六 Factory Girls

This week

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Week 6 looks at life for Chinese workers involved in producing the goods that are shipped to us here in the west. Stereotypical images abound of sweatshops and child labour but as we will see the reality is far more complex. Two contrasting accounts will be examined: the book Factory Girls depicts the lives of three young women who display a determination to make their way in the world while the film China Blue looks at life inside a jeans factory.

Lecture: Factory City

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In the lecture we will ask if media portrayals of Chinese factories are accurate, and whether any blame lies with the Chinese, or with us.

Reading

  • Factory Girls Chapters 1 to 5

Viewing

They live there. They eat there. Their children attend school there. But most of all, they work there. They are the 17,000 employees of EUPA, a “Factory City” in the southeast corner of China.

EUPA’s massive workforce pumps out 15 million irons per year, millions of sandwich grills, microwaves, coffee makers and blenders. Now they are about to take the manufacturing world by storm with their introduction of solar powered products. From the 2500 microwaves that come off the line each day to the four tons of rice served daily in the five cafeterias, we showcase the process and the personalities that keep this massive machine well-oiled.The show will focus not only on how the goods are made, but how the Factory City operates.

It’s a novel concept for the rest of the world. But it’s become a way of life in China, where a new industrial revolution is unfolding on a scale the world has never seen.

Recommended viewing

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  • China Blue (available from the DJCAD library)

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