Welcome to this special issue on gender and migration. Many of the pieces assembled here came to Frontiers as a result of a call issued by the journal in 2005. As we have discovered with previous special issues, however, our notion that this topic was both timely and underexplored proved part of the zeitgeist. Not only did we receive a healthy response from our call, but many of the other submissions to Frontiers in the past year also treat gender and migration cross-culturally and over time. As a result, pieces in the next several volumes of the journal, including another special issue on domestic colonization, will continue the conversation initiated here.
Reaching from the nineteenth century to the present and spanning much of the globe—North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent—the works in this volume portray a world always in motion, reminding us that migration may be as characteristically human as language. Indeed, most of the pieces juxtapose sometimes multiple physical relocations with migrations of the imagination, underscoring the ways that migration is constituted by and through language. In so doing, they reveal how inextricably linked gender is to the experience of migration. Collectively, the pieces offer a kaleidoscope of that experience through creative works and critical analyses of women's words and writings.
Politics is everywhere in this issue—domestic, colonial, diasporic, and nationalistic. It is seldom the subject, but it is present in recurring colors and patterns. Thus, in the lead essay, a cultural critic uses novelistic accounts of the suspension of post-Partition Indian women between the cultural expectations of their countries of origin and destination to ask whether it is possible for women to become cosmopolitan "citizens of the world." An American poet muses on marriage to a Greek man and life in Greece. An Iraqi-born Palestinian, now an American citizen, uses her body to create art commemorating the displacement of her people. Sama Alshaibi's work appears on the [End Page vii] cover of this issue as well as with her essay. The daughter of dialectic-speaking southern Italian immigrants reflects on the gendered politics of language, what it means that the women of her parents' generation neither fully mastered American English nor learned the "standard" Italian of a unified post-World War II Italy. A historian finds that the migration of nineteenth-century, reform-minded Yankees encouraged their daughters to pursue their own dreams of equality. And finally, a literary scholar offers a new reading of an American immigration novel about a modern Jewish "Salome."
There is much to ponder here, and we hope readers find it instructive in their own meditations on gender and migration.