Diasporas and Migrations

Simone James Alexander, Seton Hall University
"Migratory Subjects: The Politics of Dis/placement and Dis/possession in Edwidge Danticat’s Fiction"

This project investigates the ways in which Caribbean author, Edwidge Danticat, reconfigures the discourse on migrations and diasporas. Analyzing the “gendering” of migrations and migratory experiences, I explore the ways that Danticat challenges the masculinist representations of diasporas, migrations, home and travel. Home and trauma are pivotal issues in Breath, Eyes, Memory in which all manifestations of home are broken in the life of raped and later exiled character, Martine Caco. The “colonization” of Martine’s body through rape drives her out of home and re-charts her face as a woman. Danticat critiques the makeup of patriarchal societies by demonstrating how male violence against women impacts on her female characters. Employing the concept of Créolité or creolization as a precursor to the discourses on Caribbean migrations and diasporas, I argue that Edouard Glissant’s rhizomic theory of diaspora offers a viable framework within to read Danticat’s narrative and rethink diasporic identities and relations.

Bozena Leven, The College of New Jersey
"Poland’s Recent Migration – Who, and Why?"

During the postwar period of Soviet domination, Poland’s communist government permitted very little emigration to other countries and there was virtually no immigration from Poland from abroad. With the fall of communism Poland’s migration policies have changes dramatically, as have the numbers and composition of both immigrants and emigrants. In this project, we seek to better understand who the “typical” Polish migrant is and why they have emigrated. To do so, we examine the composition of Polish emigrants by gender, education, occupation, region and country of destination – with a particular focus on permanent emigration. The economic conditions and policies most relevant to emigration changes, both within Poland and as a result of that country’s membership in the EU, are also identified, and their impact assessed. The analysis relies on (a) primary data obtained from Polish language statistical sources, and (b) a broader data set regarding relevant economic and policy conditions both within, and outside, Poland.

Catherine Raissiguier, New Jersey City University
"Gender, Migration, and the French Republic: The Case of the Sans-Papiers"

While quantitative analyses of immigration have enables us to understand the material forces that shape population movements and processes of settlement, they cannot capture the less tangible ideological, cultural, and personal aspects of immigration. Building and expanding on existing material analyses of immigration, I propose an approach that focuses on a local site of resistance and foregrounds women’s narratives. The manuscript underscores the centrality of gender for patterns of migration and national construction, and generates a layered understanding of some of the most complex and challenging questions facing citizens and denizens of our global communities. Overall, this project is an attempt at taking seriously the haunting background presence of women, gender, and mothers in the rhetoric of immigration in France. It asks that we think about ideologies of family, gender, and reproduction as part and parcel of French (post)colonial and racial projects. This is particularly important since, in France, an emphasis on republican universalism and historical amnesia about the colonial past have prevented, until recently, scholarly interrogations of these fruitful intersections.

Fatima Sadiqi, Fulbright Scholar; Senior English Professor, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Morocco
"Women’s Activism in the Public Sphere and Family Law: A Comparison Between the Moroccan and American Contexts"

The project is significant at both the local and international levels. Locally, it will feed into an interesting array of literature on women and aspects of the Family law that is taking shape in Morocco. The project has also pedagogical utility: Moroccan and US students and researchers will benefit from a comparative perspective of a so wide-ranging, sensitive, and poorly understood issue as the Family law and will use the perspective in other related topics they study, leading, thus to further research interests. The project is also significant because it highlights the often poorly researched link between pubic space, women and changes in the Family law. Finding about this link from a comparative perspective is timely in highlighting women’s role in democratizing the public sphere and creating a powerful global synergy, a well as the effect these are having in consciousness raising and understanding of cultural specifics that are often wrongly used by politicians everywhere. Passing on this message through powerful means of academic research is vital, especially for the younger generation in both Morocco and the US.

Masako Yuki, Kawamura Gakuen Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan
"Gendering the Trade Union"

I have a special interest in the issue of women and labor movements, gender and unions, especially in Germany. My current interests in research include gender and trade union studies focusing on globalization. As a specialist in Gender Studies and Labor Relations, I am now very interested in the US labor movement.