Ethnic Studies at 50: Alumni Speaker Speries: Rhacel Parreñas

Wednesday, Feb 06, 2019 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

554 Barrows Hall | UC Berkeley
Location is ADA accessible

Rhacel Parreñas, Professor of Sociology and Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Southern California in conversation with Christian Paiz, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies

A Talk On: Labor Regimes of Indenture – A Global Overview of Migrant Domestic Work

Across the globe, migrant domestic workers are unfree workers whose legal residency is contingent on their continued employment as a live-in worker with a designated sponsor. This talk examines the politics of their indenture. Providing a macro and micro perspective, it begins with a global overview of the incorporation of migrant domestic workers as indentured workers in key host countries in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, explains the cultural logic that undergirds their indenture, and then describes the conditions of domestic work in the ‘worst destination’ of the United Arab Emirates, where absconding is illegal and quitting one’s job requires a sponsor’s permission. This talk foregrounds the indenture of domestic workers so as to interrogate dominant paradigms for thinking about contemporary unfreedoms; from human trafficking to slavery, identifies them to primarily follow Kantian and Marxian notions of unfreedom; and then addresses the limits of these liberal theories of unfreedom in explaining the indenture of domestic workers in the UAE.


Sponsored by the Department of Ethnic Studies and the Institute of Labor Relations and Employment (IRLE)

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