Leslie T. Chang, Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, (New York: Spiegal & Graw, 2008), 97-119.
Documentary selections: View selections from:
Manufacturing Landscapes (from beginning for about 2-3 minutes)
Mardi Gras (5:45-15:15; 20:26-24:10; 35:41-36:11)
As you watch, make notes of what you observe. Note, specifically:
What is similar or different in these scenes than what you might have expected after reading Chang?
How do the working conditions vary in each of the two films?
Identify 1-2 pressure(s) faced by the young women profiled by Chang that arelikethose you face at Hotchkiss. Please provide specific examples with page numbers.
Identify 1-2 pressure(s) faced by the young women profiled by Chang that are notlikethose you face at Hotchkiss. Please provide specific examples with page numbers.
Identify important questions from Chang you would like to discuss as a class.
What do we know about the author of this selection?
At the beginning of the semester, we discussed “insider knowledge” and “outsider knowledge.” How is Chang able to leverage her “outsider knowledge” to make sense of her subjects?
Before today, what had you heard either about workers in Dongguan, the Pearl River Delta area, or China more generally? Did Chang expand on or challenge any of your preconceptions?
Which elements of Chang’s account stood out most to you?
What do you make of the contradictions that appear on page 107? (“The girls all claimed in front of one another that they didn’t approve of finding a boyfriend in the city, although many of them already had one; they disparaged further education as useless even as some quietly took classes in an effort to improve themselves.”)
Our recent readings (Deng, Harvey, and Lin) have taken a macro (“big picture”) focus on China’s development. Where do you see their ideas, arguments, and concerns addressed by Chang?
Are the conditions described by Chang “fair”? Why or why not? Describe the role of outsiders – companies like Nike and Adidas and consumers – in shaping those conditions.