Event Details

Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 4:00 PM
Department of Comparative Literature
Seminar: The Paradox of Moving Labor: Workers in the Films of Jia Zhangke


Message from Department of Comparative Literature Event Poster Professor Peter Hitchcock (CUNY) – The Paradox of Moving Labor: Workers in the Films of Jia Zhangke Speaker: Prof. Peter Hitchcock Time: 4:00 p.m. Date: October 12, 2016 (Wednesday) Location: May Hall, Lecture Hall, HKU About the Seminar: If the Lumière brothers’, “Workers leaving the Lumière factory” (1895) marks a beginning for cinema, it is striking that Jia Zhangke’s 24 City features the reverse of this moving image. 24 City (co-written with Zhai Yongming) begins with an establishing shot of the front of a factory as its workers sing “Welcoming the sun of the new century, we workers at Chengfa raise our voices.” In the new century, paradoxically, workers are not leaving the factory on celluloid but entering it on DV. Obviously, Jia’s oeuvre is about China’s transition (what has been left, what is being done, what lies before it). This paper focuses on how migrant labor figures or makes transition in Jia’s films. Politically obtuse and devoid of sociological standpoint, Jia’s films yet reveal a moving labor at the heart of social change, however much we might deem this process “ill-fated.” About Prof. Peter Hitchcock: Peter Hitchcock is Professor of English at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is also on the faculties of Women’s Studies and Film Studies at the GC. He is the author of six books, including The New Public Intellectual (co-edited with Jeffrey Di Leo [Palgrave]), The Long Space, (Stanford), Imaginary States (Illinois), Oscillate Wildly (Minnesota) and Dialogics of the Oppressed (Minnesota). His most recent publications include, “Accumulating Fictions” for Representations, “Immolation” for the Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights, “How to Read a Discipline” for Comparative Literature, “Culture and Anarchy in Thatcher’s London” for an anthology on Hanif Kureishi, “( ) of Ghosts” in The Spectralities Reader, “The Space of Time: Chronotopes and Crisis” for Primerjalna Knjizevnost, “Defining the World” in Literary Materialisms and “Everything’s Gone Green: The Environment of BP’s Narrative” for Imaginations. Forthcoming articles include an essay, “Viscosity and Velocity,” for an anthology on oil (Cornell), and an essay on communism titled “The Leninist Hypothesis” for Poetics Today. Forthcoming book projects include a monograph on the cultural representation of labor and a monograph on worlds of postcoloniality. He is currently working on two research projects: one about seriality in politics and culture; the other on the aesthetics of commodities and financial instruments. Co-organized by: The Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences The Department of Comparative Literature Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures, HKU

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