Counter-cartographies of the global supply chain: An insurgent mapping workshop
Supply chains justify their increasing reach into our daily lives by claiming that they provide us with critical necessities when we most need them. But do they? What are the unseen forms of violence, dispossession and exploitation that are concealed in the objects we buy with a simple click of the check-out button? Is there ethical consumption under capitalism? Does an ethical purchase at one site travel through multiple other sites of violence? How have logistical systems grown, developed, and shaped our spaces? Who funds them? Whose lives are considered expendable in their construction? This workshop will map the global supply chain through tracing the passage of everyday commodities from their point of production to your doorstep. In doing so, we will examine the infrastructure and ‘externalized costs’—human, economic, social and environmental—of the international flow of things. We will explore the potential for our own insurgent mapping projects, seeking to understand how supply chains are resilient yet vulnerable and fragile—and to identify where working-class solidarity has the greatest possibility to spread up and down the chain, across sectors, borders–and even oceans.
Charmaine Chua is a member of the Empire Logistics collective and Assistant Professor of Politics at Oberlin College. Her work examines the rise of logistics and containerized shipping in the context of the transPacific supply chain, and seeks to uncover how supply chains that claim to provision life actually distribute inequality, containment, and ‘vulnerability to premature death’.
Laurel Mei-Singh serves as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in American Studies at Princeton University. Her research interests include land and militarization, the relationship of race and indigeneity to histories of war, and the Pacific. She is writing a book on military fences and grassroots struggles for land and livelihood in Hawai’i.
Tickets are sliding scale: no one turned away for inability to pay.