Assistant Professor of Political Science Chad Lavin, a new member of the department, will speak on “Factories, Farms, and Other Metaphors of Globalization, beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Carlson Auditorium at Rochester Institute of Technology.
The term “factory farm, originally developed to describe the industrialization of American agriculture, has become perhaps the defining metaphor of our age. The term finds wide expression today in discourses that have little to do with food production, from critiques of the white-collar workplace to allegories of consumerism and colonialism.
This expansive use of the metaphor corresponds to a changing nature of work and leisure in a globalized economy. As labor is increasingly casualized, the management and surveillance typically associated with life in a factory are experienced more by consumers than by workers.
This shift to a consumer society is similarly expressed in other forms of food writing, as Upton Sinclair’s focus on the industrial slaughterhouse (“The Jungle”) is replaced with Eric Schlosser’s focus on the fast-food franchise (“Fast Food Nation,” “Chew on This” and others), and as John Harvey Kellogg’s dietary asceticism succumbs to Robert Atkins’ remorseless indulgence.
Lavin's talk is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy. A member of the HWS faculty since earlier this year, he holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California-Irvine, a master's and his doctorate from Penn State.