CFP: The cross-sectionality of gender and mothering within transnational families

12th IMISCOE Conference, Geneva, 25-27 June 2015
Conference theme: “Rights, Democracy and Migration”

Call for Papers for a Research Roundtable Panel to be proposed under the following theme: ‘The cross-sectionality of gender and mothering within transnational families: strategies for the maintenance of spirituality, language, culture and identity between generations.’ 

Research on transnational families has expanded to recognise the complexity of families which maintain connections to their countries of origin while attempting to establish themselves in receiving societies. Since the 1990s, attention has been paid to how transnational families reconstruct their social lives, maintain loyalties to their families at home and abroad, and transform their kinship structure (Levitt and Jaworsky, 2007). Parents in transnational families follow different trajectories as they experience changes in their parenting roles. Definitions of motherhood become transformed by global care chains (Hoschild, 2000), as migrant women take care of other people’s children, while supporting their own, or leave their countries of origin to pursue new personal relationships, reconstituting new families, or bringing their own at different stages. Studies have revealed that children who are left behind (Suarez-Orozco, 2011), those who migrate with their parents and become the 1.25, 1.5 and 1.75 generation (Rumbaut, 2002) and those who later, in adolescence, join their parents, all negotiate cultural practices and identities in the new contexts. For some, religious connections become important identity anchors. For others, maintaining the language and culture of home builds confidence while they become familiarised with the language and culture of the receiving society.

Yet as much as we know about transnational families, we have limited knowledge of the trajectories of such “fractured families and geographically dispersed homes” (Vertovec, 2004: 14) and of the role which mothers play in fostering language, culture, identity and spirituality within transnational households or of the practices they engage in with their children in meeting the everyday domestic challenges they face.

We invite contributors to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by 9th January 2014 addressing some of the following general questions:

  • What role do mothers play in the maintenance of language and cultural practice in receiving countries? How are language and cultural practices sustained or transformed over time and generations?
  • How do family practices, particularly those related to the roles of mothers and children, change as they adapt to different contexts, especially when there has been a period of separation? What factors affect these processes?
  • What is the significance of religion in fostering well-being and promoting the integration of young people within a family or within a receiving society?

In this roundtable there will be a keynote presentation by a renowned scholar studying Latinos in the US and their educational outcomes for the purpose of stimulating discussion. Two additional panellists will present papers that converge on the topic and a discussant will highlight points of relevance for comparisons and contrasts to be made.

The title and abstract of no more than 250 words, as well as name, institutional affiliation and email contact needs to be submitted by 9th January 2015 to: Dr Martha Montero-Sieburth,; Dr Joaquin Eguren, and Dr Rosa Mas Giralt –

Presenters will be notified by 14th January 2015 whether their proposals have been accepted. Please note that the roundtable proposal will then have to go through the acceptance process of the conference. Notification of the acceptance of proposals is expected by the 15th February.

More information about the conference is available at: