African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal (Routledge)
Call for Papers
“Houses of Horrors”: Ethiopian Female Domestic Workers in the Middle East and Gulf States
The Editors of African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal (Routledge) announce a Call for Papers on “Houses of Horrors”: Ethiopian Female Domestic Workers in the Middle East and Gulf States”.
In a video shot outside the Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut in March 2012 , a 33 years old Ethiopian migrant domestic worker was savagely beaten and violently dragged by Ali Mahfouz’s into the back seat of a black BMW, while a chorus of men watched and no one intervened to help her. The video went viral after Alem who was a mother of two committed suicide by hanging herself using her bed sheets. The abuse captured by the video in Beirut and the inhuman treatment that Ethiopian domestic workers receive elsewhere in the Middle East and Gulf States reflect what Cheryl Harris calls “racially contingent forms of property” born out of the social and material conditions of the region.
In the last two decades, the migration (both legal and clandestine) of Ethiopian female domestic workers to globalizing cities of the Middle East and Gulf States particularly, to Dubai, Beirut, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Sana’a and Cairo has increased dramatically because of the promise of globalization and neoliberal economic policies which ushered in increased free trade, deregulation and privatization. The migration of Ethiopian female domestic workers to the globalizing cities of the region is embedded in the specific patterns of globalization marked by temporariness and the contingent, precarious, unstable and violent nature of domestic work. Pushed by poverty and destitution into the “Houses of Horror”, Ethiopian female domestic workers are policed by their employers, recruiting agencies and by the government regulatory agencies which reinforce their disposable position.
The Editors seek contributions focusing on the intersection between domestic work and migration that interrogate the full dimension of Ethiopian female domestic workers’ experiences in the globalizing cities of the Middle East and Gulf States. In particular, contributors are encouraged to explore the political and economic dynamics of domestic work in the globalizing cities of the Middle East and Gulf States, the intersection of race, gender, class and national origin, the regulatory framework of domestic work, physical confinement in places of work as well as physical and sexual abuses and food denial as a disciplining strategy to regulate the lives of Ethiopian domestic workers, resembling servitude and slavery. Contributors should also explore the routes of human trafficking and smuggling, the situational vulnerability of female domestic workers, the exploitative nature of work and condition of work, with a particular reference of Ethiopian female domestic workers in the globalizing cities of the Middle East and Gulf States.
We also seek contributions that explore the “hidden transcript” of Ethiopian domestic workers and the ways in which they resist the hegemony of the employers and the temporariness of their daily lives by developing alternative informal networks as well as by establishing and connecting to online digital “communities” beyond the control of employers. Authors are encouraged to submit incisive and original writing (conceptual, empirical or theoretical) that emphasize the narratives of Ethiopian domestic workers in the globalizing cities of the Middle East and Gulf States since the end of the 1980s.
Abstract should be 400‐500 words in length. Authors should send their abstract attached as a Word document to the Editors: Please be sure to include the following” full name, institutional affiliation, contact information (email and contact mailing address).
Deadline: Submission of Abstracts, January 30, 2016
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by February 28, 2016
Final paper (6,000‐8,000 words) must be submitted by August 30, 2016.
Dr. Fassil Demissie
Department of Public Policy
990 West Fullerton Ave, Suite 105
Chicago, IL 60615
Dr. Sandra Jackson
Center for Black Diaspora
2320 N. Kenmore Ave, Suite 551
Chicago, IL 60614
 A. Khaled Beydoun, “When Suicide is the Only Escape,” Aljazeera, April, 09, 2012.
Dr. Fassil Demissie
Department of Public Policy, Suite 105
Chicago, IL 60614