License to Dream: Skilled Mobilities and the Politics of Gender

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The Qualification and Skill in the Migration Process of Foreign Workers in Asia Project organizes their last hybrid lecture “License to Dream: Skilled Mobilities and the Politics of Gender” by Prof. Radha Sarma Hegde (New York University). This lecture is a part of the lecture series under the theme “Female Skilled Labor Migration Across the Globe”. 

This lecture will be hybrid on Thursday 9th February 2023, 6pm (CET).

The event takes place in Goethe University Frankfurt, Room PEG 1.G100 (PEG-Gebäude, Campus Westend / Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6, Frankfurt am Main).

You can also participate via Zoom:
https://uni-frankfurt.zoom.us/j/66321166758?pwd=ekNFRGZIM0JLMmlHWUJCZ0JTTnhFZz09
Meeting ID: 663 2116 6758
Passcode: 374762

This presentation will be the last session of our lecture series, and we are all looking forward to seeing you all online/offline!

Abstract

Who is licensed to dream? Visions of the future and dreams of success drive the logics of self-making and the material experiences of global migration. As nations tighten the criteria for admittance, it is the highly skilled immigrant who is valued. The careful acquisition of niche skills is increasingly deemed vital to getting ready for the global economy and transnational relocations. How do these aspirational goals and the prescriptive demands of neoliberal capitalism intersect with the politics of race, class and gender? This presentation will focus on neoliberal narratives of resilience and confidence that frame the exceptional accomplishments of South Asian immigrant women like Indra Nooyi who have made it to the upper echelons of American industry and ascended to positions long held only by white men. The achievements are portrayed in the United States as a realization of the American dream and proof that anything can be achieved through initiative and hard work. In India, the laurels are hailed as the arrival of the elite global Indian woman. Focusing on these examples and the South Asian diaspora in particular, the talk will elaborate on 1) the construction of the cosmopolitan immigrant subject of neoliberal capitalism; 2) the reworked deployment of the traditionalism associated with Indianness; 3) the diasporic rearticulation of the confident superwoman and work-life balance narratives. Returning to the theme of the license to dream, the presentation will speak to the elisions and argue for an intersectional and transnational approach to the study of gender and global mobility.

Radha Sarma Hegde is Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. Her research and teaching focus on migration, media flows, globalization and transnational feminism. She is the author of Mediating Migration (Polity, 2016); co-editor of Routledge Handbook of Indian Diaspora (Routledge, 2018); and editor of Circuits of Visibility: Gender  and Transnational Media Cultures (NYU Press, 2011). She has served as co-editor of the journal Feminist Media Studies and received the Teresa Award for the Advancement of Feminist Scholarship, International Communication Association. Her current work focusses on aspirations, language and globalization in South Asia.

The event is part of the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany)-Funded project „Qualification and Skill in the Migration Process of Foreign Workers in Asia“.