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Colloquium : Jenn Bair
March 23 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Dr. Jennifer Bair is a sociologist of globalization, with interests in trade and the political economy of development, and the relationship between gender and work. Her research agenda centers on the comparative study of export-led development, and she has conducted fieldwork in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Bangladesh. Her publications include “Global capitalism and commodity chains: looking back, going forward” (Competition and Change), “On difference and capital: gender and the globalization of production” (Signs), “From varieties of capitalism to varieties of activism: The anti-sweatshop movement in comparative perspective” (Social Problems, co-authored with Florence Palpacuer), and “The legacies of partial possession: From agrarian struggle to neoliberal restructuring in Mexico and Colombia” (International Journal of Comparative Sociology, co-authored with Phil Hough), which received awards from two American Sociological Association sections (Political Economy of the World-System, and Sociology of Development). She is the editor of Frontiers of Commodity Chain Research (Stanford University Press) and the former chair of the ASA’s section on the Political Economy of the World System. She has spoken at the United Nations, the European Parliament, the International Labor Office, and the Collège de France about supply chains, development, and labor conditions in factories around the globe. Jennifer received her B.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University, with a Concentration in Women’s Studies.
Many observers have drawn parallels between the fire that occurred at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 and the deadly collapse of the Rana Plaza complex in Bangladesh in 2015. In the aftermath of Rana, is Bangladesh poised to replicate the enormous improvements in labor conditions that were achieved in New York after the Triangle fire—an industrial disaster that is widely regarded as a turning point in the fight against sweatshops in the United States? This talk focuses on the enduring relationship between industry organization and precarious work across space and time. Drawing from both archival material and fieldwork in both New York and Bangladesh, I examine the prospects for state regulation and labor organizing to counter the challenges that global subcontracting chains pose labor rights.