Picun Village is located on the northeast end of Beijing outside of the 5th Ring Road. Founded by migrant workers, the organization Migrant Workers’ Home has built up a comprehensive program of services brick by brick: a self-serving, holistic economic system; “New Worker” cultural exhibitions and research; education services; and legal consultation. Together, these services form a complete micro-society. The group also organizes the Community Workers Union, run by the Jinzhan Township regional workers union, to advocate for labor culture and its attendant values and social benefits.
In this talk, union representative Wang Dezhi and Peking University instructor Jiang Hongsheng will look at the Picun Village project through the lens of two landmark films: Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948) and All’s Well (Godard, 1972).
Jiang Hongsheng was born in Chaling, Hunan in 1972. He received his bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature from Beijing Normal University in 1994. He went on to study comparative literature and Japanese studies at Peking University, from which he received a master’s degree in 1997. He completed his doctorate in literature at Duke University in 2010. Since 2012, he has taught in the Chinese Department of Peking University. His research interests include cultural history, critical theory, comparative literature, and East Asian historical, cultural, and political studies.
Wang Dezhi was born in Inner Mongolia. When he was young, he left school to work in agriculture. In 1995 he came to Beijing for work, where in 2002 he co-founded the organization Beijing Migrant Workers’ Home. He has written a number of skits and cross-talk performances and served as a workers’ rights advocate. As a hobby, he is also a documentary and feature filmmaker. Today he is primarily engaged in social enterprise. In 2012 and 2013, he directed the Migrant Workers’ Spring Festival Gala.