Re-imagining the Chinese Worker: Introducing China Perspectives issue No. 2015/2


 18h - 20h
 Room Segalen, 25/F, Admiralty Centre, Tower 2, 18 Harcourt Road, Hong Kong (Admiralty MTR station, exit A)

Special issue guest edited by Wanning Sun (University of Technology, Sydney)

Discussant: Gina Marchetti (University of Hong Kong)


Speaker, guest editor of the special issue:

Pr. Sun Wanning is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS. Pr. Sun researches and supervises research students in Chinese media and communication, social change and inequality in contemporary China, and diasporic Chinese media. Sun Wanning is the author of Leaving China: Media, Migration, and Transnational Imagination (2002), Maid in China: Media, Morality and the Cultural Politics of Boundaries (2009), and Subaltern China: Rural Migrants, Media and Cultural Practices (2014). She is currently undertaking a longitudinal ethnographic project exploring how inequality shapes the emotional and romantic experiences of China’s rural migrant workers.


Pr. Gina Marchetti teaches courses in film, gender and sexuality, critical theory and cultural studies at the University of Hong Kong. Her books include Romance and the “Yellow Peril”: Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction (University of California, 1993), From Tian’anmen to Times Square: Transnational China and the Chinese Diaspora on Global Screens (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006), and The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens: Race, Sex, and Cinema (Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 2012). Her current research interests include women filmmakers in the HKSAR, China and world cinema, and contemporary trends in Asian and Asian American film culture.

From the Editor:

When the Chinese Communist Party founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, it faced the enormous task of building not only a new national economy, but also a new class politics. To this end, cultural production was geared toward actively promoting the idea of class identity transformation. In contrast to the revolutionary period, economic reforms have led workers and peasants to lose their status in the official ideology as the “most advanced forces of production.”
Through the study of the production and reception of theatre plays, films and TV drama from both the revolutionary and the contemporary periods, this issue highlights the evolution of the representations of working class identities and their role in shaping a collective socialist working class identity and how they get reworked and reproduced in the reform era. It  shows how a range of issues, such as the meaning of labour, fairness, equality, exploitation, and labour relations, are negotiated in media and cultural products. The question of how these representations interact in the symbolic battlefield, and with what political, social, and economic motives, causes, consequences, and ramifications, looms large.

This seminar was held in English.
Séverine Arsène, chief editor of China Perspectives, chaired the session.