This article explores the implications of Rancièrean theory for a radical politics of migrant equality through an interpretation of a documentary film produced by migrants in Portland, Oregon. Refusing to be defined by their social role as “workers,” the day laborers in Jornaleros execute musical, poetic, and artistic interventions that reorder the “distribution of the sensible.” They also deploy language in emancipatory ways consonant with Rancière's notion of “literarity.” The documentary thus instantiates the “verification” of intellectual equality that is crucial to Rancière's notion of emancipatory education and that, Samuel Chambers argues, should become the focus of critical theory. However, Jornaleros also poses a contrasting model of radical education, drawing on Freirean popular education principles. Even as they exemplify Rancièrean egalitarian practices, the film's worker-activist-artists thus model strategies for adding substantive depth, interactive vigor, temporal extension, and political heft to projects of radical emancipation and exercises in critical theory.

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