) and carrying through to the Hollywood Renaissance films of countercultural revolt (e.g. Mike Nichols's The Graduate). This talk considers the company's self-branding as a way to understand transformations in American film production and the economy more generally after 2008. Addressing youths alienated from previously stable paths to economic security, A24 has simultaneously positioned itself as a path to a semi-autodidactic cinema education when the costs of a formal one are steeper than ever.

The Caltech-Huntington Program in Visual Culture, which is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), features new undergraduate course offerings, guest lecturers, and other programming to foster conversations between humanists and scientists. Its activities are organized by HSS and other Caltech faculty in collaboration with scholars at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

For more information, please contact Sheryl Cobb by phone at 626-395-4220 or by email at [email protected].