The evolution of global capitalism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries has raised unsettling questions about the increase in social dependence resulting from the decline in manufacturing jobs, the rise in lower-paid service jobs and the impending “end of work” in technologically-developed countries.
Although gender sometimes enters these discussions, its significance has been constrained by prevailing theories of the division of labor, value, and inequality. In this lecture, Sylvia Yanagisako draws on three decades of ethnographic research on the Italian textile and garment industry, including its outsourcing of production to China, to offer a critical feminist analysis of the centrality of gender in the transnational production of value, ascriptions of dependence, and claims of independence.
Sylvia Yanagisako is the Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. She is also currently the Eilert Sundt Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. Her research and publications have focused on the cultural processes through which kinship, gender, capitalism, and labor have been forged in Italy and the U.S. Yanagisako’s most recent book, Fabricating Transnational Capitalism: A Collaborative Ethnography of Italian-Chinese Global Fashion (Duke University Press 2019), offers a new methodology for studying transnational capitalism. Drawing on their respective linguistic and regional areas of expertise, she and her co-author Lisa Rofel show how different historical legacies of capital, labor, nation and kinship have been crucial in the formation of global capitalism. Given initially as the Lewis Henry Morgan lecture in 2010, the book has been called “a classic” in the ethnographic study of political economy.
The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. The event will be followed by drinks.