A New Generation of ‘Incorporated Wife’?

Making Sense of International Students’ Spouses in the US

The Center for the Study of Diversity is pleased to have supported the work of Xinhui Jiang (Institute of China Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany)Busra Soylemez-Karakoc (Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA), and Maryam Hussain (Department of Psychological Sciences, University of California Merced, Merced, CA, USA) on their recently published article “A New Generation of ‘Incorporated Wife’?  Making Sense of International Students’ Spouses in the US.”  

In the introduction to the article, Jiang, Soylemez-Karakoc, and Hussain (who all currently or previously worked or studied at UD) provide an overview to the piece:

“Responding to the feminist call to reconfigure the outlook of transnational moving, this article explores the gendered experiences of the international students’ spouses behind the booming international education industry in the United States (US). With 20 in-depth interviews, we examine how immigration and university policies feminize the spouses of international students and how they navigate this feminized role. We show that the categorization of spouses as ‘dependents’, by the Department of Homeland Security of the US, justifies and normalizes the discriminating policies towards the spouses, which introduce and perpetuate the gendered binaries of student/spouse, initiator/follower, independent/dependent, and public/private, during which the spouses are repositioned to the feminized half. That said, spouses demonstrate agentic contestations during this process. Particularly, we demonstrate that female and male spouses adopt different strategies to transcend the femininity conferred by this role: female spouses’ contestation is more alliance-based while male spouses tend to follow an individualist approach.”

The entire article in PDF format is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & France in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography on 13 May 2020, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0966369X.2020.1760216