First Fisher Center Event of the Year – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

First Fisher Center Event of the Year

This fall, the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men is taking on a new theme, “Engendering Crisis,” under the guidance of incoming director Cedric Johnson, associate professor of political science.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, Johnson will inaugurate the new theme with a screening of the film “The Women of Brukman” at 7 p.m. in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

During the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina, the seamstresses at Brukman’s clothing factory took over the operation the owners had abandoned. They reorganized it on a self-management model, without a doubt the most inspiring of the many new economic experiments in that country.

The name Brukman’s went from being a symbol of worker exploitation to being a site of revolutionary labor participation-all workers, no bosses.

Isaac Isitan followed these courageous women over many years, their struggle to get the operation running again, their expulsion from the factory, months of battling to get it back, and tangles with the law.

This is the story of a venture that began as a means of survival and became a genuine school for civics. Besides following the labor politics, the film also gets close to the women as individuals finding a way to put dignity into their working lives.

The Fisher Center was endowed with a $1 million gift from Emily and the late Richard Fisher, whose son Alexander graduated from Hobart College in 1993. Creation of the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men reflects a perfect intersection of the Colleges’ coordinate history and trends in the study of gender throughout academe.

Johnson, an associate professor of political science, teaches courses on American politics, inequality and urban politics. He is the author of “Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics” (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) which was awarded the 2008 W.E.B. DuBois Outstanding Book Award by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists. A native of south Louisiana, he is currently editing a collection of essays on the politics of disaster and reconstruction in the Gulf Coast region titled, “The Neoliberal Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, Late Capitalist Culture and the Remaking of New Orleans.”  Johnson’s writings have appeared in In These Times, Monthly Review and New Political Science.  Johnson also serves on the planning committee for the Rochester Labor Lyceum.