Maya Shapiro
Department of
Profile Research AN3630 AN4430

I have always been curious about how and why people move around the world, particularly when they are looking for work. Questions that have informed my ethnographic fieldwork among domestic and care workers in Tel Aviv, Israel and agricultural workers Ontario, Canada address how so-called temporary migrants who are not granted full citizenship, do dirty, dangerous and demeaning labour, and often live under the threat of deportation, nevertheless organize themselves socially and politically in ways that allow them to actively engage with states, governments and civil society in the “receiving” country.

I am especially interested in writing and teaching on the feminization of migration, most recently on the ways in which migrant women balance and integrate domestic work for their employers with the planning and managing of their own homes and families. While migrant women have always cared for their children transnationally, it is increasingly apparent that these women also become pregnant and raise children in the places to which migrate. In my doctoral research in Tel Aviv, I investigated how women from the Global South who became pregnant and gave birth in Israel, sought out healthcare, social services and political enfranchisement for themselves and for their undocumented children, despite policies that effectively illegalized sex, marriage and child-rearing among migrant workers in that context. I also observed and participated in activism

among Israeli citizens who sought to humanize migrants and struggle for their rights.

This research has inspired further theoretical and empirical exploration of both the ways in which historic and current governments attempt to regulate the intimate lives of society’s most marginalized residents, and the ways in which these residents and their allies use tropes of intimacy to popularize their cause and to activate social change.






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