Historically, the textile and garment industries are known as those that revolutionized the industrial age and, as pointed out by Edward Baptist in The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, virtually created American capitalism and its status as a “wealthy nation with global influence.” Those same industries, however, are also major contributors to environmental degradation, labor exploitation, and the persistence of economic inequality and poverty, especially in Third World countries.
In this seventh module of the course we will:
examine the actors and systems behind the clothing we wear by tracing the life-cycle of a T-shirt
learn about a specific garment industry sectoral intervention strategy (Garment Industry Development Council, NYC, 1990s)
work in pairs to find out, to the best of our abilities, what we can about the supply chain behind an article of clothing (our own)