Charmaine Chua is a Singaporean scholar and organizer, and is currently an assistant professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her interdisciplinary scholarly and political work is interested in how planetary networks of production and distribution shape the organization of racialized and classed divisions within capitalist social formations, with particular attention to how these divisions are lived and contested through workers and community struggles.
She is currently writing two books, The Logistics Counterrevolution: Fast Circulation, Slow Violence and the Transpacific Empire of Circulation, and How to Beat Amazon: The Struggle of America’s New Working Class (co-authored with Spencer Cox). Her work has been published in The Socialist Register, Theory and Event, Antipode, Environment and Planning D, The Boston Review, and Jacobin, among other venues, and her research has been quoted or featured in news outlets including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, De Correspondent, and Le Monde. She is an editor of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space , a founding faculty member of the Marxist Institute of Research, and organizes with Cops off Campus, Amazonians United, and UCSB Academics for Justice in Palestine. In 2023, she was named a Freedom Scholar, an award recognizing academics who demonstrate a long-term commitment to supporting social movements.
Talk Title: The Logistics Counter-revolution: Fast Circulation, Slow Violence, and the Transpacific Empire of Circulation
Description: The rise of the global logistics industry has profoundly impacted global workers’ struggles by organizing goods movement through a politics of just-in-time circulation. Although scholars have often dubbed this phenomenon “the revolution in logistics,” in this talk I argue that the so-called ‘logistics revolution’ is better understood as a counter-revolution. Tracing the historical conjuncture of the rise of logistics with the end of formal empire, I ask: What did the rise of logistics look like from the vantage of the decolonizing Global South? As anti-colonial leaders and trade unions in Southeast Asia pursued economic sovereignty during the “Third World’s” transition to independence, they nationalized industry, seized colonial property, and sought to build national shipping and industrial capacity. To contain this threat to private enterprise, US and UK shipping corporations, backed by their states, pursued the globalization of supply chain infrastructures.
Event Location: In-Person + Zoom
Public Talk: 3-4:30 PM
In-Person: Labor Studies Speaker Series events will take place at the Public Affairs Building 4320. Coffee and water will be served.
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Meeting ID: 987 0764 0233