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Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Eating? HMXP 102 Dr. Fike.

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Presentation on theme: "Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Eating? HMXP 102 Dr. Fike."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Eating? HMXP 102 Dr. Fike

2 Homework What errors did you identify in Kelsey’s book?

3 Kamkwamba’s Message of Hope 2013-2014 Common Book: William Kamkwamba’s The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. 73: “‘When you go to see the lake, you also see the hippos.’” 269: “‘I try, and I made it!’” 275: “‘Whatever you want to do, if you do it with all your heart, it will happen.’” Moral of the story. 280: “I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart.” 8 in the back matter: “‘Trust yourself and believe,’ I told them. ‘And whatever happens, don’t give up.’”

4 Timmerman, Eating See page 76 in Kelsey’s book for famine in Malawi. See page 164 in Kelsey’s book: “‘Dis is our life. We cannot change it... because the control we have is just very little... dis isn’t possible.’” Pessimism versus Kamkwamba’s optimism.

5 2012-2013 Common Book Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Wearing?: Epigraph from MLK: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” (emphases added).

6 Kelsey’s Elaboration Wearing 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.” (In Where Am I Wearing?, Kelsey uses the word “glocal”: he wants us to think globally and act locally.) Wearing 255: “When we recognize that the people who make our stuff have hopes, dreams, and personalities, we can’t help [caring] about whether their job pays them a living wage and allows them to reach those dreams.” Eating 46: “Weaving plays an important part in Arhuacan culture,” etc. It is a metaphor in Columbia, but it is also a metaphor for the overall message that Kelsey wants us to understand. The whole world is woven together, as MLK says.

7 The Theme of Mutuality in Wearing (with emphases added) Kelsey is making basically the same point in Eating as he does in Wearing. From Wearing: xi: global financial crisis 7: chain from workers to consumers (“chain” reappears in Eating 98) 8: “the fabric of global trade” (see “weaving” in Eating 46) 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

8 Context What does knowing the Wearing epigraph’s context add to your interpretation? Does anyone recognize it from high school, WRIT 101, or some other class?

9 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” (emphases added). Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

10 Connection Besides mutuality, MLK is talking about peace and justice. See Eating 144 (bottom) for these concepts.

11 MLK in Eating In Eating, there is no MLK epigraph; in fact, there is no epigraph at all; however, MLK is quoted on page 263. POINT: Connectedness (mutuality in Wearing) is an important theme that runs throughout the book. See the chart on the next slide.

12 The Theme of Connectedness Ask those in row 3 to share these passages with the whole class. 12 52 141 152 241 263 266

13 The Theme of Connectedness (with emphases added) 12: “These men’s, women’s, and children’s (yes, children) livelihoods and our lives are inextricably linked.” 52: Connections to nature in the par. that begins, “The mamu explains.” 141: “We are one: earth, animals, plants, and people.” 152: “There’s just something about sweating alongside people in the fields that bonds you to them and the land.” 241: “Decisions we make in our home impact the world.” 263: “a world of interconnectedness”; MLK: “the interrelated structure of all reality” 266: “shared humanity”

14 A Failure to Connect Early in Wearing There is a disconnection between the MLK epigraph and Kelsey’s failure to engage properly in Honduras with Amilcar, the garment worker with whom he only spent 10 minutes. Note the disconnections between intentions and behavior. (The good we would do we do not do, as St. Paul says.) Wearing 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.” Wearing 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.” Eating 250: “‘Did you ever feel sorry for the animals?’ I ask, as my inner struggle with carnivorism [carnivorousness] revealing itself. I’ll step away from my cheeseburger dinner to take a spider outside instead of squashing it.”

15 Kelsey to WU Faculty, Fall 2012 Re. Wearing: He was scared to death of going solo to foreign countries. (In his new book, he easily meets a guy named Solo.) In Wearing, he would go out of his comfort zone and then draw back. That is why the first book’s opening chapters are so tentative. In Eating, he immerses himself much more confidently.

16 Kelsey’s Growth as a “Glocal” Wearing: Kelsey’s earlier book gets off to a slow start, and he has the kind of inner conflict a well-off American would naturally have when first meeting the people who make his clothing. In other words, he is aware that to meet people in the third world is to indict oneself as an American. Eating: His current book unfolds more smoothly (he has his act down); however, he still has an inner conflict regarding American affluence and third-world poverty. (Partly out of guilt, he vows at one point to plant a garden—and does, albeit a tiny one.)

