Engendering a New Working Class: Social Trauma & Labor Resistance in China
A talk by Pun Ngai, University of Science & Technology, Hong Kong
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
Pun Ngai (Ph.D., SOAS, University of London) is Associate Professor of Social Science at the University of Science & Technology, Hong Kong. Professor Pun's current research focuses on Chinese labor and global production as well as transborder issues between Hong Kong and China. Among her publications is Made in China: Subject, Power, and Resistance in a Global Workplace (Duke Univ. Press, 2005), which won the 2005 C. Wright Mills Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, given "in recognition of advancement of social scientific understanding and critical orientation toward a contemporary social justice issue." The University of Science & Technology website describes the book in the following words:
". . . passionate, engaged ethnography. Her approach to scholarship is the antithesis of the detached academic. Moved by the plight of workers in a tragic factory fire that took the lives of scores of factory hands, she bravely became one of the Dagongmei, or female factory workers. For six months, she worked, ate and slept alongside her co-workers -- members of a growing but ignored social underclass.
"This self-inflicted baptism of fire yielded the most important social study on modern-day China. Dubbed 'the factory of the world,' China has become an economic powerhouse in the process. This first-person study powerfully tells the tales of those caught up in the trials and tribulations of factory life in contemporary China.
"These are the young women who power China's economic miracle. They are the workers in this global factory which until now have been largely unrecognized and under-appreciated by all those who benefit from their labour. As one of the award criteria states, there is implicit in Dr Pun's book a call for social action. Her book opens up a world hitherto unstudied and unnoticed by the world. It becomes the voice of the voiceless in a teeming global factory that has brought prosperity to China and affordability to the world."
An interview with Professor Pun, conducted in 2004, is available on the National Public Radio website www.theconnection.org/shows/2004/09/20040908_a_main.asp (Requires RealPlayer, which is available as a free download at www.realplayer.com)
The Chinese Working Women Network (of which Pun Ngai is president), a grassroots NGO of migrant working women in the Shenzhen area.
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Professor Pun's talk is sponsored by the UCLA Institute of Industrial Relations, the Center for Chinese Studies, and the Center for the Study of Women.
For more information please contact
Tel: 310 206-5506
Sponsor(s): Center for Chinese Studies