UM Anthropologist Damani Partridge Has a Visit with Maggie’s

Damani Partridge, a University of Michigan anthropologist, is currently working on a project titled, “Capitalist Activism and Supply Chain Citizenship,” and using Maggie’s Organics as a case study.

Damani met our founder, Bená Burda, at a WholeFoods store in Ann Arbor back in 2008, while attending a seminar given by Maggie’s Organics with a representative from the sewing co-operative in Nicaragua, the Fair Trade Zone, as well as with Mike Woodard of the Jubilee House Community. In the seminar, Maggie’s discussed how the sewing co-operative was started, and showed our inspiring video, Ants that Moved Mountains (which can be found on our YouTube channel here).

Damani was intrigued by the story of how we came to produce organic clothing, and so he invited both the JHC and Maggie’s to attend a week-long symposium entitled “Corporate Lives” at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The school provides scholarships and funding for short and long-term study in a number of areas, often in the field of anthropology.  Our project (the co-op), and the way we do business, represented emerging business models in the symposium, which was about the Corporation as an entity, and how its role in society is changing. It was a ground-breaking symposium, in part, because it was the first time the SAR invited a business to participate.

The findings from the symposium are being published as a text for an advanced anthropology study. To further his research into this alternative business model, Damani spent a full day at the Maggie’s Office in Ypsilanti last week, surveying our daily activities and interviewing us about our experience with Maggie’s. He was seeking more hands-on information about how Maggie’s operates, and plans to return for a second visit in the fall.

Bena’s commentary on an article written by Damani about this research is soon to be published. To expand upon his work, Damani is in the process of writing a book on the topic of activist capitalism and supply chain citizenship.


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