Wal-Mart World discussed at St. Olaf


Professor Fure-Slocum and panel 

"Wal-Mart America: Changing the Face of our World" a symposium held May 4th in the Lion's Pause of Buntrock Commons was sponsored by Assistant Professor of History Eric Fure-Slocum's History 297 class. (I apologize for being late with this blog it's been in the hopper for awhile.)

It featured a panel discussion, which included speakers Jenny Shegos from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789, Ross Currier of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, and St. Olaf Economics Professor Rebecca Judge. Panelists will discuss both sides of the controversy surrounding Wal-Mart's role in American culture and politics, particularly regarding labor issues. Panel, moderators were St. Olaf students Anna Gieselman '06 and Max Wojtanowicz '06.

Several student research projects and presentations were on display and examined the challenges of "big box" retail and a range of other recent changes in American society.  DSC00101.JPGTom Daymont, of Northfield was one of the students who had this display comparing the retail footprint of downtown Northfield and the local Target store an interesting visual study.

"This is an opportunity for students to engage in conversation on this topic with the public," Fure-Slocum said (quoted from an article on the St.Olaf website by Tom Vogel). "Some projects deal specifically with Wal-Mart, although others look at broader changes in American society, culture and consumption, especially within the last four or five decades."

It was his intent to have the class examine how the United States has developed from an industrial to a post-industrial society. Students looked at 19th-century steel manufacturers and mid-20th-century automobile makers, learning to ask questions about how these industries have shaped the American landscape and what effects they've had on workers' everyday lives. (Vogel)

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