The effect of immigration on individual lives is not short lived. Those who stay in an adopted country permanently go through a continual process of adjustment and learning both about their new country-and about themselves. The four women profiled in Carol Kelley's poignant Accidental Immigrants and the Search for Home challenge immigrant stereotypes as their lives are transformed by moving to new countries for reasons of marriage, education, or career--not economics or politics.
The intimate stories of these "accidental" immigrants broaden conventional notions of home. From a Maori woman who moves to Norway to the daughter of an Iranian diplomat now living in France, Kelley weaves together these stories of the personal and emotional effects of immigration with interdisciplinary discussions drawn from anthropology and psychology. Ultimately, she reveals how the lifelong process of immigration affects each woman's sense of identity and belonging and contributes to better understanding today's globalized society.
In the 1980s, Italy transformed from a country of emigration to one of immigration. Italians are now faced daily with the presence of migrants from all over Africa, parts of South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. While much attention has been paid to the impact on Italians, few studies have focused on the agency of migrants themselves. In An Alliance of Women, Heather Merrill investigates how migrants and Italians struggle over meanings and negotiate social and cultural identities.
Taking as a starting point the Italian crisis over immigration in the early 1990s, Merrill examines grassroots interethnic spatial politics among female migrants and Turin feminists in Northern Italy. Using rich ethnographic material, she traces the emergence of Alma Mater—an anti-racist organization formed to address problems encountered by migrant women. Through this analysis, Merrill reveals the dynamics of an alliance consisting of women from many countries of origin and religious and class backgrounds.
Highlighting an interdisciplinary approach to migration and the instability of group identities in contemporary Italy, An Alliance of Women presents migrants grappling with spatialized boundaries amid growing nativist and anti-immigrant sentiment in Western Europe.
Heather Merrill is assistant professor of geography and anthropology at Dickinson College.
An incisive memoir of Rachel M. Brownstein’s seemingly quintessential Jewish mother, a resilient and courageous immigrant in New York.
When she arrived alone in New York in 1924, eighteen-year-old Reisel Thaler resembled the other Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe who accompanied her. Yet she already had an American passport tucked in her scant luggage. Reisel had drawn her first breath on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1905, then was taken back to Galicia (in what is now Poland) by her father before she turned two. She was, as she would boast to the end of her days, “American born.”
The distinguished biographer and critic Rachel M. Brownstein began writing about her mother Reisel during the Trump years, dwelling on the tales she told about her life and the questions they raised about nationalism, immigration, and storytelling. For most of the twentieth century, Brownstein’s mother gracefully balanced her identities as an American and a Jew. Her values, her language, and her sense of timing inform the imagination of the daughter who recalls her in her own old age. The memorializing daughter interrupts, interprets, and glosses, sifting through alternate versions of the same stories using scenes, songs, and books from their time together.
But the central character of this book is Reisel, who eventually becomes Grandma Rose—always watching and judging, singing, baking, and bustling. Living life as the heroine of her own story, she reminds us how to laugh despite tragedy, find our courage, and be our most unapologetically authentic selves.
Anzia Yezierska Duke University Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3547.E95A89 1996 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
The target of intense critical comment when it was first published in 1927, Arrogant Beggar’s scathing attack on charity-run boardinghouses remains one of Anzia Yezierska’s most devastating works of social criticism. The novel follows the fortunes of its young Jewish narrator, Adele Lindner, as she leaves the impoverished conditions of New York’s Lower East Side and tries to rise in the world. Portraying Adele’s experiences at the Hellman Home for Working Girls, the first half of the novel exposes the “sickening farce” of institutionalized charity while portraying the class tensions that divided affluent German American Jews from more recently arrived Russian American Jews. The second half of the novel takes Adele back to her ghetto origins as she explores an alternative model of philanthropy by opening a restaurant that combines the communitarian ideals of Old World shtetl tradition with the contingencies of New World capitalism. Within the context of this radical message, Yezierska revisits the themes that have made her work famous, confronting complex questions of ethnic identity, assimilation, and female self-realization. Katherine Stubbs’s introduction provides a comprehensive and compelling historical, social, and literary context for this extraordinary novel and discusses the critical reaction to its publication in light of Yezierska’s biography and the once much-publicized and mythologized version of her life story. Unavailable for over sixty years, Arrogant Beggar will be enjoyed by general readers of fiction and be of crucial importance for feminist critics, students of ethnic literature. It will also prove an exciting and richly rewarding text for students and scholars of Jewish studies, immigrant literature, women’s writing, American history, and working-class fiction.
Presenting a nuanced story of women, migration, community, industry, and civic life at the turn of the twentieth century, Carol Lynn McKibben's Beyond Cannery Row analyzes the processes of migration and settlement of Sicilian fishers from three villages in Western Sicily to Monterey, California--and sometimes back again.
McKibben's analysis of gender and gender roles shows that it was the women in this community who had the insight, the power, and the purpose to respond and even prosper amid changing economic conditions. Vividly evoking the immigrants' everyday experiences through first-person accounts and detailed description, McKibben demonstrates that the cannery work done by Sicilian immigrant women was crucial in terms of the identity formation and community development. These changes allowed their families to survive the challenges of political conflicts over citizenship in World War II and intermarriage with outsiders throughout the migration experience. The women formed voluntary associations and celebrated festas that effectively linked them with each other and with their home villages in Sicily. Continuous migration created a strong sense of transnationalism among Sicilians in Monterey, which has enabled them to continue as a viable ethnic community today.
