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Growing Up Transnational

Growing Up Transnational: Identity and Kinship in a Global Era

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    Growing Up Transnational
    Book Description:

    This collection offers a fresh, feminist perspective on family relations, identity politics, and cultural locations in a global era.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9522-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    ‘Where are you from? And who are you with?’ It is the impossibility of these seemingly innocuous questions that led to the creation of this anthology. In a global era, identity, nationality, personhood, and family are in flux, yet much of the stereotyping and cultural imperialism that provide a framework for postmodern life assume a fixity of characteristics that allow for an easy response to these questions. But an easy acceptance of hybridity does not acknowledge the very tangible implications of the identities we are presumed to embody.Growing Up Transnationaldoes not attempt answers to this frustrating conundrum. Rather,...


    • 1 Transnational Rio de Janeiro: (Re)visiting Geographical Experiences
      (pp. 21-35)

      My transnational understanding of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, through different periods and various spatial and experiential perspectives draws on theoretical concepts applied in humanistic geography. The conceptual premise of my investigation of Rio is in line with geographer Anne Buttimer’s observation: ‘It is time we discovered that humanistic and scientific enquiry are not inevitably opposed’ (1976, 290). Transnational sensibilities were formed and passed to me through my family, where theexperiencingof Rio de Janeiro was constructed within a transnational sensibility. I am most interested in the multidimensional geographies of Rio de Janeiro viewed as complex and multilayered human experiences,...

    • 2 When Russia Came to Stay
      (pp. 36-54)

      When Russia came to stay, she nested in my heart by chance. And she gathered there – in thin blue days, Dima’s hand warming mine; in frozen awe as I tread St Petersburg’s crystal snow to her ancient church; in Grandma’s thick arms spilling over the small wooden rocker, as she rocked and sewed, rocked and sewed, our small home becoming a deeper fold of past and future. Ours was one life, woven with disparate strands – Dima’s Russian childhood and family, my American; his Orthodox culture, my Protestant; his restful nature, my sharp passions. Like a bird coursing through...

    • 3 ‘Neither the End of the World nor the Beginning’: Transnational Identity Politics in Lisa Suhair Majaj’s Self-Writing
      (pp. 55-68)

      Before I delve into the main questions this chapter seeks to evoke, let me start by introducing Lisa Suhair Majaj as a Palestinian American woman while admitting that this term is both too narrow and too broad. Majaj was born in the United States to an American mother with a German background and a Palestinian immigrant father. She spent most of her childhood and young adulthood in Lebanon, moved back to the United States for graduate school, has held several teaching posts in the United States, as well as in Bahrain and in Lebanon, and now lives as an independent...

    • 4 Identity and Belonging among Second-Generation Greek and Italian Canadian Women
      (pp. 69-83)

      Within the last two decades, research on European immigrants to Canada has provided important insights into the labour experiences, housing conditions, and efforts at community building by immigrants; the attitudes of members of the host society toward immigrants; and the immigration policies and practices of the Canadian government. Although researchers recognize that immigrants do not constitute a unitary category, not all have paid sufficient attention to the fact that the immigrant family itself is not a homogenous group. Intergenerational differences matter, and as researchers interested in transnational families we must explore the particular experiences of Canadian-born children of immigrant parents....

    • 5 Time and Space in the Life of Pierre S. Weiss: Autoethnographic Engagements with Memory and Trans/Dis/Location
      (pp. 84-100)

      It is my sixth session with Dr. Gonçalvez-Smith and, like the past five times, I press ‘11’ on the plastic display of floor numbers in the elevator and am reminded that exactly the same model of elevator led to my shrink’s office when I still lived in Washington and that it was also situated on the eleventh floor. Like the past five times, I am also reminded with more than a hint of disgust that I used to believe in, or more precisely, be scared by, all this numerology crap. How could I have been so naïve, so egocentric, ethnocentric,...


    • 6 Contemporary Croatian Film and the New Social Economy
      (pp. 103-118)

      Recently, Croatian critics and cultural pundits have applauded the return of domestic audiences to Croatian film. Whether this trend is because of improved artistic standards, a revival of cinema coming out of the postwar stupor and financial restrictions, or a changed horizon of expectations is still being debated (Polimac 2006; Škrabalo 2008; Turković and Majcen 2001). Be that as it may, this chapter addresses the capacity of the new Croatian cinema – here represented by three recent and noteworthy feature films:Oprosti za kung fu(Sorry about Kung Fu, 2004),Što je Iva snimila 21. listopada 2003(What Iva Recorded...

