Women's Studies Quarterly

Articles from Vol. 45, No. 3/4, Fall

Ain't I a Worker?!: Gendered Labor and the Worker as Political Subject in Workers' Center Organizing
IntroductionRecent attention to changes in work suggests that labor precarity is everywhere, as new economic relationships have expanded the conditions of nonstandard work across a variety of industries. Precarity is now increasingly affecting workers...
A Primer for Our Times
How does it feel to live under precarity? What kinds of stories do we embrace to navigate the murky waters of economic insecurity, worker disposability, and social and ecological waste that indicate danger much like the petrochemicals bubbling up to...
A Refugee Comes Home and Wonders How She Got There
The way home we seek is that condition of mans being at home in the world.-Ralph EllisonI've arrived in this country before; in this very century,maudlin cashier girls and ticket agentsminister to my physical body,my need for clothes and toothpaste and...
Bonsai Bondage: Sex Work in Little Tokyo
The purposes of bonsai are primarily (consumption for the voyeur) and the pleasant (business) of effort and ingenuity (for the trafficker). Bonsai practice focuses on long-term (clientele) and (grooming) of one or more small trees growing in a (brothel)....
Down with Love: Feminist Critique and the New Ideologies of Work
Love and work were once thought to operate in separate gendered spheres. The private realm of the family was where we fell in love and lived happily ever after; when we crossed into the public world of waged work, we entered into economic contracts to...
Editors' Note
Historically, unions have provided workers with a path to middle-class life. As collective bargaining units, unions facilitate a powerful voice in the workplace on behalf ofworkers. In the current political climate and economy, "right-to-work" laws are...
Factory Job
There was the coming and going, gliding inon my bicycle as the farm women pulled upin their trucks, punching our time cards in the earlycool, passing onto the floor where we becamemoving parts among moving parts, trained,broken in, timed. All women,...
Fashion-Precarity-Labor
The Fashion Praxis CollectiveIn May 2016, the Fashion Praxis Lab took on another project and organized a "book sprint," a five-day-long, intense collaborative writing session. The topic was fashion and labor, with the aim of expanding the analysis on...
In 1914, Garrett A. Morgan Patents a Breathing Mask
but because his world balks at black menGarrett Morgan hires a white man to sellhis invention.Standing before a tent swelling with smoke,the fake Morgan serves up a sidekick to the crowd.The real Morgan, masquerading as Big Chief Mason,dons a canvas...
Joseph Brodsky at Queens College (or, Me at Work)
Note from the author: The poems below are selections from a book-length cycle of poems that in part retrace my mother's journey as a half-Jewish, half-Uyghur refugee from the Soviet Union during Perestroika, while very pregnant with me. My mother gives...
Labor Omnia Vincit
"Mrs. Sirisena, this is Frank," says the voice on the office phone. "I was wondering if you have a moment?"My mother doesn't have a moment. My father is an internist and my mother manages his medical practice. There are patients in the waiting room,...
Masculinity at Its Margins: Migrant Construction Work in China
The global circulation of factory-made commodities brings issues of Chinese production into the consciousness of people around the world. Indeed, in everywhere but China itself, the ubiquity of items "made in China" is the most proximate link between...
Necessary Parts
Her lungs were acting up more than usual. The music playing in the har was reminiscent of popping huhhles with an electronic twist, hut it was nearly drowned out hy the low hum pulsating from her esophagus. Jane stroked her throat, fingers lingering...
Ordinary Things
Every moment is a poem if you hold it right.-Lauren ZunigaI'm standing in the grocery aisle holding a jarof bargain brand roasted garlic tomato sauce.Shamed, of course, claiming I cook, despite rarelymaking my own sauce fresh anymore,merely tinkering...
Painting Labor: Ramiro Gomez's Representations of Domestic Work
Ramiro Gomez is a Los Angeles-based, Latino artist who was born in the United States to Mexican parents in 1986. Although he is still young, collectors clamor for his work, and several museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, have...
Pathologies of Work
This essay proposes to consider what I call "pathologies of work" in the context of a historico-normative reconstruction of the meaning of work as social cooperation. In adopting this diagnostic approach, I have two aims: on the one hand, my consideration...
Precarious Politics: Anzaldúa's Reparative Reworking
As the conditions of precarity proliferate, so does the use of the term. While most conventional English dictionaries still do not have an entry for the word, precarity has been applied by scholars and activists to describe underemployment, insecure...
Precarity of Work, Precarity of Moral Dispositions: Concern for Others in the Era of "Emotional" Capitalism
As early as the 1930s, and in a more systematic fashion in the 1950s and 1960s, the philosopher Theodor W. Adorno developed a theory of the precarity of moral dispositions. With his concept of "bourgeois coldness," Adorno invites us to conceive of a...
Rethinking Care: Arlie Hochschild and the Global Care Chain/Response to Reviewers
Arlie Hochschild is a pioneering feminist labor scholar. Over the past forty years, she has examined how both paid and unpaid labor reflects and generates women's subordination, demonstrated the interconnections between the private and public spheres,...
"She Was a Member of the Family": Ethel Phillips, Domestic Labor, and Employer Perceptions
Ethel Phillips, my maternal grandmother, worked for over fifty-nine years as a domestic servant. She served in her longest capacity as a housekeeper for three generations of the Clark family in Dearborn, Michigan from 1955 to 1998. As a child I was told...
The Inheritance of Precarious Labor: Three Generations in Waste Picking in an Indian City
Pagabai is around fifty-five years of age today. She has spent some forty years of her life handling waste in Pune, a city in India. She was introduced to waste picking and scavenging by her sister-in-law's mother-in-law. She in turn passed it on to...
The Politics of Precarity: Interdependence to Solidarity
Judith Butler's Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015Marion G. Crain, Winifred R. Poster, and Miriam A. Cherry's Invisible Labor: Hidden Work in the Contemporary World, Berkeley: University of California...
The Precarity of Global Digital Labor
Franco "Bifo" Berardi's And: Phenomenology of the End, South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2015 Nick Dyer-Witheford's Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labor in the Digital Vortex, London: Pluto Press, 2015 Ursula Huws's Labor in the Global Digital Economy, New...
The Right to Have "Society in the Bones": The Skill and Bodies of Male Workers in Qatar
"How do I decide which men to recruit? It's easy. I tell them to pick up a sack of rice and run. The men who can make it half a kilometer without collapsing, those are the ones I take." This is how Anand Suparat described recruiting workers from his...
Things to Do during Office Hours
First, you must get there.Walk back from classwith the student whojust wants to knowwhat you want her to write.the walkbetween buildingsin winterListen to stories abouther background,her suburban hometown,the commute with her dad tothe next town for...
What Works?
Worlds of work are changing. How polities respond remains a matter of consternation. Brexit, Donald Trump, Yanis Varoufakis, and Marine Le Pen signal a return to economic nationalism, while Xi Jinping, Justin Trudeau, and Angela Merkel pursue economic...
Women of Color and the Precarity of Their Intellectual Labor 1
In the popular television show Scandal (April 2012 to present), the protagonist Olivia Pope's father reminds her "You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have." This on-screen fatherly advice to a powerful woman of color character...
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