When South Asians immigrated to the United States in great numbers in the 1970s, they were passionately driven to achieve economic stability and socialize the next generation to retain the traditions of their home culture. During these years, the immigrant community went to great lengths to project an impeccable public image by denying the existence of social problems such as domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, mental illness, racism, and intergenerational conflict. It was not until recently that activist groups have worked to bring these issues out into the open.
In Body Evidence, more than twenty scholars and public health professionals uncover the unique challenges faced by victims of violence in intimate spaces . . . within families, communities and trusted relationships in South Asian American communities. Topics include cultural obsession with women's chastity and virginity; the continued silence surrounding intimate violence among women who identify themselves as lesbian, bisexual, or transgender; the consequences of refusing marriage proposals or failing to meet dowry demands; and, ultimately, the ways in which the United States courts often confuse and exacerbate the plights of these women.
An anthropological study of Haitian migrant women’s mobility in the Dominican Republic.
Borders of Visibility offers extremely timely insight into the Dominican Republic’s racist treatment of Haitian descendants within its borders. Jennifer L. Shoaff employs multisited feminist research to focus on the geographies of power that intersect to inform the opportunities and constraints that migrant women must navigate to labor and live within a context that largely denies their human rights, access to citizenship, and a sense of security and belonging.
Paradoxically, these women are both hypervisible because of the blackness that they embody and invisible because they are marginalized by intersecting power inequalities. Haitian women must contend with diffuse legal, bureaucratic and discursive state-local practices across “border” sites that situate them as a specific kind of threat that must be contained. Shoaff examines this dialectic of mobility and containment across various sites in the northwest Dominican Republic, including the official border crossing, transborder and regional used-clothing markets, migrant settlements (bateyes), and other rural-urban contexts.
Shoaff combines ethnographic interviews, participant observation, institutional analyses of state structures and nongovernmental agencies, and archival documentation to bring this human rights issue to the fore. Although primarily grounded in critical ethnographic practice, this work contributes to the larger fields of transnational feminism, black studies, migration and border studies, political economy, and cultural geography. Borders of Visibility brings much needed attention to Haitian migrant women’s economic ingenuity and entrepreneurial savvy, their ability to survive and thrive, their often impossible choices whether to move or to stay, returning them to a place of visibility, while exposing the very structures that continue to render them invisible and, thus, expendable over time.
Today the United States leads the world in incarceration rates. The country increasingly relies on the prison system as a “fix” for the regulation of societal issues. Captivity Beyond Prisons is the first full-length book to explicitly link prisons and incarceration to the criminalization of Latina (im)migrants.
Starting in the 1990s, the United States saw tremendous expansion in the number of imprisoned (im)migrants, specifically Latinas/os. Consequently, there was also an increase in the number of deportations. In addition to regulating society, prisons also serve as a reproductive control strategy, both in preventing female inmates from having children and by separating them from their families. With an eye to racialized and gendered technologies of power, Escobar argues that incarcerated Latinas are especially depicted as socially irrecuperable because they are not considered useful within the neoliberal labor market. This perception impacts how they are criminalized, which is not limited to incarceration but also extends to and affects Latina (im)migrants’ everyday lives. Escobar also explores the relationship between the immigrant rights movement and the prison abolition movement, scrutinizing a variety of social institutions working on solutions to social problems that lead to imprisonment.
Accessible to both academics and those in the justice and social service sectors, Escobar’s book pushes readers to consider how, even in radical spaces, unequal power relations can be reproduced by the very entities that attempt to undo them.
The Coffin Tree
Wendy Law-Yone Northwestern University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3562.A862C6 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Wendy Law-Yone opens her first novel with the phrase of a survivor, "Living things prefer to go on living." A young woman and her older half-brother are expelled from their home in Burma by a savage political coup. Sent to elusive safety in America, the motherless siblings find themselves engulfed by the indifference, hypocrisy, and cruelty of an American society unable to deal with difference. Her brother's death drives the unnamed narrator into the seclusion of a mental hospital, where memories of her childhood and the strength it ingrained in her are enough to heal her heart and return her to the outside world.
In Downwardly Global Lalaie Ameeriar examines the transnational labor migration of Pakistani women to Toronto. Despite being trained professionals in fields including engineering, law, medicine, and education, they experience high levels of unemployment and poverty. Rather than addressing this downward mobility as the result of bureaucratic failures, in practice their unemployment is treated as a problem of culture and racialized bodily difference. In Toronto, a city that prides itself on multicultural inclusion, women are subjected to two distinct cultural contexts revealing that integration in Canada represents not the erasure of all differences, but the celebration of some differences and the eradication of others. Downwardly Global juxtaposes the experiences of these women in state-funded unemployment workshops, where they are instructed not to smell like Indian food or wear ethnic clothing, with their experiences at cultural festivals in which they are encouraged to promote these same differences. This form of multiculturalism, Ameeriar reveals, privileges whiteness while using race, gender, and cultural difference as a scapegoat for the failures of Canadian neoliberal policies.
Why are domestic workers converting to Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf region? In Everyday Conversions Attiya Ahmad presents us with an original analysis of this phenomenon. Using extensive fieldwork conducted among South Asian migrant women in Kuwait, Ahmad argues domestic workers’ Muslim belonging emerges from their work in Kuwaiti households as they develop Islamic piety in relation—but not opposition—to their existing religious practices, family ties, and ethnic and national belonging. Their conversion is less a clean break from their preexisting lives than it is a refashioning in response to their everyday experiences. In examining the connections between migration, labor, gender, and Islam, Ahmad complicates conventional understandings of the dynamics of religious conversion and the feminization of transnational labor migration while proposing the concept of everyday conversion as a way to think more broadly about emergent forms of subjectivity, affinity, and belonging.
