I am very pleased to report that the Labor and Labor Movements Section has received funding for a scholarly exchange with the China Association of Work and Labor of the Chinese Sociological Association, our Chinese counterparts. I wish I could take credit for raising the funds, but in fact the $100k grant from Ford Foundation-China was obtained by Katie Quan of the Berkeley Labor Center (in consultation with our section's Council). She has co-founded a Berkeley-Sun Yat Sen University Joint Center for Labor Research, and is vitally interested in promoting learning and collaboration between researchers in the two countries (see http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu/global/ ).
$100,000 may sound like a lot of money, but in fact it gets chewed up fairly quickly in US-China travel. Still, this presents us with very exciting opportunities.
Here's the plan:
* 3 trips:
- Group of US sociologists visits China, December 2012-January 2013 (4 each time, in addition to Katie Quan of the Berkeley Labor Center)
- Group of Chinese sociologists visits ASA @ NYC and participates in a Labor & Labor Movements mini-conference on global labor issues, August 2013
- Group of US sociologists visits China, December 2013-January 2014
In each case, the visitors will give presentations and meet with sociologists and labor activists. The goal over the three meetings, beyond getting to know each other and each other's work, is to identify some areas and forms of collaboration that can be ongoing.
* For the first US trip, the lineup in addition to Katie Quan is me, Steve Lopez, whichever of Steve McKay or Ralph Armbruster is elected Chair-Elect, and Jennifer Chun. This is the current chair, chair-elect, future chair-elect, and in Jennifer's case, someone who has conducted US-Asia comparative research and has played an active role in the section and in our counterpart, the RC44 section, in the International Sociological Association.
* For the second US trip, past chair Carolina Bank Munoz, who will not be able to join the first trip (she will be in Chile, and the cost and time involved in travel make it impractical), will take part. We have not decided who else should take part, and I think it makes sense to defer that until the first visit has taken place. I suspect we will want some overlap and some new people.
We will discuss this further at the Section meeting in Denver. In the meantime I welcome any suggestions for how to make the most of this opportunity.