Justice in the Home: Domestic Work Past, Present, and Future

Eileen Boris, Tamara Mose Brown, Linda Burnham, Grace Chang, Janice Fine, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Claire Hobden, Tera Hunter, Fish Ip, Eva Kittay, Jennifer Klein, Elizabeth Clark Lewis, Andrea Cristina Mercado, Premilla Nadasen, Rhacel Parrenas, Ai-jen Poo, Cecilia Rio, Mary Romero, Saskia Sassen, Peggie Smith, Nik Theodore, and Martina Vandenberg
Oct 16-17, 2014
Event Oval
The Diana Center
Co-Sponsors: National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Barnard Center for Research on Women, The Worker Institute at Cornell University, Labor Research Action Network, Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Santa Barbara Department of Feminist Studies, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, and the Roosevelt Institute

Domestic Workers Protest



Link to Justice in the Home Wikispaces

Click here to register online.

Research about domestic work, domestic workers, and domestic worker organizing is an abundant and growing field. The attention garnered by organizing efforts by and on behalf of domestic workers, both nationally and internationally, has served as a spur to scholars in a wide range of disciplines. Structured interchange between scholars and organizers has the potential to enrich the work of both groups, providing theoretical, historical, and empirical context to the work of organizers and providing scholars with an understanding of the priority issues that arise within the context of organizing.

Domestic work and domestic worker organizing have been subjects of discussion at a range of academic conferences, including conferences devoted to labor history, sociology, and gender studies. This research conference on domestic workers and domestic worker organizing will provide the setting for a more intensive and comprehensive look at key issues related to domestic work by bringing together scholars from diverse areas of interest and expertise. We will create the opportunity for frank assessments about the status of academic research about domestic work, workers and organizing: major scholarly accomplishments, critical areas of debate or contention, as well as un- or under-explored issues. Join us for this historic set of conversations.

For more details on the National Domestic Workers Alliance, see their website.

Sponsored by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Co-Sponsored by The Worker Institute at Cornell University, Labor Research Action Network, Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Santa Barbara Department of Feminist Studies, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, and the Roosevelt Institute


Unless otherwise stated, all panels are held in the Event Oval in the Diana Center.

Thursday, October 16

6:30 PM

Janet Jakobsen and Lydia Catina Amaya

Welcome & Opening Panel:
Domestic Work and Domestic Workers – Critical Advances in a Field of Inquiry

Eileen Boris, Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Tera Hunter, Mary Romero, Linda Burnham (chair)
Pioneering scholarship during the 1980s and 1990s advanced our theoretical and empirical understanding of domestic work and domestic worker organizing. Panelists will discuss how this wave of research established new conceptual frameworks about labor, gender, race, and resistance.

Friday, October 17

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

Allison Thompson Julien

Introduction of panel

Linda Burnham

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Panel #2: Evolutions of Household Labor — Domestic Work and Inequalities of Class, Race, Gender and Citizenship

Eva Kittay, Jennifer Klein, Cecilia Rio, Peggie Smith, Nik Theodore (chair)
The domestic work industry is structured by major axes of social inequality, including class, race, gender, citizenship, age, and ability. Panelists will discuss how these inequalities shape the occupation of domestic labor and how domestic labor reinforces and recreates hierarchies.

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM

11:15 AM – 1:00 PM
Introduction of Panel

Helen Panagiotopoulos

Panel #3: Labor Migration and the Transnational Demand for Domestic Labor

Tamara Mose, Rhacel Parreñas, Saskia Sassen, Martina Vandenberg, Grace Chang (chair)
Globalization has altered the supply of and demand for domestic workers. This panel will address the context for the development of the globalized market in domestic labor, the impact of globalization on the experiences and characteristics of the workforce, as well as similarities and differences between the globalization of domestic work and other transnational circuits of labor.

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Pick Up Lunch

Lunch will available outside the Event Oval to be picked up and taken to breakout groups.

1:15 PM – 2:45 PM
Emerging Scholar Dialogues and Issue Area Breakout Groups

Building on the themes addressed by the panels, the three emerging scholar dialogues are facilitated by PhD students and recently appointed professors who are doing some of the most interesting and innovative work in the field. The emerging scholar dialogues provide the opportunity to engage with new issues and approaches while also deepening the inquiry initiated by the panels.

The two issue area breakout groups focus on topics that are critical to building effective campaigns for domestic workers’ rights: research whose subject is the employers of domestic workers and legal scholarship aimed at broadening the rights of domestic workers.

Participants can also create their own breakout session at an open table in the Event Oval—let us know what you discuss and how you’d like to keep the conversation going by emailing bcrw@barnard.edu and/or posting to justiceinthehome.wikispaces.com.

Domestic Work and Inequalities of Class, Race, Gender, and Citizenship

Facilitated by: Jaira Harrington, Katherine Maich, Nancy Morales, and Danielle Phillips

Labor Migration and the Transnational Demand for Domestic Labor

Facilitated by: Sandra Castro, Riya Ortiz, Nancy Pérez, and Ethel Tungohan

Domestic Worker Organizing: Historical Context and Current Strategies

Facilitated by: Lindsey Dayton, Lydia Edwards, Harmony Goldberg, and Shana Russell

Legal Scholarship and Domestic Worker Organizing

Facilitated by: Peggie Smith and Haeyoung Yoon

Research about Domestic Employers

Facilitated by: Danielle Ferris and Natalia Garcia

2:45 PM – 3:00 PM

3:00 PM – 4:35 PM
Introduction of Panel

Luna Ranjit

Panel #4: Domestic Worker Organizing: Historical Context and Current Strategies

Janice Fine, Fish Ip, Andrea Cristina Mercado, Premilla Nadasen, Claire Hobden (chair)
The panel examines historical precedents of household worker organizing and the critical challenges facing the contemporary movement for domestic workers’ rights, in the US and internationally. Panelists will analyze the principal strategies utilized by domestic worker organizers, consider efforts to build transnational alliances, and assess campaigns to foster coalitions with other labor organizers.

4:35 PM – 4:45 PM

4:45 PM – 5:30 PM
Introduction of Keynote

Narbada Chhetri


Ai-jen Poo

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Reception, Presentation of Award of Esther Cooper Jackson

Saturday, October 18

Saturday’s session will be devoted to forging ongoing relationships between organizers and scholars, considering new directions for research, and developing materials for popular education. We encourage the participation of anyone interested in long-term collaborations between domestic worker organizers and researchers whose focus is domestic labor.

9:00 AM – 9:30 AM

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Welcome and Instructions to Working Groups

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Working Groups

Working groups meet simultaneously:

1. Developing Collaborations Between Research and Organizers
Facilitated by: Linda Burnham and KC Wagner

2. Developing a Network of Scholars
Facilitated by: Claire Hobden and Premilla Nadasen

3. Developing Resources for Popular Education, Organizing, and Advocacy
Facilitated by: Karina Muñiz and Natalia Tracy

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM

12:15 PM – 1:30 PM
Working Lunch – Report-backs and Closing Remarks

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