The Body at Work: Gender, Labour, Migration

University of London, Paris
20 November 2020
Keynote Speaker: Manuela Martini, Université Lumière Lyon 2

What constitutes work and how is it valued? Who relocates for work – under what conditions and with what results? What are the physical and psychic effects of certain kinds of labor? Reflecting deep concerns with the reach of capital, in both its colonial and neo-colonial/global guises, the aim of this study day is to pose questions about how bodies are identified, exploited, and displaced across different regimes of labour. From sex work to construction, from agricultural day labour to domestic services, such regimes often depend on a mass of unseen workers. They also increasingly rely on the transfer of labour power from poorer (and often formerly colonized) countries to wealthier ones. We seek to make visible the invisible work sustaining the new global economy and to interrogate the relationship between the free flow of capital and the limited mobility of the working poor.

The committee welcomes proposals addressing intersections between gender, labour, and migration in France/Europe and the francophone global south from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including cultural studies, history, literature, and visual culture. Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

• Remuneration and the value of work
• Reproductive labour
• The feminization of poverty
• Gendered experiences of migration
• Sex, work, and sex work
• Trafficking and the rescue industry
• Conscription and forced migration
• Mobility and the global economy
• Dignity and resistance within exploitative labour conditions

Please send a brief bio-bibliography and proposals of 250 words for 20-minute papers in English or French to by 4 May 2020.