    • 7 Identity, Bodies, and Second-Generation Returnees in West Africa
      (pp. 119-139)

      I was precariously balanced underneath a new laptop and a nursing baby heavy with sleep, ‘Hey, Mom,’ I blurted, ‘I got Googled!’ The idea made me laugh.

      ‘Wow! Who Googled you?’

      ‘Some big New York attorney.’

      She stopped chopping onions and looked at me strangely. ‘Oh?’

      ‘He’s looking for an expert witness who can testify about female genital cutting in Guinea.’

      She winced visibly. ‘Sweet Jesus,’ she swore on the inhale, the way she always does when she’s embodying motherly responsibility. ‘Do you know about that? What could you say about that?’

      Until that moment, I’d not even considered testifying....

    • 8 What Is an Autobiographical Author? Becoming the Other
      (pp. 140-159)

      ‘I know this and you don’t’ (Steedman 1991, 2). These words written by Carolyn Steedman regarding her ‘unique’ access to working-class experiences elicit anger, indignation, dialogue, or even silence from many readers of her autobiography. It seems to me that as readers of an autobiographical text, we assume a position of author-ity twice removed, subsuming a space in which the reading of the text becomes not merely an act of critical interpretation, a dialogic interaction with the author as other but a response of perpetual synthesis, an overlaying of our individual experiences, utterances, thoughts, a superimposition of our subjectivity between...

    • 9 Transnational Identity Mappings in Andrea Levy’s Fiction
      (pp. 160-178)

      As the world has attained a multiplicity of cultures coexisting within the same society, transnationalism has become one of the notions that describes the identity re/construction of diasporic, multicultural selves. As Steven Vertovec states, several disciplines describe the meanings, processes, scales, and methods of transnationalism in a wide variety of ways, suggesting several clusters or themes by way of ‘disentangling’ the term: transnationalism as a social morphology, as a type of consciousness, as a mode of cultural reproduction, as an avenue of capital, as a site of political engagement, and as a reconstruction of ‘place or locality’ (1999). Susheila Nasta,...


    • 10 The Personal, the Political, and the Complexity of Identity: Some Thoughts on Mothering
      (pp. 181-189)

      The story is well known, of course: of racism within the mainstream feminist communities and sexism within minority communities. The very real struggles that are trapped beneath this academic observation, however, make it extraordinarily difficult to document the complexities of reconciling Judaism, including all its internal contradictions and identities, with progressive feminist ideas. When motherhood is added to this volatile mix, the challenge is overwhelming indeed. This challenge is also intensely personal and varies from mother to mother as women work at the intersections of various axes of difference. To get underneath this topic, then, is to begin to tell...

    • 11 Mothers on the Move: Experiences of Indonesian Women Migrant Workers
      (pp. 190-209)

      In the last three last decades, Asia has seen growing numbers of women traversing national borders around the world to find waged work in affluent countries (DeWind and Holdaway 2005; Ehrenreich and Hochschild 2002; Huguet 2003; Huguet and Punpuing 2005; Piper 2004; UNESCAP 2008). The database for 2000–5 of the Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific records more than 700,000 women from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka engaged in waged work abroad in 2005 (UNESCAP 2008). While in the past men have resorted to leaving the home and even country in search of wages, now women...

    • 12 From Changowitz to Bailey Wong: Mixed Heritage and Transnational Families in Gish Jen’s Fiction
      (pp. 210-221)
      LAN DONG

      Gish Jen has earned her position in contemporary American literature through her acclaimed short stories and novels. Most of her short fiction, including early publications in various literary journals and in the collectionWho’s Irish(1999), explores the issues of identity, family, and the multi-ethnic environment in contemporary America. The main characters of her debut novel,Typical American(1991), as a familial unit and as individuals who migrated from China in the 1930s, attempt to build a space both within and outside their family residence in America. Such a ‘homing’ process is intertwined with a negotiation of gender relations between...

    • 13 Tug of War: The Gender Dynamics of Parenting in a Bi/Transnational Family
      (pp. 222-232)

      This chapter contributes to the literature on gender in transnational families by highlighting the effect of bi/transnationality on gender roles in parenting in one family in which three generations live together for extended periods. A bi/transnational family is one in which the partners in a couple hail from different continents and have migrated to a third. We analyse the impact of bi/transnationality from the perspective of a professional, middle-class, dual-earner Austro-Nepali couple living in a metropolitan area in the northeastern United States.

      This chapter builds on a theoretical paradigm that Ella Shohat (1998) has called ‘the transnational imaginary.’ This paradigm...

  8. Notes and Acknowledgments
    (pp. 233-242)
  9. References
    (pp. 243-262)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 263-266)