The Fifth Sun
Mary Helen Lagasse Northwestern University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PS3612.A38F54 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Winner of the 3rd Annual Miguel Mármol Prize from Curbstone Press, Mary Helen Lagasse's The Fifth Sun is an inspiring story of an immigrant who struggles valiantly for a better life for herself and her family. A young Mexican woman, Mercedes, leaves her village to work as a housemaid in New Orleans. This fast-paced novel takes us through her adventures in New Orleans, her marriage, her struggle to raise her children, her deportation, and her attempt to re-cross the river and be reunited with her children.
Flor's Journey to Independence
Barbara Vaille and Jennifer QuinnWilliams University of Michigan Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3622.A36F58 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Flor's Journey to Independence begins as Flor and her four-year-old daughter, Betina, are unexpectedly abandoned by Flor's husband, Ricardo. Flor is suddenly faced with paying the bills and caring for Betina on her own, as she also struggles with limited English skills. Still, Flor's determination gets her through the hard times, and once she enrolls in an English class for adults and begins working, she finds that her new life brings her new friends and opportunities.
A modified version of this story is also available on our website, www.press.umich.edu/esl/stories.
The MICHIGAN Stories for Newcomers are original fiction written for adult English learners who wish to improve their reading and English skills
In From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders, Norma Fuentes-Mayorga compares the immigration and integration experiences of Dominican and Mexican women in New York City, a traditional destination for Dominicans but a relatively new one for Mexicans. Her book documents the significance of women-led migration within an increasingly racialized context and underscores the contributions women make to their communities of origin and of settlement. Fuentes-Mayorga’s research is timely, especially against the backdrop of policy debates about the future of family reunification laws and the unprecedented immigration of women and minors from Latin America, many of whom seek human rights protection or to reunite with families in the US. From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders provides a compelling look at the suffering of migrant mothers and the mourning of family separation, but also at the agency and contributions that women make with their imported human capital and remittances to the receiving and sending community. Ultimately the book contributes further understanding to the heterogeneity of Latin American immigration and highlights the social mobility of Afro-Caribbean and indigenous migrant women in New York.
Gender and International Migration
KATHARINE M. DONATO is professor and chair of sociology at Vanderbilt University. DONNA GABACCIA is professor of history in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Toronto-Scarborough. Russell Sage Foundation, 2015 Library of Congress JV6347.D66 2016 | Dewey Decimal 305.48
In 2006, the United Nations reported on the “feminization” of migration, noting that the number of female migrants had doubled over the last five decades. Likewise, global awareness of issues like human trafficking and the exploitation of immigrant domestic workers has increased attention to the gender makeup of migrants. But are women really more likely to migrate today than they were in earlier times? In Gender and International Migration, sociologist and demographer Katharine Donato and historian Donna Gabaccia evaluate the historical evidence to show that women have been a significant part of migration flows for centuries. The first scholarly analysis of gender and migration over the centuries, Gender and International Migration demonstrates that variation in the gender composition of migration reflect not only the movements of women relative to men, but larger shifts in immigration policies and gender relations in the changing global economy. While most research has focused on women migrants after 1960, Donato and Gabaccia begin their analysis with the fifteenth century, when European colonization and the transatlantic slave trade led to large-scale forced migration, including the transport of prisoners and indentured servants to the Americas and Australia from Africa and Europe. Contrary to the popular conception that most of these migrants were male, the authors show that a significant portion were women. The gender composition of migrants was driven by regional labor markets and local beliefs of the sending countries. For example, while coastal ports of western Africa traded mostly male slaves to Europeans, most slaves exiting east Africa for the Middle East were women due to this region’s demand for female reproductive labor. Donato and Gabaccia show how the changing immigration policies of receiving countries affect the gender composition of global migration. Nineteenth-century immigration restrictions based on race, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act in the United States, limited male labor migration. But as these policies were replaced by regulated migration based on categories such as employment and marriage, the balance of men and women became more equal – both in large immigrant-receiving nations such as the United States, Canada, and Israel, and in nations with small immigrant populations such as South Africa, the Philippines, and Argentina. The gender composition of today’s migrants reflects a much stronger demand for female labor than in the past. The authors conclude that gender imbalance in migration is most likely to occur when coercive systems of labor recruitment exist, whether in the slave trade of the early modern era or in recent guest-worker programs. Using methods and insights from history, gender studies, demography, and other social sciences, Gender and International Migration shows that feminization is better characterized as a gradual and ongoing shift toward gender balance in migrant populations worldwide. This groundbreaking demographic and historical analysis provides an important foundation for future migration research.
This collection explores how Western countries have historically distinguished between categories of migrants—such as labor, refugee, family, and postcolonial migrants. Covering France, the United States, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark, the contributors explain how concepts such as “refugee,” “family,” and “difference” have been defined through policy and public debate. Tightly intertwined, these definitions are continuously changing with the economic and geopolitical climate, as well as in relation to migrants’ gender, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and countries of destination and origin.
As much of the world tried to return to normal living and working patterns after World War II, some 70,000 British women chose to be uprooted from the homeland they knew and loved. These were British war brides, a uniformly young group who by marrying American servicemen became part of the largest single group of female immigrants to the United States.
Though the women came to the U.S. from all parts of the British Isles, they were an unusually homogeneous group, averaging 23 years of age, from working- or lower-middle-class families and having completed mandatory schooling to the age of fourteen. For the most part they emigrated alone and didn't move into an existing immigrant population.
Jenel Virden draws on records in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and the Public Record Office in London, as well as questionnaires and personal interviews, in relating the women's story. Virden finds that the marriages actually took place in spite of, rather than because of, the war.
