Common Experience author to visit Texas State, give talks Sept. 27
By Andrew Osegi
As part of the Texas State University 2012-2013 Common Experience theme, A Global Odyssey: Exploring Our Connections to the Changing World, author and journalist Kelsey Timmerman will speak to the Texas State community on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, in Strahan Coliseum.
Timmerman penned the 2012-2013 Common Experience book, Where Am I Wearing?: A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories and People that Make Our Clothes. The work explores the hidden relationship between America’s consumption of globally produced material things and the impoverished people around the world who make them. By introducing us to the human aspect of globalization through his travels, Timmerman connects consumers with producers.
Timmerman says he started out as an average college student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Undecided at first, he soon realized his passion for cultures around the world and majored in anthropology. He admits that it was his intriguing classes that inspired him to venture out and explore the world.
“My classes in college were exceptionally interesting and curious,” he says. “After graduation, I was compelled to travel. I journeyed to Hawaii, Japan, Nepal and westward on through Europe. My collegiate experience helped my professional career by teaching me what I needed to know as a traveling journalist.”
Timmerman chose to record his travels through his writing and soon he gained an audience that moved him into the field of journalism.
“As a journalist, I enjoy taking readers on an adventure to a distant land,” he says.
Timmerman gained inspiration for Where Am I Wearing? when he visited Honduras in 2005 to find out where one of his T-shirts had been made. There, he met garment workers who made clothes intended for shipment to the United States. It was then Timmerman understood the global impact of these workers and how important they are to the lives of so many others around the world.
“Clothing tags, and how they symbolize our international connections, inspired me to write Where Am I Wearing?,” he says.
With an investigative goal in mind, Timmerman set out on his quest to compile accounts from clothing workshops around the world. Posing sometimes as a garment buyer and sometimes as a “touron” — his own portmanteau of “tourist” and “moron” — he spent three months visiting factories and the homes of garment workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia and China during the spring of 2007. The result of his research, interviews and reflections, Where Am I Wearing?, was published in fall of 2008.
Timmerman is currently working on his next book, Where Am I Eating?: A Journey Through the Global Food Economy. His research destinations for his new book include Costa Rica and Colombia for their bananas and coffee, Nicaragua to interview lobster divers, and the Ivory Coast and Ghana to research cocoa production. The book is slated for publication in May 2013.
The author says he looks forward to his visit to San Marcos, and encourages the Texas State student community to think about how they impact the planet, to get involved with local and community volunteer work, and to “get out there and travel!”
Timmerman will host a special presentation for the Texas State School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Thursday, Sept. 27, from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in Old Main. He will also give a reading a book signing in the Honors Coffee Forum from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. His main speaking engagement will be that evening at 7 p.m. in Strahan Coliseum. The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are strongly encouraged to avoid driving to the evening event, if possible, due to limited parking, and to arrive early.