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Cesar Chavez's Short Handled Hoe

by Curtis Marez

Since workers had to bend over while using short handled hoes overseers could see they were resting when they stood up. The tool was thus a means of surveillance that enabled management to adopt a sort of panoramic perspective on the field of production, viewing at a glance a landscape of stooping workers spread across the rows of produce. The tool helped make the worker’s labor visible to the bosses, reproducing an unequal set of visual relationships whereby big growers are the subjects, or we might say “owners,” of the gaze while farm workers are its object.

Cesar Chavez's Short Handled Hoe

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Quick time film of Cesar Chavez's short handled hoe.

from Virtual Object (2007)
Creator: Smithsonian
Posted by Curtis Marez