Global political economy; Technology; Labor; Postcolonial Development; Social Theory; Supply chains, Logistics, and Infrastructure studies
Ph.D. Political Science, University of Minnesota (2018)
M.A. Political Science, University of Minnesota (2013)
B.A. English Literature, Vassar College (2008)
Charmaine Chua (she/they) received their PhD in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining UCSB, Chua taught at Oberlin College and Macalester College. Her interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship focuses on the social and spatial production of difference within global capitalist formations, and crosses the fields of international relations, global political economy, human geography, and political theory. Grounded in a commitment to historical materialist research and method, she is particularly interested in the ways in which planetary networks of production and distribution shape the organization of racialized and classed divisions within capitalist social formations, with particular attention to how these divisions are lived, contested, and overcome across anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist social movements. In current research, she examines the global political economy of supply chains, postcolonial development, and technological change on the world's oceans and along the transpacific passage between the United States, China, and Southeast Asia. She also maintains a secondary research interest in global carceral geographies and police and prison abolition.
Dr. Chua is currently working on two book projects. Their first monograph, The Logistics Counterrevolution: Fast Circulation, Slow Violence, and the Transpacific Empire of Capital, examines the planetary expansion of the maritime supply chain infrastructure from the vantage of the Global South. The book examines intersecting histories of decolonization and logistics as a story of competing projects of global resource distribution. Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic and archival research in the UK, US, the Philippines, Singapore, and on board a container ship sailing across the Pacific Ocean, The Logistics Counterrevolution examines the constellation of market forces, state interventions, and legal, financial, and technological instruments that drive corporate consolidation and changing organizational forms within the logistics industry. While scholars have called these shifts "the logistics revolution," Chua argues this historical period is better understood as a logistics counterrevolution, an ongoing project of transnational capitalist empire to demobilize labor struggles and grassroots projects of economic self-determination through the domination of the global supply chain. It interrogates the ways in which corporate control over supply chains, and the state’s legitimation of its forms of ecological, legal, and racialized violence, catapults working and ordinary people into disciplinary labor regimes and ways of life that shape and challenge opportunities for internationalist solidarity across global supply chains. Chua’s second book project, How to Beat Amazon:The Future of America’s New Working Class Struggle, co-authored with Spencer Cox, is a political economy of Amazon.com’s corporate expansion strategy and a road map for labor organizing within Amazon warehouses.
Chua has also written about issues of economic inequality, infrastructural racism, financialization, counterinsurgency, police abolition, and housing justice, and explores these topics as part of a broader interest in mapping terrains of internationalist struggle against empire. Their work has been published in The Socialist Register, Review of International Studies, Antipode, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, The Boston Review, Jacobin, The Nation, and more.More information on their ongoing research can be found here, and all publications can be accessed and read here.
She is currently an associate editor for the interdisciplinary journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. With Joshua Clover, Chris Chen, Annie McClanahan and Colleen Lye, they are also one of the founding faculty members for the Marxist Institute of Research. She has been involved in anti-racist, abolitionist, and labor movements over the last decade in Minneapolis and California, and currently organizes with Amazonians United, UC Cops off Campus, The Abolition Collective, and the Santa Barbara Tenants Union.
Dr. Chua’s publications, upcoming talks, and syllabi are available on her website at www.charmainechua.com.
(A full list of publications and accessible links to Chua's writing are available here)
- Chua C and Cox S. 2023. “Battling the Behemoth: Amazon and the Rise of the New US Working Class” The Socialist Register 2023.
- Chua C. 2022. “Disruption from Above, the Middle, and Below: Three Terrains of Governance.” Review of International Studies. 10.1017/S0260210522000432
- Chua, C. 2022. “Logistics.” chapter 79 in Beverly Skeggs, Sarah Farris, and Alberto Toscano (eds.), The Sage Handbook of Marxism, London: Sage Publications, p. 1442-1460.
- Chua, C. 2022. “Docking.” chapter 10 In Steinberg, P., and Peters, K., & Davies, A. (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Ocean Space. London: Routledge
- Bosworth K and Chua C. 2021. “The Counter-sovereignty of Infrastructure Security: Settler- state anxiety versus the pipeline blockade” Antipode. http://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12794
- Chua, C. 2021. “Lineages of Infrastructural Power: The Logistical Nightmare of Los Angeles.” In Daniel Monk and Michael Sorkin (eds.) Between Catastrophe and Revolution: Essays in Honor of Mike Davis. Terreform / Urban Research.
- Chua, C. 2020. “Abolition is a Constant Struggle: Five Lessons from Minneapolis” Theory and Event Vol 23, No. 4 supplement: 127-147
- Chua, C. 2020. “’Sunny Island Set in the Sea’: Singapore’s Land Reclamation as Colonial Project.” In Cowen, D., Mitchell, A., Paradis, E., and Story, B. (eds.), Infrastructures of Citizenship: Digital Life in the Global City, Montréal: McGill-Queens University Press.
- Chua, C. 2020. “Circulation revisited: A Forum on the Topicality of the Concept.” German Journal for Media Studies, Vol 23, Issue 2. German publication here.
- Chua, C., Martin Danyluk, Deborah Cowen, and Laleh Khalili. (eds.) 2018. “Turbulent Circulation: Building a Critical Engagement with Logistics.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 36, no. 4
- Chua, C. 2018. “Logistical Violence, Logistical Vulnerabilities.” Historical Materialism 24, no. 4 (2018): 167-182. doi: 10.1163/1569206X-12341544
Global Science and Technology
Logics of Inquiry
Theories of Imperialism
Global 2: Global Socioeconomic and Political Processes
Global 130: Global Economy and Development
Global 155: Global Ethnographies
Global 175: Technology, Inequality, and Globalization