And, while the women benefited from special nonrestrictive immigration legislation--and found public welcomes and a good deal of favorable publicity when they arrived--they also had much in common with other immigrant groups, including a strong sense of ethnic identity.
This is the first novel published in Iowa. Printed in Dubuque in 1858, it was written to recruit emigrants to Iowa; what makes it unique among emigration literature is the fact that it was directed at women, using the form of a domestic novel loaded with gentle mothers and stalwart fathers, flower-gemmed prairies and vine-draped cottages, and lots of tender words and humble weddings to encourage women to settle in the new state.
Mary Emilia Rockwell tells the story of Walter and Annie Judson, who one desperate March night decide to move to the West in search of a better life. Walter is an exploited, debt-ridden carpenter who knows that “if we could go to the West, to one of those new States where work is plenty, wages high and land cheap, we could make a more comfortable living, and besides soon have a home of our own.” Annie has “all a woman’s devotion and self-denial”; loving and supportive, she takes the path of duty and moves her little family to “a pleasant little village in Iowa.” In Newburg, everyone is newly arrived, hard-working, and self-sacrificing, facing difficulties with the certainty of prosperity and independence to come. In spite of dramatic setbacks, Walter prospers, and he and Annie build a “beautiful and commodious” house in the growing community of Hastings. The book ends with a return visit to Connecticut, where the Judsons and a series of surprising events persuade Annie’s parents to move to Iowa too, and everyone is reunited in their home in the West.
Teacher, administrator, and writer Emilia Rockwell (born about 1835, died about 1915) writes a conventionally sentimental story. However, she actually divorced her first husband, became the administrator of a juvenile reformatory in Milwaukee, and married a second time; she lived in Lansing, Iowa, for only a few years. Her writing is romantic, but she accurately portrays the economic challenges and transformations of this pioneer period and, historically, touches upon the Panic of 1857, the Mormon Handcart Expedition, and Native Americans in Iowa. Sharon Wood’s illuminating introduction presents Rockwell's biography and places the novel in its historical and literary contexts, including such events as the Spirit Lake massacre and the Dred Scott decision. A Home in the West is a satisfying read and an intriguing combination of boosterism and literature
An immigration story of crossing cultural bridges and finding family.
When Madeline Uraneck said hello to the Tibetan woman cleaning her office cubicle, she never imagined the moment would change her life. After learning that Tenzin Kalsang had left her husband and four children behind in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India to try to forge a better life for them, Madeline took on the task of helping her apply for US visas. When the family reunited in their new Midwestern home, Madeline became swept up in their lives, from homework and soccer games to family dinners and shared holiday traditions. By reaching out, she found more than she bargained for—a family who welcomed her as their own and taught her more than she offered them.
An evocative blend of immersion journalism and memoir, How to Make a Life shares the immigration story of a Tibetan refugee family who crossed real and cultural bridges to make a life in Madison, Wisconsin, with the assistance of the Midwestern woman they befriended. From tales of escaping Tibet over the Himalayas, to striking a balance between old traditions with new, to bridging divides one friendly gesture at a time, readers will expand their understanding of family, culture, and belonging.
Seven years before the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Page Law sought to stem the tide of Chinese prostitutes entering the United States. Yet during these seven years, it was not just prostitutes but all Chinese females who encountered at best hostility and at worst expulsion when they reached the "Golden Door."
George Anthony Peffer looks at enforcement of immigration laws to provide the first detailed account of Chinese American women's lives in the pre-exclusion era. Peffer documents the habeas corpus trials in which the wives and daughters of Chinese laborers were required to prove their status as legal immigrants or return to China. He also surveys the virulently anti-Chinese coverage of these trials and the issue of Chinese immigration received in California newspapers, confirming that Chinatown's prostitution industry so dominated the popular imagination as to render other classes of female immigrants all but invisible.
Insightful and groundbreaking, If They Don't Bring Their Women Here amplifies the voices of Chinese immigrant women and establishes a place for them within the historiographic framework of Chinese American studies.
Robyn Burnett and Ken Luebbering first looked at how immigration has affected Missouri’s cultural landscape in their popular book German Settlement in Missouri: New Land, Old Ways. Now they tell the stories of women from all across Europe who left the Old World for Missouri. Drawing heavily on the women’s own stories, Immigrant Women in the Settlement of Missouri illustrates common elements of their lives without minimizing the diversity and complexity of each individual’s experience.
The book begins with descriptions culled from diaries, letters, and memoirs documenting preparations for the journey, the perilous Atlantic crossing, and the sometimes equally long and arduous trip from the port of entry to Missouri. Burnett and Luebbering go on to examine how women, once in Missouri, coped with the problems of daily life in an unfamiliar and occasionally hostile environment. Whether it was the hardships of the frontier, the harsh realities of urban life, childbirth, the deaths of family members, isolation, or prejudice, their new lives brought numerous challenges. Many found success and contentment, as well, and the book also documents their joys and triumphs: physical survival, economic prosperity, thriving families, friendships, and community celebrations.
Because it examines the lives of women from many social classes and ethnic backgrounds, Immigrant Women in the Settlement of Missouri does much to explain the rich cultural diversity Missouri enjoys today. The photographs and narratives relating to Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, and Polish life will remind descendants of immigrants that many customs and traditions they grew up practicing have roots in their home countries and will also promote understanding of the customs of other cultures. In addition to the ethnic and class differences that affected these women’s lives, the book also notes the impact of the various eras in which they lived, their education, the circumstances of their migrations, and their destinations across Missouri.
With their engaging and straightforward narrative, Burnett and Luebbering take the reader chronologically through the history of the state from the colonial period to the Civil War and industrialization. Like all Missouri Heritage Readers, this one is presented in an accessible format with abundant illustrations, and it is sure to please both general readers and those engaged in immigrant and women’s studies.
