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From Invisibility to Regulation: Southern Workers, Western Eyes

This lecture is part of the Social Justice and the Economy: National and International Perspectives Lecture Series presented by S. Charusheela, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa.
When Apr 16, 2007
from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where Foster Auditorium, 101 Pattee Library
Contact Name
Contact Phone (814) 863-5911
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S. Charusheela  

S. Charusheela

Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa

S. Charusheela (“Charu”) is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She will be taking up the position of Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in August 2007. Charu received her doctorate in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1997. Her research focuses on the intersection between postcolonial thought and economics, with particular attention to the epistemology, ontology and ethics of feminist development economics. Recent publications includeStructuralism and Individualism in Economic Analysis (Routledge 2005) andPostcolonialism Meets Economics (co-edited with Eiman Zein-Elabdin, Routledge 2004). An active member of the Association for Economic and Social Analysis and the International Association for Feminist Economics, she has served on the editorial boards of Rethinking Marxism and Feminist Economics.

From Invisibility to Regulation: Southern Workers, Western Eyes

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Feminist scholars and activists have brought to light the extent of work by Third World women in the home, in agriculture, in the community, and in the informal economy at home and abroad.   These kinds of labor had escaped measure and valuation in non-feminist analytical, cultural, and policy contexts; this lack of visibility can be linked to exploitive working conditions.   The dominant policy response, across many different kinds of labor, has been to shift women toward paid rather than unpaid work, and toward formal paid work rather than informal paid work – that is, toward categories of labor that are visible to the state, and visible to the range of official international organizations and NGOs that now take an interest in monitoring Third World women.   This policy response comes at the same time that there is increased visibility of Third World women’s work in the paid sector, particularly in the context of global shifts in job-siting and global flows of workers.  Here too, concerns about the conditions of work have generated calls for regulation.

This talk examines the politics of visibility, invisibility, and regulation.  What is the relation between visibility and invisibility?  How is visibility bound up with regulation, and with an internationally-dominant set of understandings about individual freedom?

April 16, 2007
3:00 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 101 Pattee Library