Cornell University

International Programs

117 Ives Hall, 607-254-7255

International Conference: "Breaking Down Chinese Walls: The Changing Faces of Labor and Employment in China"

September 26-28, Ithaca Campus

September 26-28, 2008
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

Hardly a day goes by without extensive coverage in the world press regarding working conditions and other labor issues in China. This conference brings together a group of researchers currently working on topics of interest broadly in the fields of labor law, labor relations and labor politics.  Thus, we will examine the changes in the institutional regulation of labor and work, the changes within the labor movement, including labor unions and their new strategies, informal workers groups and their strategies and how these groups intersect with other civil society organizations. 

The conference will also examine the changes in work organization and shop-floor practices in a variety of industries such as automobiles, oil and gas, retail and large-scale manufacturing. The conference will present an opportunity for a few graduate students to showcase their current research as well.

The purpose of the conference is two-fold. First, it is an attempt to bring together people who are working on labor issues in China to create a network of scholars who might work on future projects together.  Second, selected papers from the conference will be included in a volume to be edited by Sarosh Kuruvilla, Ching Kwan Lee and Mary Gallagher, and will be published by a reputed university press. Selected articles will also be considered for publication at leading industrial relations journals subject to the journal's peer-review process.

Given our limited budget, this is a small conference. We are not able to fund anyone other than a few invited presenters and a few students. We are not able to provide simultaneous translation of presentations nor are we able to translate written papers into English for consideration in the volume. We hope to raise funds in the longer term to have a bigger conference which will enable us to do these things.  

We have received a tremendous amount of interest from scholars from all over the world who wish to present their work. Again, given our small budget, we have not been able to accommodate all of those requests. At this point, even though the conference agenda is completely filled up, we have more than 20 people still on a waitlist. We regret the inconvenience this is causing.

Conference Organizers

  • Sarosh Kuruvilla: Professor of Comparative Industrial Relations, Collective Bargaining & Asian Studies, Cornell University
  • Ching Kwan Lee: Professor of Sociology, UCLA
  • Mary Gallagher: Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan

Paper Presenters and Discussants

  • David Bensman, Rutgers University
  • Marc Blecher, Oberlin College
  • Anita Chan, Australian National University
  • Fang Lee Cooke, University of Manchester 
  • Baohua Dong, East China University of Politics & Law
  • Mark Frazier, University of Oklahoma
  • Stephen Frenkel, Australian School of Business
  • Mary Gallagher, University of Michigan
  • Aaron Halegua, Harvard Law School
  • Amy Hanser, University of British Columbia
  • Dimitri Kessler, Ethical Trading Initiative
  • Hilary Josephs, Syracuse University
  • C.K. Lee, UCLA
  • Kun-Chin Lin, National University of Singapore
  • Mingwei Liu, Rutgers University
  • E. Patrick McDermott, Salisbury University
  • Jian Qiao, China Institute of Industrial Relations
  • Yuan Shen, Tsinghua University
  • Bill Taylor, City University of Hong Kong
  • Jieh-Min Wu, National Tsing Hua University
  • Lu Zhang, Johns Hopkins University

Student Presenters

  • Kuei-min Chang, Columbia University
  • Edgar Chen, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Julia Chuang, University of California, Berkeley
  • Chia-Chen Chou, Cornell University
  • Thomas Peng, Tsinghua University
  • Sarah Swider, University of Akron
  • Jing Wang, University of Toronto
  • John Zinda, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The conference schedule is full and we regret there are no additional spaces for presenters. In addition, registration for those who would like to attend the conference is now closed as we are full to capacity.

Conference Schedule
View the full agenda

View the conference papers (Use Mozilla Firefox)

This conference is made possible with generous funding from the:

  • Waks Family Fund for International Education & Research
  • Pierce Memorial Fund, School of Industrial Labor Relations, Cornell University
  • Jeffrey S. Lehman Fund for Scholarly Exchange with China

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