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In this talk, Jamie McCallum will screen two short films he directed and then offer a talk on related themes, mainly on the history of the work ethic. Both films are quasi-documentaries, one on the decline of worker militancy and the other is a social experiment in which people were hired to dig holes in a field for the day. McCallum situates the discourse of “meaningful work” in an historical context that suggests it has helped to reinforce the growth of even poor “meaningless” jobs.