17 Question What is the relationship between connectedness/ mutuality and globalization? What IS globalization? Let’s start with the following statement: Wearing 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” (emphasis added).

18 Globalization Kelsey defines it as finding cheap labor overseas to meet “tight margins” (Wearing 8; cf. Eating 151: “tight margins”). So it is an economic web that not only connects Us and Them but also simultaneously empowers, impoverishes, and isolates. Consequently, we are unaware of where our clothes are made (or food products are grown) and believe that they come from the store. So we shop at a supermarket without realizing that a Nigerian slave harvested our coffee or that a Nicaraguan diver died to bring our lobster to the surface. 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” ( global

19 Summary of Concepts Thus Far If we realize humanity’s mutuality/ connectedness and act “glocally,” then optimism/hope + justice and peace can overcome despair, injustice, and violence. Globalization does not have to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

20 Another Concept: Story KT to WU faculty, fall 2012: “Start with a story.” Starting with stories helps readers get engaged. Note: Kelsey was an anthropology major in college. His love of stories relates to this academic background.

21 Story Provides the Links between Us and Them From Wearing (with emphases added): 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”

22 More on Story from Eating (with emphases added) 38: “But I’ve traveled for over 10 years now, and I always take. I take stories. I take photos.” 65: “Gail shows us pictures of farmers. They are nameless and storyless and happy and proud.” 187: “My tale had won me widespread acceptance at the dock.” 258: “So more than just buy certified products. Learn the stories of those products. Something with a story always tastes better....” 276: “... I’m dedicated to addressing global issues through storytelling.”

23 The Point There are references to storytelling within a book that is itself a collection of travel stories. In fact, Wearing and Eating are autoethnographies. Auto = self; ethnography = a description of a specific culture, especially a foreign one. So an autoethnography explores a foreign culture within the framework of one person’s personal journey. 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. That is, he no longer has a sense of Us vs. Them. People are just folks. He hopes that reading his book will have the same effect on you that visiting various cultures had on him.

24 CRTW 201 Let us now use some of the tools from the course that follows HMXP 102.

25 Q@I and Purpose in Wearing Questions at issue: Where am I wearing? – Something more fundamental in Wearing 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 MLK 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 (Debbie).

26 In Other Words Producer---------Kelsey’s book---------consumers 3 rd world a bridge us

27 Q@I and Purpose in Eating The most basic Q@I: “Where am I eating?” (7). But more fundamentally, “What are we as consumers to do [about global inequities such as those in the agricultural industry]?” Page 12 is a key page: Turn to it. – Q@I: Eating will try to answer the questions at the top. – Purpose and point of view: To explore “the global food economy through my own out-of-touch consumer eyes and from theirs as boots-on-the ground producers.” – Concepts: outsourcing, importation, sustainability, national food security. – Assumption: Our lives and the workers’ “are inextricably linked.” – Implication/consequence: “We eat food that maims, kills, and enslaves other human beings.” – Conclusion: “The globalization of our diets is an issue of global health an of national security.”

28 Kelsey’s Further Purposes To indict Americans: See the middle of page 52. To underscore the idea that we mess with Mother Nature at our peril: – 52: “‘We really believe that anything we do to harm the Earth comes back.. like Hurricane Katrina,’ the mamu says....” – 74: “‘We tease Mother Earth, and eventually she swats us into oblivion.” – 53: While the Arhuaco believe we are changing the earth, we do less to reverse the change—and more to out-engineer our impact.” (He is critical of technological solutions that address symptoms rather than causes.) To motivate us to think globally and act locally. Be a “glocal.”

29 So His Purpose Is Also To Get Us To Raise Our Level of Awareness Regarding Our Food Conclusion (answers Q@I: What should we do?): – 193: “Companies and people are recognizing that a food’s origin matters.” This statement encapsulates the “moral of the story.” – 194: “Consumers need to ask, ‘Where am I eating?’ at the grocery store and at restaurants in order to make responsible eating decisions.”

30 Important Implication 238: “I realized that every bite of food is an act of conformity or rebellion. Every bite of food is a political statement.”

31 Conclusions in Wearing What are Kelsey’s further conclusions? In other words, how does he answer the following question on page 9 in Wearing? “What are we as consumers to do [about global inequities such as those in the garment industry]?” The answers are important because they apply as well to Eating.

