International Studies Global Media Candidate Talk with Anne Cong-Huyen

Starts 4:30 PM
Thursday Feb 7, 2013
Harmon Room, DeWitt Wallace Library

Stay in L.A.: Duration, Precarity, and Hope for Temporary Workers in Los Angeles

The global city of Los Angeles has long been notorious for its conflicting representational history. At once paradise and apocalypse, utopia and slum, sunshine and noir, Los Angeles persists as a destination for workers from the global south who congregate in search of the opportunities of the hemispheric north. With such a history, it is important to ask: why is it necessary to view Los Angeles as a global city? What draws populations the world over to Los Angeles despite the uncertainty? And how do individuals or communities challenge the precarity of their temporariness? In this talk, Anne Cong-Huyen addresses these questions, and reads the imagined city in the context of the diverse temporary populations that all struggle to endure or stay. She focuses on the cultural representations and engagements of high-tech workers and day laborers in news media, websites, novels, and blogs. These two populations seem to occupy opposite ends of the economic and social spectrum, but are both linked by the temporary nature of their work. She argues that for these workers, permanence and endurance is fashioned through labor marked by obsolescence—maintaining technology, tending gardens or homes. The precarity of these subjective experiences endure in the production of cultural texts, which document and give voice to populations whose representations are often co-opted and distorted. The texts here present instances of contingent workers refusing to remain temporary, ultimately enabling hope in the face of precarity.

This event is for: Students, Staff and Faculty

Sponsored By: International Studies

Categories: Front Page Events and Lectures and Speakers