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.