The new Netflix miniseries The Chair stars Sandra Oh as Professor Ji-Yoon Kim, the new chair of the English department at the fictional Pembroke University. Given the popularity of STEM subjects and the backlash that arts majors often face, The Chair is a timely and relatively nuanced show about the internal and external struggles of people in academia- something that is rarely represented onscreen. At the same time, it is a heartwarming reminder of the power that reading and analyzing literature plays in society.
Ji-Yoon Kim is the only other woman of color in the department who tries to ensure the tenure of her young Black colleague while also being in the good books of the older white conservative professors. Meanwhile, another colleague Bill Dobson (whom she secretly has feelings for) is being canceled by his students for doing a mock-Nazi salute in class. And Kim’s adopted daughter becomes more unmanageable by the day.
Image Credit: Eliza Morse/Netflix
Kim clearly has a lot on her plate, highlighting the different and often invisible hurdles that women of color face on a regular basis, despite being perceived as “successful” by society. Working in academia has its unique series of risks and challenges, especially with the competition for tenure-track jobs and dwindling research funds- but these issues are rarely talked about outside academic circles.
The sequences depicting class lectures emphasize how the field of “English literature” is also undergoing a change and gradually acknowledging its colonial history by questioning the existing canon, analyzing new modes and forms of content, and opening up spaces for debate and discussion. And finally, the show also focuses on how “woke” language and performativity can become self-defeating and turn on itself by being co-opted to justify literally anything.
At just six episodes, the show is relatively short for all the complex issues it tries to tackle. It doesn’t satisfactorily resolve all of them and kind of does a disservice to student activism, yet at the same time, it does what all good stories aim to do: it makes you think deeply and starts an important conversation.
From Software has spent years developing what many gamers would call some of the most challenging games of all time. Dark Souls, Sekiro,Click Here to read more
Studio Ghibli films have received critical acclaim not just in Japan but all over the world. Guided by Hayao Miyazaki’s unique artistic visionClick Here to read more
2021 was a good year for the indie gaming industry, and 2022 promises to be even better, with several interesting titles lined upClick Here to read more
The gameplay of Unpacking is relatively simple. At each level, you find yourself in a new location where you unpack a collection ofClick Here to read more
Meet Teacup, a shy young frog who loves to drink tea and read books. She’s planning on throwing a tea party for allClick Here to read more
While Avengers: Endgame bade goodbye to Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Chris Evans’ Captain America, it ushered in a new era forClick Here to read more
Superheroes are supposed to protect innocent citizens, capture dangerous criminals, and in a nutshell, save the world. Unlike villains, they use their magicalClick Here to read more
2022 promises to be a great year for anime fans, with the release of several much-awaited series, such as Cyberpunk: Edgerunners and theClick Here to read more
With a tentative release date of March 30, Moon Knight is slated to be the newest Marvel release in 2022, following the successClick Here to read more
Slay the Spire is a unique video game that combines the best of rogue-like mechanics with deck-building card games. In Slay the Spire,Click Here to read more