Indiana University 2016 Branigin lecturer focuses on 'The Geopolitics of Your Bathtub'

  • Oct. 4, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Feminist writer, theorist and professor Cynthia Enloe will present the 2016 Indiana University Branigin Lecture under the auspices of the Institute for Advanced Study at IU Bloomington.

Enloe will speak on “The Geopolitics of Your Bathtub: Why Who Does Your Housework Matters.” The lecture, which is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Global Change and the Department of Gender Studies, will take place at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 in the auditorium of the Global and International Studies Building.

Cleaning someone else’s home is intimate paid work, but in today’s world, this labor is often highly globalized, Enloe has written. She will describe how millions of migrant women who do domestic housework have created workers' rights organizations, dramatically altering the political and gendered landscape. In her lecture, this world of domestic workers becomes a lens to larger geopolitical realities and inequalities.

"Macropolitical issues and the question of gender have typically been estranged in research," said Eileen Julien, director of the Institute for Advanced Study, "and Professor Enloe shows how the lens of gender can bring broad political issues into sharp focus."

Enloe is research professor in the Department of International Development, Community and Environment at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. Racial, class, ethnic and national identities, and the range of pressures shaping femininities and masculinities, are common threads throughout her research. She has held Fulbright awards in Malaysia and Guyana, been a guest professor in Japan, Britain and Canada and lectured in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Vietnam, Korea and Turkey as well as at universities around the United States.

The Branigin lecture series, which began in 1993, is supported by an endowment from the estate of IU Bloomington alumna Gene Lois Portteus Branigin. The series brings to the Bloomington campus prominent scholars, artists and public figures to interact with faculty, students and community members.

The Branigin Committee of the Institute for Advanced Study at IU Bloomington identified social justice as a theme for the Branigin Lecture Series in 2016-17. Enloe is the first speaker of this series. Her lecture is also part of the Center for the Study of Global Change’s Fall 2016 Global Studies Positioning Series, Gender and Geopolitics.

Hilary Kahn, assistant dean for strategic collaborations in the School of Global and International Studies and director of the Center for the Study of Global Change, has been instrumental in bringing Enloe to Bloomington.

“We could not ask for a more insightful and inventive scholar to help us explore the intersection of gender and geopolitics, which is a significant global issue that needs more attention and is particularly timely and relevant to our own presidential campaign," Kahn said. "We are delighted to partner with IAS to bring Cynthia Enloe to campus."

Enloe is the author of 14 books, including "Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives"; "The Curious Feminist; Globalization and Militarism" and "Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War." Her writings have been translated into Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Icelandic and German. She has published also in the popular press (Ms. Magazine), and her research has been featured on National Public Radio, Al-Jazeera, C-SPAN and the BBC.

Enloe’s work has been recognized by numerous awards, including the International Studies Association's Susan Strange Award (for challenging “conventional wisdom and organizational complacency in the international studies community"); the Susan B. Northcutt Award from the International Studies Association’s Women's Caucus for International Studies (in recognition of her recruitment and work on behalf of women and other minorities in the profession and an “inclusive, generous and conscientious" spirit); and the Peace and Justice Studies Association's Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been honored three times as the recipient of Clark University’s Outstanding Teacher award. Since 2005, she has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees at Union College, the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Connecticut College, the University of Lund, Sweden, and Clark University.

In addition to her lecture, Enloe’s time on campus will also include formal and informal meetings with a variety of faculty and student groups.

For more information, visit the Institute for Advanced Study website or contact

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