What's Up With "The Help"? Domestic Labor, Black Feminism and the Politics of Representation- YouTube Video

Just a week ago we attended a panel discussion on the novel turned film The Help organized by Shana Russell, doctoral student in American Studies, and sponsored by the Center for Migration and the Global City. The panel featured Dr. Vanessa May, Assistant Professor of History at Seton Hall, Rutgers-Newark Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Dr. Sherri-Ann Butterfield, and Shana A. Russell (panel organizer).

While this writer has not yet seen the highly talked about film (and is still debating whether or not to see it), the discussion was nonetheless a fascinating one. The speakers set the film within a longer history of Black women's labor and feminist activism, at times offering some pointed (read scathing) critiques of the film's ahistoricism and glossy presentation of race and gender relations.