Maria Hwang is a qualitative sociologist who draws from ethnography, interviews, archival research, and content analysis to examine social and political economic processes in globalization. With a focus on international migration, her scholarship examines global processes from a multi-scalar perspective. She asks: How does globalization, meaning the intensification of the exchange of ideas, information, and resources and the deepening interconnectedness of our world society, shape circuits of mobility? How do sending and receiving states regulate border crossings in globalization? How does globalization shape lived experiences? These questions are motivated by her interest in identifying the inequalities that emerge in globalization, the borders and boundaries it creates and sustains, and the segmentations that arise.
While at Rice, Maria will transform her dissertation into a book manuscript on the circulation across Asian global cities of independent women sex workers from the Philippines. In this book, she identifies migrant sex workers to be what she calls “shadow migrants,” meaning temporary migrants who cross borders as visa-free travelers within particular regions and outside state-sanctioned channels. Examining the migration experiences of shadow migrants, this book aims to (1) illustrate how gender ideologies shape the construction and regulation of unauthorized labor migration; (2) complicate current discussions on migrant governance by demonstrating that sending countries, and not only receiving countries, label migrant workers as “documented” or “undocumented”; and (3) expand current theorizations of global circuits and empirically demonstrate the asymmetries in the global mobility of transnational professionals and transnational low-wage workers.
Maria has published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, and International Labor and Working-Class History.
Routledge Handbook of Asian Migrations
Gracia Liu-Farrer and Brenda S. A. Yeoh (editors)
Human Trafficking Reconsidered: Rethinking the Problem, Envisioning New Solutions
Kimberly Kay Hoang and Rhacel Salazar Parreñas (editors)