To date, most research on immigrant women and labor forces has focused on the participation of immigrant women on formal labor markets. In this study, contributors focus on informal economies such as health care, domestic work, street vending, and the garment industry, where displaced and undocumented women are more likely to work. Because such informal labor markets are unregulated, many of these workers face abusive working conditions that are not reported for fear of job loss or deportation. In examining the complex dynamics of how immigrant women navigate political and economic uncertainties, this collection highlights the important role of citizenship status in defining immigrant women's opportunities, wages, and labor conditions.
Contributors are Pallavi Banerjee, Grace Chang, Margaret M. Chin, Jennifer Jihye Chun, Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán, Emir Estrada, Lucy Fisher, Nilda Flores-González, Ruth Gomberg-Munoz, Anna Romina Guevarra, Shobha Hamal Gurung, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, María de la Luz Ibarra, Miliann Kang, George Lipsitz, Lolita Andrada Lledo, Lorena Muñoz, Bandana Purkayastha, Mary Romero, Young Shin, Michelle Téllez, and Maura Toro-Morn.
From Agate Nesaule, acclaimed by writers across the globe from Doris Lessing to Tim O’Brien, comes a long-awaited novel. In Love with Jerzy Kosinski is a story of courage and persistence, exploring in fiction the themes that gripped readers of Nesaule’s award-winning memoir, A Woman in Amber.
After fleeing Latvia as a child, Anna Duja escapes Russian confinement in displaced persons camps and eventually arrives in America. Years later, she finds herself in a different kind of captivity on isolated Cloudy Lake, Wisconsin, living with her disarming but manipulative husband, Stanley.
Inspired by the transformation of Polish-Jewish émigré Jerzy Kosinski from persecuted wartime escapee to celebrity author in America, Anna slips away from Stanley and Cloudy Lake in small steps: learning to drive, making friends, moving to Madison, falling in love, and learning to forgive. Readers will applaud the book’s power, the beauty of its prose, and its strong evocation of a woman gradually finding her way in the wake of trauma.
Winner, the Chancellor’s Regional Literary Award, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Sara R. Farris examines the demands for women's rights from an unlikely collection of right-wing nationalist political parties, neoliberals, and some feminist theorists and policy makers. Focusing on contemporary France, Italy, and the Netherlands, Farris labels this exploitation and co-optation of feminist themes by anti-Islam and xenophobic campaigns as “femonationalism.” She shows that by characterizing Muslim males as dangerous to western societies and as oppressors of women, and by emphasizing the need to rescue Muslim and migrant women, these groups use gender equality to justify their racist rhetoric and policies. This practice also serves an economic function. Farris analyzes how neoliberal civic integration policies and feminist groups funnel Muslim and non-western migrant women into the segregating domestic and caregiving industries, all the while claiming to promote their emancipation. In the Name of Women's Rights documents the links between racism, feminism, and the ways in which non-western women are instrumentalized for a variety of political and economic purposes.
For generations, migration moved in one direction at a time: migrants to host countries, and money to families left behind. The Labor of Care argues that globalization has changed all that. Valerie Francisco-Menchavez spent five years alongside a group of working migrant mothers. Drawing on interviews and up-close collaboration with these women, Francisco-Menchavez looks at the sacrifices, emotional and material consequences, and recasting of roles that emerge from family separation. She pays particular attention to how technologies like Facebook, Skype, and recorded video open up transformative ways of bridging distances while still supporting traditional family dynamics. As she shows, migrants also build communities of care in their host countries. These chosen families provide an essential form of mutual support. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of today's transnational family—sundered, yet inexorably linked over the distances by timeless emotions and new forms of intimacy.
Making Choices, Making Do is a comparative study of Black and white working-class women’s survival strategies during the Great Depression. Based on analysis of employment histories and Depression-era interviews of 1,340 women in Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and South Bend and letters from domestic workers, Lois Helmbold discovered that Black women lost work more rapidly and in greater proportions. The benefits that white women accrued because of structural racism meant they avoided the utter destitution that more commonly swallowed their Black peers. When let go from a job, a white woman was more successful in securing a less desirable job, while Black women, especially older Black women, were pushed out of the labor force entirely. Helmbold found that working-class women practiced the same strategies, but institutionalized racism in employment, housing, and relief assured that Black women worked harder, but fared worse. Making Choices, Making Do strives to fill the gap in the labor history of women, both Black and white. The book will challenge the limits of segregated histories and encourage more comparative analyses.
Howard Frank Mosher University Press of New England, 2012 Library of Congress PS3563.O8844M3 2004 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Howard Frank Mosher is one of the best-loved writers of northern New England, one who has “created a literary landscape as textured as anything produced by the U. S. Geological Survey,” according to USA Today. His “greatest gift,” says the Washington Post, is “his talent for creating lively, living characters.” One of his most vivid and memorable characters is Marie Blythe. At the dawn of the twentieth century, a young girl with a felicitous name immigrates to Vermont from French Canada. She grows up confronting the grim realities of life with an indomitable spirit—nursing victims of a tuberculosis epidemic, enduring a miscarriage alone in the wilderness, and coping with the uncertainties of love. In Marie Blythe, Mosher has created a strong-minded, passionate, and truly memorable heroine.
Migration in Asia is leading to more marriages across nationalities. New patterns of migration are complicating the picture of women from poorer Asian countries migrating to marry men in more wealthy ones. The contributors to this volume explore the agency of marriage migrants, showing how migration is often more than a simple movement from home to destination but can involve return, repeated, or extended migrations, and that these transitions that can alter geographies of power in economics, nationality, or ethnicity. Together, the contributors identify this emerging diaspora and its long-term consequences for families.
