‘Chambishi Rising: The Labor Question of Chinese Capitalism in Africa’

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Date/Time: 22/02/2010 12:00 am

NYU’s Program for Asian/ Pacific/ American Studies presents:
Ching Kwan Lee (UCLA), ‘Chambishi Rising: The Labor Question of Chinese Capitalism in Africa’
Monday 22 February 2010, 4-6pm
4th Floor, 20 Cooper Square (East 5th and Bowery)
Free and open to public
In ‘Chambishi Rising’, Ching Kwan Lee will discuss her ongoing research into Chinese economic investment in contemporary Africa, a phenomenon whose economic and geopolitical consequences promise to revolutionize postcolonial and globalization studies. She will examine key elements of an emerging Chinese regime of production in Chambishi, a mining township on the Zambian Copperbelt, and the site of the first of five Chinese-owned special economic zones to be built in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on field data on the interactions among Chinese managers, Zambian workers, unions and government officials, she will also highlight the strategies of accumulation and legitimation by the Chinese and the constraints imposed on them by the Zambians, as ways to probe the question of the peculiarity of Chinese capitalism at this historical juncture.
Ching Kwan Lee, a Professor of Sociology at UCLA, is one of the foremost scholars of contemporary labor, Chinese development, and citizenship and rights. Her books include ‘Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women’ (1998), ‘Reclaiming Chinese Society: the New Social Activism’ (2009, co-edited with You-tien Hsing), and ‘Against the Law: Labor Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt’ (2007) which, writing in the London Review of Books, Perry Anderson has hailed as a classic of urban labor: “In power nothing like it has appeared since E.P. Thompson’s ‘Making of the English Working Class’. In fact, it could well have been called ‘The Unmaking and Remaking of the Chinese Working Class’. The product of seven years’ research and interview work on the ground, it is an ethnographic and analytic masterpiece.”