32 Kelsey’s Conclusions in Wearing 9: Be engaged consumers. 54: Recognize that sweatshops are a better alternative than abject poverty. 221: Producers and consumers should work together and accomplish great things. 259: Workers should be better paid. 260: “... suffering human wrongs should not be a rite of passage.” (See Eating 112: “rite of passage.”)

33 In Other Words Think globally, act locally. Be a glocal (row 4). How? – For example, we can go to the websites that Kelsey mentions throughout the book but especially in Appendix A. – When we buy things, we should be aware of their 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. Pay special attention to labels and only buy Fair Trade products.

34 More on Story: You Have To Put Things Together It is not just that Where Am I Eating? 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. What “story” emerged from your work on the concepts? What negatives does he identify? This was row 1’s job last time.

35 What about Changing the System Here is the question as it was framed in your worksheet: – If Kelsey could adjust the global food system, what would it look like? In other words, which items from the list in step one would receive greater emphasis or be more prevalent? What does Kelsey think SHOUD be the case with global agriculture? – What did row 2 come up with last time? (Discuss this before going on to the next slide.)

36 Education and Environmentalism What does Kelsey suggest about the relationship between these two fundamental and powerful concepts? (rows 3 and 4)

37 Next Concept: Types of Freedom Wearing 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.

38 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Self-actualization: pursue inner talent, creativity, self-fulfillment, growth, potential Higher-order needs (the most internal): clearly a matter of education, which is mentioned in Eating on 58, 99, 119, 128, 135, 140, 142, 227 (row 2 group) Self-esteem: achievement, mastery, recognition, self-respect, autonomy Internal 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, warmth Lower-order needs (external)

39 Analogy There is an analogy to be made to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Where do Felipe (coffee in Columbia), Solo (chocolate in Nigeria), Juan (bananas in Costa Rica), Evanor (lobster in Nicaragua), and Daryl (apples in Michigan) fall on Maslow’s scale? Where do YOU fall? How does the hierarchy enable us to critique agriculture in foreign countries?

40 Connections to Our Anthology How does Eating story relate to statements in our HMXP anthology?

41 Ralph Waldo Emerson Par. 6: “Then, again, do not tell me, as a good man did today, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong. There is a class of persons to whom by all spiritual affinity I am bought and sold; for them I will go to prison, if need be; but your miscellaneous popular charities; the education at college of fools; the building of meeting-houses to the vain end to which many now stand; alms to sots; and the thousandfold Relief Societies;—though I confess with shame I sometimes succumb and give the dollar, it is a wicked dollar which by and by I shall have the manhood to withhold.” What do you think about this passage now that you have read Kelsey’s book?

42 Daniel Quinn Par. 62: “‘You’re really not thinking, I’m afraid. You’ve recited a story you’ve heard a thousand times, and now you’re listening to Mother Culture as she murmurs in your ear: ‘There, there, my child, there’s nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, don’t get excited, don’t listen to the nasty animal, this is no myth, nothing I tell you is a myth, so there’s nothing to think about, nothing to worry about, just listen to my voice and go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep....’” “‘I should have gotten you when you were seventeen.’” Does Kelsey listen to Mother Culture or not? Why do you think so?

43 “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 protection. 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 articles?

44 Friedman and Timmerman Kelsey Timmerman and Milton Friedman: Do they agree or disagree? See quotations on the next slide for suggested answers.

45 A Contrast Friedman, par. 9: “Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions.” Wearing 189: “I worry that the China Fantasy— economic prosperity yields democrat freedoms— won’t become a reality.” Eating 75: “We tell them that a free market is the way to prosperity even though it wasn’t our way to prosperity.”

46 Peggy McIntosh She writes about white people’s unearned privileges. An extension of her point is as follows: Whites:blacks in the U.S.::U.S. and the West:Africa and other places in Eating. In other words, we as Americans believe that we are entitled to things that persons in third- world countries do not even have access to. Agree? Disagree?

47 WU’s Global Learning Iniative “By enhancing global education for our students with the full support and participation of the University’s faculty, staff, and administrators, we intend for Winthrop to become a school of distinction for preparing our students to be educated and involved global citizens, to understand their place in global society and their responsibilities to human society at large, and to take great joy at celebrating the very rich cultures of their communities, their states, their regions, their nations, and their world.” ( By reading and discussing Kelsey’s book, you are participating in the GLI.

48 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.” Kelsey Timmerman would heartily agree with this statement. END

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