Access: Netflix (trailer here)
Summary: This film follows custodial staff at several U.S. colleges/universities, documenting the workers' daily lives on and off campus. The documentarians interview each person, attempting to understand their personal biographies, their daily experiences as a custodian, and their philosophies on life, love, religion, etc. This film can be used instructively in the following ways: 1) in a lecture on class, inequality, the working poor, or Marx's concept of alienation, 2) as a tool to highlight the experiences of people extremely close in proximity to students, as custodial staff are often ignored by undergraduates and other members of college/university campuses; this is also a great time to introduce campus-led initiatives such as the Harvard Living Wage Campaign, 3) as a tool to understand intersectionality, and how the intersecting identities of the custodial staff result in certain material inequalities, and 4) in class discussions about the social construction of knowledge, as the custodial staff offer epistemological perspectives rooted in unique social locations and life histories; the juxtaposition between the knowledge articulated by the custodial staff and the knowledge-producing institutions in which they work, as well as the quotes by well-known philosophers interwoven between segments, offers a very fruitful site for analysis.
Submitted By: Beverly M. Pratt