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  • Introduction
  • Susan E. Gray and Gayle Gullett

Dear Readers,

The works assembled here continue a conversation on migration and place, colonization and global capitalism that we have pursued through a series of special issues since assuming the editorship of Frontiers in 2003. They conjure with the meaning of scale in the creation of place from undifferentiated space, as did the contributions to our inaugural issue on gender and place (25:2). They juxtapose "physical relocations with migrations of the imagination," as we saw in our special issue on gender and migration (27:2). And, by focusing on intimate household relations as the nexus of unequal relations of power under colonization and postcolonial global capitalism, they reach back to our special double issue on domestic colonization (28:1–2). The present issue offers something more, however, than the unspooling and rewinding of familiar thematic threads. It is truly a global issue; the contributors take us literally around the world, and their works crisscross continents and oceans to speak to one another in ways that both resonate with the contents of previous issues and surprise us.

We begin in Mexico on the Yucatán Peninsula to explore the effect of Cancún as a global tourist destination, dominated by multinational corporations, on the indigenous Maya population. In her ethnographic study, M. Bianet Castellanos shows how the departure of male and female adolescents from their villages for work in the tourist industry has restructured the social and economic organization of Maya households. Global capitalism and the contributions of low-skilled, young female workers to household economies are also the subject of Vernadette V. Gonzalez's analysis of international golf-tourism on the "leisure estate" of the Clark Special Economic Zone, the site of the former U.S. Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. Once caregiver to the children of American service personnel, and now umbrella girl and caddy [End Page vii] to wealthy Asian and U.S. golfers, the figure of the "docile" Filipina connects the Philippines' U.S.-dominated imperial past to its postcolonial present. Ostensibly low-skilled female labor is also the subject of Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez's comparative study of the working conditions of immigrant caregivers in Spain, Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom, as structured by national laws and European Union regulations. Rodríguez demonstrates how the intimate domestic context of care work, combined with the legal complexities of the women's status, renders them vulnerable to abuse by employers, and she advocates a human-rights approach to reform.

As Alex Watts, this issue's featured artist, explains in her autobiographical essay, transits between the American Southwest, where she lived as a child and has since returned to live, and the United Kingdom, where she moved with her British parents and spent her adolescence and early adulthood, have defined her life and her art. Her sculptures of human figures in motion and at rest depict through their spatiality complex human relationships, and the palette of her patinas as a worker in bronze reflects a lifelong love affair with the colors of the high desert. In this issue, Watts's work also provides a transition from the more structural analyses of Castellanos, Gonzalez, and Rodríguez to studies focused on interpersonal relations.

Through a series of interviews with Muslim Pakistani women who immigrated, often as newlyweds, to the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s, Anne-Line Rodriguez inquires whether exposure to Western cultural values over time promoted increasing participation in public life. Her findings warn against any such easy conclusion, and they underscore as well the idiosyncrasy of human experience, showing that social and cultural constraints combined with individual familial circumstances in both Pakistan and the UK to militate against the women's entry into the public arena. Following Rodriguez's work is another piece juxtaposing immigrant women's experience in countries of origin and destination. Elora Halim Chowdhury's essay is a deeply felt meditation on the death and life of a Bangladeshi woman from the perspective of her niece, who returns from the United States to participate in the rituals of mourning prescribed by her family, Muslim faith, and culture of birth.

The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1536-0334
Print ISSN
0160-9009
Pages
pp. vii-ix
Launched on MUSE
2007-11-15
Open Access
No
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