Kelsey Timmerman Slide Show

Kelsey Timmerman’s
Where Am I Wearing?
HMXP 102
Dr. Fike
• “We are caught in an inescapable network of
mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly, affects all
• What does the epigraph mean/imply?
• What key words resonate meaningfully for
• What is Kelsey’s answer?
Kelsey’s Answer
• Page 265: “Basically, Dr. King is saying that what
happens in our community happens to the rest of
the world. And what happens to the rest of the
world happens to us. The global is local. The local
is global.” (Think about Kelsey’s word “glocal.”)
• Page 255: “When we recognize that the people
who make our stuff have hopes, dreams, and
personalities, we can’t help but care about
whether their job pays them a living wage and
allows them to reach those dreams.”
• What does knowing the epigraph’s context
add to your interpretation? Does anyone
recognize it from high school, WRIT 101, or
some other class?
The Epigraph
“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all
communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not
be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in
an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single
garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all
indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow,
provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the
United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere
within its bounds.”
--Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
• What is the relationship between the epigraph and
Kelsey’s failure to engage properly in Honduras with
Amilcar, the garment worker with whom he only
spent 10 minutes?
• Page 5: “I went to the factory and met a worker, but I
wasn’t comfortable learning about his life and chose to
abandon the quest. . . . I tried to forget about
Honduras, the worker I [had] met, and my pile of
clothes and their MADE IN labels, but I couldn’t.”
• Page 15: “Part of me wants to know about Amilcar, but
the other part is content not knowing—and maybe
even a little scared about what I would learn.”
KT to WU Faculty, Fall 2012
• He was scared to death of going solo to
foreign countries.
• He would go out of his comfort zone and then
draw back. That is why the book’s opening
chapters are so tentative.
• Fill out the chart in the next slide with
examples of the concept of mutuality.
• POINT: Mutuality is an important theme that
runs throughout the book.
The Theme of Mutuality
The Theme of Mutuality
xi: global financial crisis
7: chain from workers to consumers
8: “the fabric of global trade”
17: connecting workers worldwide
50: stages in the production of cloth
178: “‘fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters’”
179: solidarity
180: “web of economic relationships”
191: “brother”
255: “iPhone girl”; workers’ hopes and dreams
267: how connected we are
• What is the relationship between mutuality and
globalization? What IS globalization? Let’s start
with the following statement:
• Page 180: “But we share little with the people
who make our clothes nowadays. We’re divided
by oceans, politics, language, culture, and a
complex web of economic relationships. It
doesn’t affect our daily lives if they are
overworked and underpaid as it did during the
turn of the twentieth century.”
• Kelsey defines it as finding cheap labor overseas to meet
“tight margins” (8). So it is an economic web that connects
Us and Them but that also simultaneously empowers,
impoverishes, and isolates. Consequently, we are unaware
of where our clothes are made and believe that they come
from the store (it is like thinking that meat comes from the
• Globalization is “the development of an increasingly
integrated global economy marked especially by free trade,
free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign
labor markets” (
Another Concept: Story
• KT to WU faculty, fall 2012: “Start with a
• Starting with stories helps readers get
Story Provides the Links
between Us and Them
xii: sharing stories
19: each tag has a story behind it
179: “quirky little stories about faraway places”
255: “the story of their stuff” vs. believing that
“clothes come from the store”
• POINT: Story is a powerful tool for changing people’s
attitudes, beliefs, paradigms, etc. Kelsey himself
thinks that his experiences have dissolved the notion
of the Other.
[email protected] and Purpose
• Questions at issue: Where am I wearing?
– Something more fundamental on page 9: “What are we as
consumers to do [about global inequities such as those in
the garment industry]?”
• Purpose: To help overcome the “producer-consumer
divide” (256)—that is, to illustrate the epigraph’s point
about mutuality and to motivate readers to take
action—by telling the stories of 7 garment workers in
Honduras (Amilcar), Bangladesh (Arifa), Cambodia
(Nari and Ai), China (Dewan and Zhu Chun), and the US
In Other Words
Producer---------Kelsey’s book---------consumers
3rd world
a bridge
FBIs Interfere
• 13: the media (Fantasy Island)
• 50: Americans can do anything they set their
minds to
• 85: Jeans are all-American, especially western.
Part of our heritage and mythology.
