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Centre for Gender Studies

Gendering migration & diasporas

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Term 2

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the various ways migration as well as diaspora formations and experiences are gendered. It will engage with a range of migratory and diasporic forms (labour migration, forced migration & transnational migration) while challenging some of the analytical categories underlying these distinctions. The course will address both the social, economic and political dimensions of migration and diasporas as well as issues related to identity construction, cultural productions and imaginations.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of this course, a student will:

  1. Have a good understanding of the gendered aspects of various forms of migration and diasporic experiences;
  2. Be familiar with a range of methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of migration and diaspora including migration studies, refugee studies, anthropology, and cultural studies within the overall context of gender studies;
  3. Be familiar with a number of empirical examples and case studies pertaining to the question of how migration and diaspora experiences are gendered;
  4. Have been introduced to the interconnections between economic and political conditions on the one hand and gender ideologies and relations on the other;
  5. Have obtained the intellectual tools to analyse different forms of migration and diaspora experience from a gendered perspective;
  6. Be able to critically evaluate a variety of books, journals and other sources of information relevant to the topics studied on the course;
  7. Have produced weekly written work (reaction papers) as well as detailed written work on one approved topic relevant to the course.


Three hours per week (two hour lecture, one hour tutorial)

Scope and syllabus

Core Topics:
  • Labour and the Economics of Migration
  • Forced Migration and Displacement
  • Exile & Asylum
  • Transnational Migration
  • Transnational Social Spaces & Activities
  • Diasporic Spaces
  • Political mobilization in the Diaspora
  • Cultural Productions I: Writing
  • Cultural Productions II: Film and the media
  • Body politics in the Diaspora

Method of assessment

One 3500-4000 word essays (50% ), five best reaction papers; 600-800 words each (50%).

Suggested reading

Andrijasevic, R. (2010) Migration, Agency, and citizenship in sex trafficking. London.Palgrave.

Kofman, E. et al (2000) Gender and International Migration in Europe : Employment, Welfare, and Politics. New York: Routledge, 2000, pp. 105-133.

Salazar-Parrenas, R. (2001) Servants of Globalization. Women, Migration and Domestic Work. Stanford University Press pp. 23-59.

Morokvasic , M. (2004) “Settled in Mobility': Engendering Post-Wall Migration in Europe”  in Feminist Review 77:7-25.
Malkii, L (1995) “Refugees and Exile: From ‘Refugee Studies’ to the National Order of Things”  in Annual Review of Anthropology 24.

H. Arendt, “We Refugees”, in M. Robinson (ed.), Altogether Elsewhere. Writers in Exile, Boston/London, Faber and Faber, 1994, 111–119.

G. Agamben, Homo sacer. Il potere sovrano e la vita nuda, Turin, Giulio Einaudi, 1995.

Salih, R. (2013) “From Bare Lives to Political Agents: Palestinian Refugees as Avant-Garde” in Refugee Survey Quarterly 32 (2): 66-91.

Sayigh, R. (2007) “Product and Producer of Palestinian History: Stereotypes of “Self” in Camp Women's Life Stories” in Journal of Middle East Women's Studies, Vol. 3:

Osella, C. and Osella, F (2000) 'Migration, Money and Masculinity in Kerala.' The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 6 . pp. 115-131.86-105.

Osella, C. and Osella, F. (2012) 'Migration, Networks and Connectedness Across the Indian Ocean.' In: Kamrava, M. and Babar, Z., (eds.), Migrant Labour in the Persian Gulf. Columbia University Press.

Salazar Parreñas, R.(2011)  “How the left is losing the war on trafficking” http://www.opendemocracy.net/rhacel-salazar-parreñas/how-left-is-losing-war-on-trafficking

Biemann, Ursula (2002) ‘Remotely Sensed: A Topography of the Global Sex Trade’, Feminist Review, No. 70, Globalization , pp. 75-88.

Salih, R. (2001) “Moroccan migrant women: transnationalism, nation-states and gender “ in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Vol. 27, No. 4: 655-671

Levitt, P & Glick-Schiller, N. (2004) “Conceptualizing Simultaneity:
A transnational Social Field Perspective on Society”, in International Migration Review, Vol. 38, n. 3, 1002-1039.ZMR Volume 38 Number 3 (Fall 2004):1002-1039

Ong, Aihwa (1999) Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press

Baldassar, L, and Merla, L. (eds) (2013) Transnational Families, Migration and the circulation of Care. London. Routledge

Salih, Ruba (2003) ‘Constructing self and home between Italy and Morocco’, in Gender in Transnationalism: Home, Longing and Belonging among Moroccan Migrant Women. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 53-80.

Ahmed S. et al (2003) (eds) Uprooting/regroundings. Questions of home and Migration. New York: Berg. pp.91-113.

Al-Sharmani, M. (2010) “Transnational family networks in the Somali diaspora in Egypt: women's roles and differentiated experiences” in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal Of Feminist Geography, 17(4), 499-518.

Parrenas, R. (2005)  “Long distance intimacy: class, gender and intergenerational relations between mothers and children in Filipino transnational families” in Global Networks 5(4):317-336.

Peteet, J. (2007) “Problematizing a Palestinian Diaspora” in International Journal of Middle East Studies, 39(4) 627-646.

Siu, L. (2005) ‘Queen of the Chinese Colony: Gender, Nation, and Belonging in Diaspora’. Anthropological Quarterly, 78(3), 511-542.

Wesling, M. (2008) “Why queer diaspora”, in Feminist Review 90: 20-47.

Clifford, J. (1994) “Diaporas” in Cultural Anthropology 9/2, pp. 302-338.

Brah, A. (1996) ‘Diaspora, border and transnational identities’, in Cartographies of diaspora: contesting identities. London & New York; Routledge, pp. 178-210.

Lavie, S. and Swedenburg, T.(1996) Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity, London: Duke University Press.

Al-Ali,N. & Khalid K. (eds.) New Approaches to Migration: Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home. London, New York: Routledge.

Al-Sharmani, M. (2006) “Living Transnationally: Somali Diasporic Women in Cairo” in International Migration 44- 1 pp.55-77.