A Patchwork Shawl sheds light on the lives of a segment of the U.S. immigrant population that has long been relegated to the margins. It focuses on women's lives that span different worlds: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and the United States. This collection of essays by and about South Asian women in America challenges stereotypes by allowing women to speak in their own words. Together they provide discerning insights into the reconstruction of immigrant patriarchy in a new world, and the development of women's resistance to that reconstruction. Shamita Das DasGupta's introduction also acquaints readers with the psychological topography of the South Asian community.
A Patchwork Shawl considers topics from re-negotiation of identity to sexuality, violence to intimacy, occupations to organizing within the community. The essays bear witness to women's negotiations for independent identities, their claim to their own bodies, and the right to choose relationships based on their own histories and truths. They bring new understanding to the intersection of gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and class.
According to the Latina health paradox, Mexican immigrant women have less complicated pregnancies and more favorable birth outcomes than many other groups, in spite of socioeconomic disadvantage. Alyshia Gálvez provides an ethnographic examination of this paradox. What are the ways that Mexican immigrant women care for themselves during their pregnancies? How do they decide to leave behind some of the practices they bring with them on their pathways of migration in favor of biomedical approaches to pregnancy and childbirth?
This book takes us from inside the halls of a busy metropolitan hospital’s public prenatal clinic to the Oaxaca and Puebla states in Mexico to look at the ways Mexican women manage their pregnancies. The mystery of the paradox lies perhaps not in the recipes Mexican-born women have for good perinatal health, but in the prenatal encounter in the United States. Patient Citizens, Immigrant Mothers is a migration story and a look at the ways that immigrants are received by our medical institutions and by our society
Winner of the 2020 Sarah A. Whaley Book Prize from the National Women's Studies Association
Putting Their Hands on Race offers an important labor history of 19th and early 20th century Irish immigrant and US southern Black migrant domestic workers. Drawing on a range of archival sources, this intersectional study explores how these women were significant to the racial labor and citizenship politics of their time. Their migrations to northeastern cities challenged racial hierarchies and formations. Southern Black migrant women resisted the gendered racism of domestic service, and Irish immigrant women strove to expand whiteness to position themselves as deserving of labor rights. On the racially fractious terrain of labor, Black women and Irish immigrant women, including Victoria Earle Matthews, the “Irish Rambler”, Leonora Barry, and Anna Julia Cooper, gathered data, wrote letters and speeches, marched, protested, engaged in private acts of resistance in the workplace, and created women’s institutions and organizations to assert domestic workers’ right to living wages and protection.
The Resilient Self explores how international migration re-shapes women’s senses of themselves. Chien-Juh Gu uses life-history interviews and ethnographic observations to illustrate how immigration creates gendered work and family contexts for middle-class Taiwanese American women, who, in turn, negotiate and resist the social and psychological effects of the processes of immigration and settlement.
Most of the women immigrated as dependents when their U.S.-educated husbands found professional jobs upon graduation. Constrained by their dependent visas, these women could not work outside of the home during the initial phase of their settlement. The significant contrast of their lives before and after immigration—changing from successful professionals to foreign housewives—generated feelings of boredom, loneliness, and depression. Mourning their lost careers and lacking fulfillment in homemaking, these highly educated immigrant women were forced to redefine the meaning of work and housework, which in time shaped their perceptions of themselves and others in the family, at work, and in the larger community.
Tired of being scrutinized, criticized, and fetishized for her black skin, Cameroon-born scholar Geneviève Makaping turns the tables on Italy’s white majority, regarding them through the same unsparing gaze to which minorities have traditionally been subjected. As she candidly recounts her experiences—first across Africa and then as a migrant Black woman in Italy—Makaping describes acts of racist aggression that are wearying and degrading to encounter on a daily basis. She also offers her perspective on how various forms of inequality based on race, color, gender, and class feed off each other. Reversing the Gaze invites readers to confront the question of racism through the retelling of everyday occurrences that we might have experienced as victims, perpetrators, or witnesses.
This is the life story of Rosa Cavalleri, an Italian woman who came to the United States in 1884, one of the peak years in the nineteenth-century wave of immigration. A vivid, richly detailed account, the narrative traces Rosa’s life in an Italian peasant village and later in Chicago. Marie Hall Ets, a social worker and friend of Rosa’s at the Chicago Commons settlement house during the years following World War I, meticulously wrote down her lively stories to create this book.
Rosa was born in a silk-making village in Lombardy, a major source of north Italian emigration; she first set foot in the United States at the Castle Garden immigrant depot on the tip of Manhattan. Her life in this country was hard and Ets chronicles it in eloquent detail—Rosa endures a marriage at sixteen to an abusive older man, an unwilling migration to a Missouri mining town, and the unassisted birth of a child, and manages to escape from a husband who tried to force her into prostitution. Rosa’s exuberant personality, remarkable spirit, and ability as a storyteller distinguish this book, a unique contribution to the annals of U.S. immigration.
Salome of the Tenements
Anzia Yezierska University of Illinois Press, 1951 Library of Congress PS3547.E95S35 1995 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
The story of a young, aspiring Jewish woman from the ghetto who will do anything to get her man in this case an upper-class WASP. When she discovers he is not really what she wanted, she will do anything to get away. Based on the real-life story of the Jewish immigrant activist Rose Pastor's fairytale romance with the millionaire socialist Graham Stokes, the novel also reflects Yezierska's own doomed romance with the famous educator John Dewey. Passionate and engagingly sardonic, it criticizes the concept of the American "Melting Pot" in the language of the Lower East Side and exposes the hypocrisy of the "good works" of the privileged class and their so-called dedication to the poor. Gay Wilentz's introduction discusses Anzia Yezierska's life and work.