• 257: “our own lives’ relatively limitless
• McIntosh: our “invisible backpack” of
assumed and unearned privileges
• What are Kelsey’s conclusions? In other
words, how does he answer the following
question on page 9: “What are we as
consumers to do [about global inequities such
as those in the garment industry]?”
Kelsey’s Conclusions
• 9: “My conclusion . . . Is that we should try to be engaged
consumers, not mindless pocketbooks. . . .”
• 54: “ . . . we should not be ashamed that our clothes are made by
children so much as ashamed that we live in a world where child
labor is often necessary for survival.” He surprises himself by
realizing that sweatshops are not all bad when the alternative is
unemployment and brutal poverty. See 209 and 265.
• 221: “ . . . when producer and consumer unite and work together,
they can accomplish great things.”
• 259: Jobs mean a lot to garment workers, and they should be better
• 260: “ . . . suffering human wrongs should not be a rite of passage.”
So what?
• What does Kelsey want us to do? Write the
“moral of the story” in your own words in
your notebook. You have 30 seconds.
The Moral of the Story
• Think globally, act locally. Be a glocal. How?
For example, we can go to the websites that
Kelsey mentions in the final chapter. When we
buy things, we should be aware of their
provenance (origin) and think about the
human consequences of supporting
companies whose practices may be unjust.
Strategic buying (the power of the purse) can
effect positive change.
Rock Hill
• KT to WU faculty, fall 2012: We have a lot of
ways to relate the book to Rock Hill, especially
poverty resulting from globalization’s impact
on the textile industry.
More on Story
• It is not just that Where Am I Wearing? tells
Kelsey’s story (his trips to foreign countries,
the friends he made there, etc.). In addition,
the concepts that he uses tell the story of
economic globalization.
• See the worksheet. The concepts are on the
next slide.
• What “story” emerged from your work on the
Kelsey’s Concepts
hell, consumer, apathetic consumer, normal
American, family, child labor, middle class,
innocence (of children), poverty, sweatshop,
social capital, prostitution, “glocal” citizen,
beauty, clueless buyer, the bottom, communism,
China Fantasy, democracy, engaged consumer,
trade, consumer class, consumer innocence,
dharma, dignity, responsibility, solidarity, “allAmerican life,” social appendix, “touron,” justice,
coolness, human rights, power, sourcing,
freedom, American Dream, home, producer,
good job, economic sustainability
Your Narratives
• What did you write last time? Please share
you responses.
Types of Freedom
• Page 188: “I suppose not being hungry and
not being impoverished are the most
important types of freedoms—the freedom to
survive. But there are other freedoms that the
1.3 billion Chinese don’t have.”
• What are these other freedoms? Think about
the human values that we mentioned when
we discussed Marx’s texts.
• There is an analogy to be made to Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs.
• Where do Amilcar, Arifa, Nari & Ai, Dewan &
Zhu Chun, and Debbie fall on Maslow’s scale?
• Where do YOU fall?
• How does the hierarchy enable us to critique
the garment industry in foreign countries?
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Self-actualization: pursue inner talent,
creativity, self-fulfillment, growth,
Higher-order needs (the most internal)
Self-esteem: achievement, mastery,
recognition, self-respect, autonomy
Belonging-love (social stuff): friendship,
family, affection
External and internal
Safety: security, stability, protection,
freedom from fears
External more than internal
Physiological needs: food, water, shelter,
Lower-order needs (external)
“The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights”
• 23.3: Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable
remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of
human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social
• 24: Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable
limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
• 25.1: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health
and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing,
housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to
security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood,
old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
• How do those whom Kelsey meets measure up to these
Friedman and Timmerman
• Kelsey Timmerman and Milton Friedman: Do
they agree or disagree? See quotations on the
next slide for suggested answers.
A Contrast
• Friedman, par. 9: “Political freedom in this
instance clearly came along with the free
market and the development of capitalist
• Kelsey, page 189: “I worry that the China
Fantasy—economic prosperity yields
democrat freedoms—won’t become a reality.”
Like WU’s GLI
• “Declaration,” par. 49, article 25.2: “Education . . .
Shall promote understanding, tolerance and
friendship among all nations, racial or religious
groups. . . .”
• Martha Nussbaum, page 189, par. 9: One’s
education must stress cosmopolitanism over
nationalism. Cosmopolitan education: you “are
above all citizens of a world of human beings,”
which you “have to share . . . with the citizens of
other countries.”

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