Federico Picerni is Assistant Professor of Chinese Literature in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Bologna. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow and adjunct professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where he also obtained his PhD in Asian and Transcultural Studies, in a joint program with Heidelberg University. His research concerns the relations between cultural production and society from a materialist perspective. Specifically, he focuses on the socio-literary activity of Chinese worker writers and poets, the new forms of critical realism and unrealism in contemporary Chinese novels, and (trans)cultural studies applied to Sino-Italian artistic productions.

On the Edge: A Conversation with Margaret Hillenbrand

In On the Edge: Feeling Precarious in China (Columbia University Press, 2023), Margaret Hillenbrand probes precarity in contemporary China through the lens of the dark and angry cultural forms that chronic uncertainty has generated. She argues that a vast underclass of Chinese workers exist in a state of ‘zombie citizenship’—a condition of dehumanising exile from […]

A Proletarian Nora: Discussing Fan Yusu

In 2017, migrant worker Fan Yusu became an overnight sensation in China after publishing her memoir online. Despite the fact that she has produced several more literary works, her artistic production is seldom considered from a literary perspective. To fill this gap, this essay endeavours to analyse some of the main elements that shape Fan’s output, arguing that it is an exemplar of contemporary working-class literature.

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