Originally published in 1923.
Song Of Thieves
Shara McCallum University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3563.C33446S66 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Song of Thieves delves into issues of racial identity and politics, the immigrant experience, and the search for "home" and family histories. In this follow-up to her award-winning debut collection, The Water Between Us, Shara McCallum artfully draws from the language and imagery of her Caribbean background to play a haunting and soulful tune.
Across the Western world, the air is filled with talk of immigration. The changes brought by immigration have triggered a renewed fervor for isolationism able to shutter political traditions and party systems. So often absent from these conversations on migration are however the actual stories and experiences of the migrants themselves. In fact, migration does not simply transport people. It also changes them deeply. Enter Martina Cvajner’s Soviet Signoras, a far-reaching ethnographic study of two decades in the lives of women who migrated to northern Italy from several former Soviet republics.
Cvajner details the personal and collective changes brought about by the experience of migration for these women: from the first hours arriving in a new country with no friends, relatives, or existing support networks, to later remaking themselves for their new environment. In response to their traumatic displacement, the women of Soviet Signoras—nearly all of whom found work in their new Western homes as elder care givers—refashioned themselves in highly sexualized, materialistic, and intentionally conspicuous ways. Cvajner’s focus on overt sexuality and materialism is far from sensationalist, though. By zeroing in on these elements of personal identity, she reveals previously unexplored sides of the social psychology of migration, coloring our contemporary discussion with complex shades of humanity.
Thirsty: A Novel
Kristin Bair O’Keeffe Ohio University Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3602.A564T47 2009
It is 1883, and all of Klara Bozic’s girlish dreams have come crashing down as she arrives in Thirsty, a gritty steel town carved into the slopes above the Monongahela River just outside of Pittsburgh. She has made a heartbreaking discovery. Her new husband Drago is as abusive as the father she left behind in Croatia.
In Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s debut novel, Klara’s life unfolds over forty years as she struggles to find her place in a new country where her survival depends on the friends who nurture her: gutsy, funny Katherine Zupanovic, who isn‘t afraid of Drago’s fist; BenJo, the only black man in Thirsty to have his own shop; and strangely enough, Old Man Rupert, the town drunk.
Thirsty follows a chain of unlikely events that keep Klara’s spirit aloft: a flock of angelic butterflies descends on Thirsty; Klara gives birth to her first child in Old Man Rupert’s pumpkin patch; and BenJo gives her a talking bird. When Klara’s daughter marries a man even more brutal than Drago, Klara is forced to act. If she doesn’t finally break the cycle of violence in her family, her granddaughters will one day walk the same road, broken and bruised. As the threads that hold her family together fray and come undone, Klara has to decide if she has the courage to carve out a peaceful spot in the world for herself and her girls.
“Welcome to the European family!” When East European countries joined the European Union under this banner after 1989, they agreed to the free movement of goods, services, capital, and persons. In this book, Anca Parvulescu analyzes an important niche in this imagined European kinship: the traffic in women, or the circulation of East European women in West Europe in marriage and as domestic servants, nannies, personal attendants, and entertainers. Analyzing film, national policies, and an impressive range of work by theorists from Giorgio Agamben to Judith Butler, she develops a critical lens through which to think about the transnational continuum of “women’s work.”
Parvulescu revisits Claude Lévi-Strauss’s concept of kinship and its rearticulation by second-wave feminists, particularly Gayle Rubin, to show that kinship has traditionally been anchored in the traffic in women. Reading recent cinematic texts that help frame this, she reveals that in contemporary Europe, East European migrant women are exchanged to engage in labor customarily performed by wives within the institution of marriage. Tracing a pattern of what she calls Americanization, Parvulescu argues that these women thereby become responsible for the labor of reproduction. A fascinating cultural study as much about the consequences of the enlargement of the European Union as women’s mobility, The Traffic in Women’s Work questions the foundations of the notion of Europe today.
Claudia Garcia crossed the border because her toddler, Natalia, could not hear. Leaving behind everything she knew in Mexico, Claudia recounts the terror of migrating alone with her toddler and the incredible challenges she faced advocating for her daughter’s health in the United States. When she arrived in Texas, Claudia discovered that being undocumented would mean more than just an immigration status—it would be a way of living, of mothering, and of being discarded by even those institutions we count on to care.
Elizabeth Farfán-Santos spent five years with Claudia. As she listened to Claudia’s experiences, she recalled her own mother’s story, another life molded by migration, the US-Mexico border, and the quest for a healthy future on either side. Witnessing Claudia’s struggles with doctors and teachers, we see how the education and medical systems enforce undocumented status and perpetuate disability. At one point, in the midst of advocating for her daughter, Claudia suddenly finds herself struck by debilitating pain. Claudia is lifted up by her comadres, sent to the doctor, and reminded why she must care for herself.
A braided narrative that speaks to the power of stories for creating connection, this book reveals what remains undocumented in the motherhood of Mexican women who find themselves making impossible decisions and multiple sacrifices as they build a future for their families.
The Water Between Us
Shara McCallum University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3563.C33446W38 1999 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize winner.
The Water Between Us is a poetic examination of cultural fragmentation, and the exile's struggle to reconcile the disparate and often conflicting influences of the homeland and the adopted country. The book also centers on other kinds of physical and emotional distances: those between mothers and daughters, those created by being of mixed racial descent, and those between colonizers and the colonized. Despite these distances, or perhaps because of them, the poems affirm the need for a multilayered and cohesive sense of self. McCallum's language is precise and graceful. Drawing from Anancy tales, Greek myth, and biblical stories, the poems deftly alternate between American English and Jamaican patois, and between images both familiar and surreal.
