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March 5, 2012

‘Where are you wearing?’ – Stark Lecturer

MITCHELL —  Globalization is a dirty word to some, just plain “business” to others and a completely foreign idea to many – at least those who haven’t glanced at their own T-shirt label lately.

Chances are most of Americans’ clothes are made outside of the U.S. by countries far away and possibly unpronounceable. Kelsey Timmerman is a man who traveled the world looking to meet those who make the clothes on his back. His global experiment brings nations together by showing how they’re all just a label apart.

Timmerman asks the question, “Where Am I Wearing?” in his blog, book and during the annual Stark Lecture at 11 a.m., Thursday, March 22, in the Sherman Center at Dakota Wesleyan University. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Kelsey Timmerman, author of “Where Am I Wearing,” will be DWU’s Stark Lecturer at 11 a.m., Thursday, March 22.

His story isn’t just about sweatshops; far from it.

Several years ago, Timmerman took a look at his own clothing labels and thought, “What if I traveled to all of the places where my clothes were made and met the people who made them?”

He decided to research and try to find all the places that made his favorite clothing. Thus was the beginning of a global experiment as he began discovering how interdependent and connected countries are and that “globalization,” the global connection of cultures, people and economies, may not be the demon in the story – that label belongs to the people who abuse it.

He visited Honduras, Bangladesh, Cambodia and China, a journey documented in his book, “Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes.”

Globalization isn’t entirely made up of evil intensions, Timmerman points out in the first chapter of his book, and under the right circumstances even child labor has a less than evil side, but there are those who exploit the situation, and never in the workers’ favor.

Timmerman suggests that companies and department stores do a better job of keeping consumers informed and let consumers reward good business practices through their patronage: “We will buy from companies that make a real effort to be concerned about the lives of the workers who make their products. We need activists and labor organizations to work with the companies and to tell us which ones aren’t.”

Visitors to Timmerman’s website, can read the first chapter for free. Copies of his book will also be available after the lecture.

The Stark Lecture series began with Dr. Franklin Stark, a beloved alumnus of Dakota Wesleyan who endowed the Stark Lectures “... to present publicly, persons who were living examples of the truths of the Biblical message ... The goal was to find and bring to the campus persons who, by the authenticity of their own lives, works, and insight, would demonstrate the connection today between faith and works.”

Through Dr. Stark’s gift, numerous religious leaders, authors, educators, politicians, ethicists, journalists and entertainers of national stature have been brought to the campus. 

For more information about the Stark Lectures, contact Lori Essig at DWU, at (605) 995-2614 or loessig@dwu.edu.


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