In this article, I seek to illuminate how domestic work reveals elements of past, present, and future selves through an analysis of an interview I conducted with my mother about her experiences as a domestic worker in New York. My mother’s origins in Guyana are important as they illuminate the locational impacts of an economy impacted by the feminization of its proletariat and the emergence of neo-liberalization. In order to capture my mother’s existence as a historical being amidst an ever-evolving economy, oral narratives were methodologically employed. An examination of her past self within the oral history serves as a mechanism to track the migratory implications of a transforming economy and her positionality in it. The articulation of my mother’s present voice underscores how my mother remains furnished in her identity and relegates agency to herself in the process of recounting. Future imaginations of self from the interview elucidate the fallacy of the American dream and its nightmarish reality for many immigrants and their intersectional bodies and identities. The cumulative conjunction of my mother’s past, present, and future selves parallel the tripled conceptualizations of women of color as jeopardized by their race, gender, and class. Therefore, by positing my mother’s narrative formulations as ‘triply sewn,’ the feminization of the proletariat is metaphorically reconfigured, and the ways in which the domestic worker’s bodily reality transcends space and time through its multigenerational stitching is elucidated.
Carr, Courtney Paige
Triply Sewn: Evoking Past, Present, and Future Selves in Guyanese Domestic Work.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 23(4), 88-97.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol23/iss4/6