Sabine N. Meyer eschews the generalities of other temperance histories to provide a close-grained story about the connections between alcohol consumption and identity in the upper Midwest.
Meyer examines the ever-shifting ways that ethnicity, gender, class, religion, and place interacted with each other during the long temperance battle in Minnesota. Her deconstruction of Irish and German ethnic positioning with respect to temperance activism provides a rare interethnic history of the movement. At the same time, she shows how women engaged in temperance work as a way to form public identities and reforges the largely neglected, yet vital link between female temperance and suffrage activism. Relatedly, Meyer reflects on the continuities and changes between how the movement functioned to construct identity in the heartland versus the movement's more often studied roles in the East. She also gives a nuanced portrait of the culture clash between a comparatively reform-minded Minneapolis and dynamic anti-temperance forces in whiskey-soaked St. Paul--forces supported by government, community, and business institutions heavily invested in keeping the city wet.
Women’s migration within Mexico and from Mexico to the United States is increasing; nearly as many women as men are migrating. This development gives rise to new social negotiations, which have not been well examined in migration studies until now. This pathbreaking reader analyzes how economically and politically displaced migrant women assert agency in everyday life. Scholars across diverse disciplines interrogate the socioeconomic forces that propel Mexican women into the migrant stream and shape their employment options; the changes that these women are making in homes, families, and communities; and the “structural violence” that they confront in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands broadly conceived—all within the economic, social, cultural, and political interstices of the two countries.
This reader includes twenty-three essays—two of which are translated from the Spanish—that illuminate women’s engagement with diverse social and cultural challenges. One contributor critiques the statistical fallacy of nativist discourses within the United States that portray Chicana and Mexican women’s fertility rates as “out of control.” Other contributors explore the relation between sexual violence and women’s migration from rural areas to urban centers within Mexico, the ways that undocumented migrant communities challenge conventional notions of citizenship, and young Latinas’ commemorations of the late, internationally renowned singer Selena. Several essays address workplace intimidation and violence, harassment and rape by U.S. border patrol agents and maquiladora managers, sexual violence, and the brutal murders of nearly two hundred young women near Ciudad Juárez. This rich collection highlights both the structural inequities faced by Mexican women in the borderlands and the creative ways they have responded to them.
Contributors. Ernestine Avila, Xóchitl Castañeda, Sylvia Chant, Leo R. Chavez, Cynthia Cranford, Adelaida R. Del Castillo, Sylvanna M. Falcón, Gloria González-López, Maria de la Luz Ibarra, Jonathan Xavier Inda, Rosa Linda Fregoso, Jennifer S. Hirsch, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Eithne Luibheid, Victoria Malkin, Faranak Miraftab, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Norma Ojeda de la Peña, Deborah Paredez, Leslie Salzinger, Felicity Schaeffer-Grabiel, Denise A. Segura, Laura Velasco Ortiz, Melissa W. Wright, Patricia Zavella
World of Our Mothers captures the largely forgotten history of courage and heartbreak of forty-five women who immigrated to the United States during the era of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The book reveals how these women in the early twentieth century reconciled their lives with their circumstances—enduring the violence of the Revolution, experiencing forced labor and lost childhoods, encountering enganchadores (labor contractors), and living in barrios, mining towns, and industrial areas of the Midwest, and what they saw as their primary task: caring for their families.
While the women share a historic immigration journey, each story provides unique details and circumstances that testify to the diversity of the immigrant experience. The oral histories, a project more than forty years in the making, let these women speak for themselves, while historical information is added to support and illuminate the women’s voices.
The book, which includes a foreword by Irasema Coronado, director of the School of Transborder Studies, and Chris Marin, professor emeritus, both at Arizona State University, is divided into four parts. Part 1 highlights the salient events of the Revolution; part 2 presents an overview of what immigrants inherited upon their arrival to the United States; part 3 identifies challenges faced by immigrant families; and part 4 focuses on stories by location—Arizona mining towns, Phoenix barrios, and Midwestern colonias—all communities that immigrant women helped create. The book concludes with ideas on how readers can examine their own family histories. Readers are invited to engage with one another to uncover alternative interpretations of the immigrant experience and through the process connect one generation with another.
Writing the Pioneer Woman
Janet Floyd University of Missouri Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS366.F76F58 2002 | Dewey Decimal 818.08
Focusing on a series of autobiographical texts, published and private, well known and obscure, Writing the Pioneer Woman examines the writing of domestic life on the nineteenth-century North American frontier. In an attempt to determine the meanings found in the pioneer woman's everyday writings—from records of recipes to descriptions of washing floors—Janet Floyd explores domestic details in the autobiographical writing of British and Anglo-American female emigrants.
Floyd argues that the figure of the pioneer housewife has been a significant one within general cultural debates about the home and the domestic life of women, on both sides of the Atlantic. She looks at the varied ideological work performed by this figure over the last 150 years and at what the pioneer woman signifies and has signified in national cultural debates concerning womanhood and home.
The autobiographies under discussion are not only of homemaking but also of emigration. Equally, these texts are about the enterprise of emigration, with several of them written to advise prospective emigrants. Using the insights of diaspora and migration theory, Floyd shows that these writings portray a far subtler role for the pioneer woman than is suggested by previous scholars, who often see her either as participating directly in the overall domestication of colonial space or as being strictly marginal to that process.
Written in response to the highly critical discussion of the attitudes and activities of female "civilizers" within "New" Western history and postcolonial studies, Writing the Pioneer Woman will be a valuable addition to the burgeoning discussion of the literature of domesticity.