Skip to content

Tell About the South: Rachel Willis, Thursday, November 7 at 12:30 pm

Join us for a lunchtime lecture by Rachel Willis, Professor of American Studies, discussing “Why the Panama Canal Expansion Matters to the Southern U.S.”

Rachel Willis

Construction on the Panama Canal’s “Third Set of Locks,” which began in 2008 and is projected for completion in 2015, will double the canal’s capacity and impact the global shipping industry. Half of the world’s container ships are too large to fit through the canal at present, and new container ships continue to be built ever bigger. The expansion project involves deepening approach channels in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, widening and deepening the Culebra Cut, constructing new locks on both the Pacific and Atlantic sides, and raising the maximum operating levels at Gatun Lake.

Willis, a labor economist, will explain how a larger, deeper Panama Canal – and the ability to ship goods more cheaply – could translate into expanded opportunities for American workers as well as reducing dependence on carbon-based fuels. You can read more about Professor Willis’s work and view a slide show of her photographs here.