PGS Lecture Series 2021-05: Michael Hawkins on the spatial politics of waiting among truck drivers in Port Area

We have had various experiences of waiting: in restaurants, for a friend or relative, for a love to blossom, to get vaccinated, for the pandemic to end, for social justice to happen for real. But what emotional labor and spatial politics are involved among truck drivers who are waiting in the Port Area?  

Michael Hawkins’ talk entitled Truck Bans and Truck Beds: The Politics of Waiting in the Port of Manila is based on ongoing historical and ethnographic dissertation research on Manila’s port area. This presentation first interrogates the spatial politics of the city’s waterfront. It asks how land reclamation schemes can be understood as state-led projects that, in part, produce dockside space to secure the uneven relations of capitalist circulation. The project then draws on interviews with truck drivers conducted during their idle times of waiting outside the entrance gates to the city’s piers. Truckers’ experiences reveal how Metropolitan Manila’s local municipalities, port contractors, and labor unions regulate the daily rhythms and abstract times of port work. The presentation concludes by considering how drivers who labor under these circumstances individually and collectively reclaim and leverage control over the concrete times of their daily work.

The talk happens on Wednesday, April 21 at 7:30PM (Philippines Time | 7:30AM EST) through the Philippine Geographical Society (PGS) Lecture Series. This is co-sponsored by the UP Department of Geography

Michael Hawkins is a PhD candidate in Geography at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received a Fulbright dissertation grant that allowed him to conduct his field research in Port Area, Manila from 2019-2020. Fluent in Filipino, Michael currently teaches a class called Society and Environment in Southeast Asia (Geography 266) at UNC-Chapel Hill. 

To register for this talk, click this link:

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