2 May - Gravensteen Lecture: Donna Gabaccia (University of Minnesota)

Half of all international migrants today are women and girls. Is that a problem? Professor Donna Gabaccia (History, Univerisity of Minnesota) will address this question in her talk: Beyond the Feminization of Migration: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives. Gravensteen, Room 11, 3-5pm.

Date & Time 
2 May 2014

Gravensteen, Room 11
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

Reception to follow at the Faculty Club Brasserie

Beyond the Feminization of Migration: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

Half of all international migrants today are women and girls. Is that a problem? While social scientists attribute to the feminization of migrations to the disruptive globalization of the late twentieth century, global migrations were already gender balanced in 1960. Migrant gender composition at the regional and global scales has swung about several times over the past 400 years and many types of gender relations have been mobilized to explain variations in the relatives numbers of male and female migrants. Using historical perspective, empirical data on forced and free migrations, quantitative methods and insights from gender and cultural studies on how knowledge is created, the lecture will compare the gender composition of early modern slave trades, the proletarian mass migrations and the refugee and labor migrations of the twentieth century. Global convergence toward heavily male migrations began already in the eighteenth century and feminization already at the begin of the twentieth century. Restrictions on migration, policy preferences, the normal aging of earlier waves of migrants and a global economic shift toward light industry and care work can all help us to understand twentieth century feminization. While the discovery of the feminizatin of migration has often provoked a sense of moral panic among both advocates and critics of immigrants, gender-balanced migrations are not themselves problematic. The impact of the feminization of migration on both sending and receiving societies has been quite modest.

Speaker Bio

Donna R Gabaccia is Professor of History at the University of Minnesota.  She is author of many books and articles on immigrant life in the U.S., on gender, class, and labor (Foreign Relations: Global Perspectives on U.S. Immigration, Princeton University Press 2012), on food studies (We Are what Eat: Ethnic Food and the Making of Americans, Harvard University Press, 1998), and on Italian migration around the world (Italy’s Many Diasporas, London and Seattle, 2000). Gabaccia teaches and publishes about migration in world history, has longstanding interests in interdisciplinary methodologies and served as president of the Social Science History Association in 2008. Her next book, co-authored with sociologist Katharine Donato, seeks to explain the so-called feminization of international migration. She is also midway through an individual research project that asks why the United States, almost alone among the many countries formed through international migration, labels itself so proudly as a nation of immigrants.

The Gravensteen Lectures is a joint initiative started by LGI and AMT. This new series will bring out leading international scholars at the forefront of thinking through historic, contemporary, and emergent transcultural and international connections and their impacts. First Fridays, Gravensteen, 3:00-5:00pm. More the full schedule of speakers and more information about the series, click here.

Last Modified: 23-04-2014