China’s labor issues to be explored

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Talk is part of URI’s Honors Colloquium, China Rising

KINGSTON, R.I.—October 29, 2007—Robert Ross, professor of sociology at Clark University, will explore labor issues in China during a talk at the University of Rhode Island. The talk, free and open to the public, will be held on Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center, 10 Chafee Rd., Kingston.

His visit is part of the URI Honors Colloquium, China Rising. The semester-long series explores China’s dramatic transformation during the past three decades, a transformation that has returned that country to the leading role it has played throughout most of world history.

Ross’s talk, “Sweatshops in China and the Race to the Bottom in Global Labor Standards” will explore workers’ rights in China. His talk will emphasize Chinese importance in world manufacturing. Around the globe contractors are trying to compete with China prices. This leads to employers everywhere trying to keep labor costs down and discipline in line in order to meet that price. While China strives to take its place in the world market, advocates for workers’ rights have cause to worry that laborers might pay the price for China’s new capitalism.

Ross’s research interests include political economy of development, public policy, political sociology and globalization. Since the 1980s, he has worked on the political economy of urban development and the analysis of global capitalism. He has been a speechwriter as well as a policy advisor. In 1995, he began research on the resurgence of sweatshops in the U.S. and global apparel industry. His work on this topic has been published in The Nation, Foreign Affairs, Dollars and Sense, as well as a number of edited collections of research on globalization. His book, Slaves to Fashion: Poverty and Abuse in the New Sweatshops, was published in 2004.

Ross has been a professor at Clark University since 1972. He received his B.A. from the University of Michigan and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is director of the International Studies Stream at Clark University and is a founder of an urban development and social change program there.

Major sponsors of the colloquium are the Mark Ross ‘64 and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, the Tom Silvia ’83 and Shannon Chandley ’83 Honors Colloquium Endowment, URI’s Honors Program, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Confucius Institute at URI, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business Administration, College of Engineering, and the Division of University Advancement.

For further details on the colloquium, including an updated schedule, information on parking, and on how to support the series, go to or call Deborah Gardiner at 401-874-2381.