Most of the material things around us including the clothes we wear, the devices we use, and the car we drive are all produced in factories. Yet we usually pay little attention to the industrial facilities on which we depend. The way we live now is the result of centuries of advances in factory innovation, production, and technology but many of us don’t know what goes on behind a factory’s gates. Join us in this seven-week study group as we read and discuss Joshua Freeman’s Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World (W.W. Norton, 2018) that lays out two centuries of factory production around the world in seven informative chapters that are accessible, cogent and thoroughly new. The history of large factories from the textile mills in Manchester to Foxconn City is also, Freeman suggests, the history of the modern world. While examining the benefits of mass production, he does not shrink from the issues of labor exploitation or the environmental impact of industrial facilities. Freeman concludes that the giant factory “was central to both capitalist and socialist development, not only economically but socially, culturally, and politically.” No class on 11/26/20.